Uni sports subjects in world top 20

University of Otago student Josh Thorburn, 19, completes the wingate test which is capable of...
University of Otago student Josh Thorburn, 19, completes the wingate test which is capable of identifying anaerobic capacity and anaerobic power outputs. Otago University’s sports-related subjects have raced into the world’s top 20 rankings in a recent study. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Sports-related subjects at the University of Otago were the country’s only top-20 finisher in a world-leading ranking system.

The QS World University Rankings by Subject for 2024 rankings were released yesterday, and the university’s sports-related subjects - which covers a range from management to science - have climbed from 15th to 12th in the world in the past year.

It is the country’s only university to place in the world’s top 20 for a subject.

Acting vice-chancellor Prof Helen Nicholson was pleased with the results.

"These achievements reflect the collective efforts of staff and students towards enhancing educational outcomes and research quality and continues our goal of providing high-quality education and conducting impactful research across various disciplines.

"One of the goals of our strategic plan, Pae Tata, is to further enhance our academic standing and global reputation through sustaining momentum, fostering innovation and driving continuous improvement across all aspects of teaching research and student experience."

The 2024 instalment of the QS World University Rankings by Subject offers independent data on the performance of 190 subject entries at eight New Zealand universities, along with universities around the world.

The University of Auckland is New Zealand’s most represented, which has 45 subjects listed, including 23 in the world’s top 100.

It is followed by Otago, which has 35 ranked subjects, eight of which place among the top 100.

New Zealand’s most represented subject is economics, with eight ranked universities; the highest ranked is the University of Auckland, which places 104th.

Among its entries in the top 100, however, the most prolific subject is hospitality and leisure management, with the University of Otago taking the highest rank, debuting in 44th.

The rankings by higher education analyst and services provider Quacquarelli Symonds are based on five indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, citation per paper, H Index, and international research network.

The methodology and the weighting assigned to each metric are tailored to fit each specific subject.

QS senior vice-president Ben Sowter said New Zealand should take pride in its performance in this year’s ranking, recording marked improvements in most of QS’s metrics and making major gains in employer reputation, signifying an emphasis on adaptable and work-ready graduates that make an impact in their given professions.

At a global level, Australia’s Universities of Melbourne and Sydney both boast the world’s most top 100 subjects, with 53 and 52 respectively.