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Best universities for arts and humanities degrees 2024

Find the best universities for arts and humanities using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2024 data

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  • Rankings for Students
October 26 2023
Person reading book, Best universities for arts and humanities subjects 2016


Top 10 universities in the world for arts and humanities 2024

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in the world for arts and humanities degrees

Arts and humanities rank 2024 Arts and humanities rank 2023 UniversityCountry/region
1 1 Stanford UniversityUnited States
2 2 Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUnited States
3 3 University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
4 4 University of OxfordUnited Kingdom
5 5 Harvard UniversityUnited States
6 6 UCLUnited Kingdom
7 8 University of California, BerkeleyUnited States
8 7 Princeton UniversityUnited States
9 12 Yale UniversityUnited States
=10 10 The University of ChicagoUnited States
=10 11 Columbia UniversityUnited States

Deciding where to study an arts or humanities degree is not easy, with hundreds of options all over the world.

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But 691 of the top universities for arts and humanities have been ranked in the Times Higher Education arts and humanities ranking 2024. So where should you go to pursue your arts or humanities major?

About a fifth of the best arts and humanities schools are in the US, but a number of European countries are also well represented in the ranking; the top 100 includes a significant number of British, German and Dutch institutions.

Best universities in Australia for arts and humanities degrees
Best universities in Canada for arts and humanities degrees
Best universities in the UK for arts and humanities degrees 
Best universities in the US for arts and humanities degrees 

If you’re hoping to study for a humanities degree in Canada or Australia, these countries offer a choice of 26 and 28 universities respectively, and there are more than 60 institutions across Asia.

Times Higher Education’s subject tables are based on the same 18 performance indicators used in the overall World University Rankings 2024. However, the methodology is carefully recalibrated for each subject, with the weightings changed to suit the individual fields. The full methodology can be found here.

Arts and humanities degrees covered in the ranking include history, literature, philosophy, languages and architecture (scroll down for a full list of subjects and what you can do with them).

Top 5 universities for arts and humanities degrees

5. Harvard University

The arts and humanities division at Harvard University consists of 15 departments, four interdisciplin­ary undergraduate degree programmes and several secondary fields.

Courses available cover a wide range of subjects, including art, music, visual studies, theatre, English and many more. It is also one of the top universities to study law in the US.

The arts and humanities student board is an opportunity for undergraduates to be involved in developing programmes and initiatives for students with the department. 

The division organises a student art crawl where students can explore the art galleries on Harvard’s campus.

4. University of Oxford

The humanities division at the University of Oxford includes the faculties of music, history, classics, theology and religion, and English language and literature.

There are about 20,000 students at the university, more than a third of whom are international. Students belong to a college, where undergraduates take the majority of their classes with just a few of their peers and a college tutor.

In line with the British higher education system, students entering Oxford are admitted for a specific course (in contrast to US institutions, where students can take a variety of courses before declaring their major).

It is possible for undergraduates to study joint degrees, such as philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) – a course for which Oxford is particularly well known – and combinations of arts and sciences.

Many writers, actors, composers and other prominent personalities in arts and culture dating back to the 14th century are Oxford graduates, including the novelists J. R. R. Tolkien and Graham Greene and the satirist Jonathan Swift.

3. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is regularly ranked as a top university across a wide range of subjects.

More than 23,000 students are enrolled at the university across 31 colleges.

The School of Arts and Humanities teaches a variety of subjects, from Asian and Middle Eastern studies to the history of art. Many research projects are collaborative and inform student learning at all levels.

Recent projects have explored flamenco dance and its cultural significance, and an undergraduate scheme used architectural techniques to develop local allotments.

Notable Cambridge alumni in the arts and humanities include the philosopher Bertrand Russell, the artist Quentin Blake and the dramatist Christopher Marlowe.

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2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Although it is known as a leading university in science and technology teaching, MIT also provides courses across the arts and humanities.

These include anthropology, history, linguistics, literature, media arts and sciences, and music and theatre arts.

When the School of Architecture and Planning opened in 1868, it had the first department of architecture in the US; today, it is still known for commissioning progressive buildings on campus.

MIT has five libraries, three of which are dedicated to the arts and humanities – the Hayden Library (humanities and sciences), the Lewis Music Library, and the Rotch Library (art, architecture and planning). These libraries contain many notable collections, such as the Lewis’ resources on 20th- and 21st-century music, hip hop and electronic music.

MIT is affiliated with many thought leaders in the arts and humanities, including the linguist Noam Chomsky, who is Institute Professor and professor of linguistics (emeritus) at the university. The institution has produced six Pulitzer winners, and four current or former faculty are members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

1. Stanford University

The School of Humanities and Sciences awards 63 per cent of all Stanford undergraduate degrees and almost 40 per cent of doctorates. Stanford University is also one of the top destinations for law degrees in the US.

When the university was established, the Stanford family said that its aim was to educate “cultured and useful citizens”, and the university still counts its humanities courses as the “soul” of a Stanford education.

Recent achievements in the school include a complex study of race and ethnicity, an online course on classical music appreciation and an award-winning radio show hosted by Stanford philosophy professors.

Stanford is based near Palo Alto, known as Silicon Valley because of its density of high-tech and start-up companies. The spirit of entrepreneurship in the area was encouraged by the university itself in the early 20th century, and many Stanford students and graduates are involved at the highest levels with the world’s most influential technology companies.

Many of the students live in campus residences, near the university’s academic buildings, museums and recreation spaces.

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Best universities for arts and humanities 2024

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2024 profile

Arts and humanities rank 2024 Arts and humanities rank 2023 UniversityCountry/region
1 1 Stanford UniversityUnited States
2 2 Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyUnited States
3 3 University of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
4 4 University of OxfordUnited Kingdom
5 5 Harvard UniversityUnited States
6 6 UCLUnited Kingdom
7 8 University of California, BerkeleyUnited States
8 7 Princeton UniversityUnited States
9 12 Yale UniversityUnited States
=10 10 The University of ChicagoUnited States
=10 11 Columbia UniversityUnited States
12 9 University of EdinburghUnited Kingdom
13 15 University of TorontoCanada
14 14 University of California, Los AngelesUnited States
15 13 LMU MunichGermany
16 =16 New York UniversityUnited States
17 =16 University of PennsylvaniaUnited States
18 20 University of Michigan-Ann ArborUnited States
19 24 Humboldt University of BerlinGermany
20 23 King’s College LondonUnited Kingdom
21 22 KU LeuvenBelgium
22 19 Delft University of TechnologyNetherlands
23 21 Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University ParisFrance
24 26 Leiden UniversityNetherlands
25 28 University of AmsterdamNetherlands
26 27 National University of SingaporeSingapore
27 36 University of ViennaAustria
28 18 Peking UniversityChina
29 51 Sorbonne UniversityFrance
30 29 University of TübingenGermany
31 25 Cornell UniversityUnited States
32 =31 Free University of BerlinGermany
33 34 ETH ZurichSwitzerland
34 =37 Tsinghua UniversityChina
=35 =31 Duke UniversityUnited States
=35 =37 London School of Economics and Political ScienceUnited Kingdom
37 35 Universität HeidelbergGermany
38 41 University of MelbourneAustralia
39 33 Durham UniversityUnited Kingdom
40 39 University of SydneyAustralia
=41 43 Aarhus UniversityDenmark
=41 45 Johns Hopkins UniversityUnited States
=43 42 Lancaster UniversityUnited Kingdom
=43 65 Sapienza University of RomeItaly
45 46 University of St AndrewsUnited Kingdom
47 47 University of GroningenNetherlands
48 44 McGill UniversityCanada
49 =69 University of ManchesterUnited Kingdom
50 40 Australian National UniversityAustralia
51 50 University of YorkUnited Kingdom
52 54 Monash UniversityAustralia
53 57 University of HelsinkiFinland
=54 =67 University of GlasgowUnited Kingdom
=54 30 University of Hong KongHong Kong
=56 94 University of BolognaItaly
=56 75 University of CopenhagenDenmark
=56 =63 University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh campusUnited States
59 =55 University of Texas at AustinUnited States
60 52 The University of TokyoJapan
61 =55 University of WarwickUnited Kingdom
62 62 University of British ColumbiaCanada
63 48 Brown UniversityUnited States
64 58 Panthéon-Sorbonne UniversityParis 1France
65 77 University of OsloNorway
66 =67 University of Notre DameUnited States
67 90 University of BirminghamUnited Kingdom
68 49 Rutgers University – New BrunswickUnited States
69 =78 University of LeedsUnited Kingdom
7061Birkbeck, University of LondonUnited Kingdom
=70 =69 University of California, San DiegoUnited States
=70 66 University of ZurichSwitzerland
72 95 Autonomous University of BarcelonaSpain
73 101–125 University of MassachusettsUnited States
74 76 University of SheffieldUnited Kingdom
75 =83 University of BristolUnited Kingdom
76 =69 University of FreiburgGermany
=77 =69 Carnegie Mellon UniversityUnited States
=77 =63 SOAS University of LondonUnited Kingdom
79 =96 Université Catholique de LouvainBelgium
80 74 University of WashingtonUnited States
81 85 University of CologneGermany
82 101–125 University of ExeterUnited Kingdom
83 82 University of California, Santa BarbaraUnited States
84 80 Ghent UniversityBelgium
85 =92 University of Wisconsin-MadisonUnited States
86 88 Politecnico di MilanoItaly
=87 151–175 University of BarcelonaSpain
=87 101–125 Trinity College DublinIreland
=89 73 Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHong Kong
=89 =83 Lund UniversitySweden
=89 89 Northwestern UniversityUnited States
92 =78 Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong
93 126–150 Indiana UniversityUnited States
94 101–125 Stockholm UniversitySweden
95 126–150 Complutense University of MadridSpain
96 101–125 University of California, IrvineUnited States
97 =96 Radboud University NijmegenNetherlands
=98 101–125 University of GenevaSwitzerland
=98 =92 University of HamburgGermany
=100 60 Michigan State UniversityUnited States
=100 87 Vrije Universiteit AmsterdamNetherlands
101–125 126–150 Aalto UniversityFinland
101–125 100 University of ArizonaUnited States
101–125 101–125 University of AucklandNew Zealand
101–125 126–150 Cardiff UniversityUnited Kingdom
101–125 81 Georgetown UniversityUnited States
101–125 151–175 Goethe University FrankfurtGermany
101–125 126–150 University of GöttingenGermany
101–125 101–125 Hebrew University of JerusalemIsrael
101–125 151–175 University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUnited States
101–125 101–125 Kyoto UniversityJapan
101–125 101–125 Macquarie UniversityAustralia
101–125 126–150 University of MinnesotaUnited States
101–125 101–125 University of MontrealCanada
101–125 101–125 University of MünsterGermany
101–125 101–125 Nanyang Technological University, SingaporeSingapore
101–125 126–150 Newcastle UniversityUnited Kingdom
101–125 126–150 University of North Carolina at Chapel HillUnited States
101–125 101–125 Ohio State University (Main campus)United States
101–125 101–125 Queen Mary University of LondonUnited Kingdom
101–125 101–125 University of ReadingUnited Kingdom
101–125 126–150 University of São PauloBrazil
101–125 101–125 University of SouthamptonUnited Kingdom
101–125 98 University of Southern CaliforniaUnited States
101–125 101–125 Tongji UniversityChina
101–125 99 UNSW SydneyAustralia
101–125 101–125 Uppsala UniversitySweden
101–125 126–150 University of Virginia (Main campus)United States
126–150 126–150 University of BaselSwitzerland
126–150 101–125 University of BernSwitzerland
126–150 126–150 Boston UniversityUnited States
126–150 176–200 University of CampinasBrazil
126–150 126–150 City University of Hong KongHong Kong
126–150 126–150 Eindhoven University of TechnologyNetherlands
126–150 126–150 Emory UniversityUnited States
126–150 101–125 Goldsmiths, University of LondonUnited Kingdom
126–150 126–150 University of KonstanzGermany
126–150 86 University of Maryland, College ParkUnited States
126–150 101–125 University of NottinghamUnited Kingdom
126–150 151–175 University of PaduaItaly
126–150 101–125 Université Paris CitéFrance
126–150 151–175 Penn State (Main campus)United States
126–150 176–200 Pompeu Fabra UniversitySpain
126–150 126–150 University of PotsdamGermany
126–150 126–150 Queen’s University BelfastUnited Kingdom
126–150 91 The University of QueenslandAustralia
126–150 126–150 Scuola Normale Superiore di PisaItaly
126–150 101–125 Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityChina
126–150 NR Technical University of MunichGermany
126–150 126–150 Tilburg UniversityNetherlands
151–175 201–250 Aix-Marseille UniversityFrance
151–175 201–250 University of AlbertaCanada
151–175 151–175 University of AntwerpBelgium
151–175 126–150 Arizona State University (Tempe)United States
151–175 201–250 University of BonnGermany
151–175 151–175 University of BordeauxFrance
151–175 201–250 Ca’ Foscari University of VeniceItaly
151–175 126–150 University of California, DavisUnited States
151–175 151–175 University of California, Santa CruzUnited States
151–175 201–250 Charles UniversityCzech Republic
151–175 251–300 University of CoimbraPortugal
151–175 176–200 École Normale Supérieure de LyonFrance
151–175 201–250 Erasmus University RotterdamNetherlands
151–175 101–125 Fudan UniversityChina
151–175 151–175 University of GothenburgSweden
151–175 176–200 Heriot-Watt UniversityUnited Kingdom
151–175 151–175 University of LausanneSwitzerland
151–175 151–175 University of LeicesterUnited Kingdom
151–175 151–175 Université Libre de BruxellesBelgium
151–175 176–200 University of LiverpoolUnited Kingdom
151–175 176–200 Loughborough UniversityUnited Kingdom
151–175 126–150 Nanjing UniversityChina
151–175 126–150 National Autonomous University of MexicoMexico
151–175 176–200 RMIT UniversityAustralia
151–175 176–200 Technical University of BerlinGermany
151–175 151–175 Western UniversityCanada
151–175 176–200 Zhejiang UniversityChina
176–200 151–175 University of AdelaideAustralia
176–200 201–250 Autonomous University of MadridSpain
176–200 201–250 University of Cape TownSouth Africa
176–200 176–200 University of Colorado BoulderUnited States
176–200 251–300 University of East AngliaUnited Kingdom
176–200 176–200 University of Erlangen-NurembergGermany
176–200 151–175 Georgia Institute of TechnologyUnited States
176–200 251–300 University of GranadaSpain
176–200 151–175 University of Hawai’i at MānoaUnited States
176–200 176–200 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)South Korea
176–200 201–250 University of LisbonPortugal
176–200 201–250 NOVA University of LisbonPortugal
176–200 201–250 Université Paris-SaclayFrance
176–200 176–200 Queensland University of TechnologyAustralia
176–200 176–200 Ruhr University BochumGermany
176–200 201–250 University of SalamancaSpain
176–200 151–175 Seoul National UniversitySouth Korea
176–200 151–175 Simon Fraser UniversityCanada
176–200 151–175 University College DublinIreland
176–200 151–175 Victoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand
176–200 176–200 Vrije Universiteit BrusselBelgium
176–200 176–200 Washington University in St LouisUnited States
176–200 201–250 Yonsei University (Seoul campus)South Korea

Editor’s note: As part of our THE statement on Ukraine published on 2 March 2022, Russian universities have been given less prominence in our rankings. Russian universities that met the criteria for this ranking are not displayed in the table above.

This table was updated in December 2023 to retroactively include Birkbeck, University of London based on their provided data submission. More information on the university's inclusion can be found here

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