Top 10 Universities for Politics & International Studies

Top 10 Universities for Politics & International Studies

Laura Bridgestock

Updated November 25, 2023 Updated November 25

Want to study political science or international studies at university? Then you may be interested in checking out QS’s ranking of the world’s top 200 universities in these subjects. For those with an eye on the very top tier, here’s a closer look at the top ten universities for politics & international studies in 2013...

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1. Harvard University (US)

Holding onto the number one spot, Harvard is the cross-the-board star of the 2013 QS World University Rankings by Subject. The prestigious Ivy League school takes first place in an impressive ten out of the 30 subjects ranked. Most of its number ones are in social sciences and life sciences subjects, but it’s also joint first for Earth & marine sciences (equal with UC Berkeley).

2. London School of Economics & Political Science (UK)

This is a good year in the subject rankings for LSE. The university climbs one position in the politics ranking, and also ranks well across the other social sciences subjects in which it specializes. LSE’s top-ten appearances include 2nd for accounting & finance, 3rd for both economics and geography, 4th for sociology, 6th for history and 7th for law – all improvements since last year (except sociology, which is the same).

3. Yale University (US)

It’s back to the US Ivy League with Yale in third spot, and actually receiving the highest rating in the academic reputation survey for this subject. This is Yale’s highest ranking among its haul of top-ten positions, which also include law (4th), modern languages (5th), English language & literature (5th), history (5th), medicine (6th), biological sciences (7th), economics (8th) and psychology (8th).

4. University of Oxford (UK)

Oxford actually drops two places compared to last year, but retains its lead over rival Cambridge. The latter gets a higher score in the employer reputation survey, but Oxford rates better for academic reputation and research citations. Of course at this level it’s all very close!

5. Princeton University (US)

Surprise, surprise, another Ivy League college! Princeton climbs one place for politics this year, and again has an impressive list of top-ten appearances. Its highest rankings are for philosophy and history (both 3rd), and it also stays within the top ten for sociology, physics, modern languages, mathematics, English language & literature and economics – though with a slightly lower position compared to last year for all of these except English.

6. Australian National University (Australia)

Breaking the US-UK monopoly is ANU, Australia’s highest ranking university in the overall QS World University Rankings for 2012/13. Politics & international studies is ANU’s strongest field in this year’s subject rankings, closely followed by history (7th), geography (8=), linguistics (9th) and philosophy (10th).

7. University of Cambridge (UK)

Ranking seventh worldwide is certainly pretty impressive – but it’s all in a day’s work for Cambridge. The university ranks second in the overall QS World University Rankings (2012/13), and in this year’s subject rankings it takes the number one spot for three subjects (mathematics, linguistics and history), and either second or third for an additional 13 – meaning a top-three position for more than half of the 30 subjects ranked.

8. Columbia University (US)

Yes, it’s another Ivy League appearance! Columbia’s highest position this year is in the ranking for communication & media studies, in which it comes 3rd. Its other top ten spots are in sociology (5th), modern languages, history and law (all 8th), English (10=) and economics (10).

9. University of Tokyo (Japan)

Climbing two places this year, the University of Tokyo is the first of two Asian representatives in 2013’s politics top ten. Known as Todai, the university is Japan’s highest ranking institution in the overall QS World University Rankings (30th in 2012/13). In the subject rankings, many of its strongest positions are in engineering subjects – in particular civil & structural engineering, in which it ranks 3rd. It’s also within the top 10 for chemistry and physics.

10= National University of Singapore (Singapore)

Singapore’s flagship university, NUS, has also climbed two places for politics this year. Like Todai, it gets its strongest score from the employer reputation survey – on this measure, both Asian universities have stronger scores than Columbia, Princeton, ANU, Yale and Oxford. In the subject rankings, NUS makes the top ten for an additional ten subjects besides politics – and is just outside for several more.

10= University of California, Berkeley (US)

The only public US university within this top 10, UC Berkeley slips down one place compared to last year. Another very strong performer across the board, UCB is ranked number one this year for sociology, environmental sciences, and Earth & marine sciences (joint with Harvard). It also ranks among the world’s top five for an additional 13 subjects.

This article was originally published in June 2013 . It was last updated in November 2023

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The former editor of, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'