The university of Leuven leads all Belgian universities in the latest ranking by subject matter of educational establishments across the world.
The rankings are produced by the British-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which also produces a ranking of world universities on general criteria.
The latest ranking looks at individual subject areas, and places KU Leuven in sixth place in the world for the subject area theology, divinity, and religious studies.
There has been a university in Leuven since 1425, but the Catholic University was founded in 1834, when it was in Mechelen, only moving to Leuven a year later.
The 2021 placing of Leuven in sixth place in the world is a rise of ten places compared to last year, and is the highest ranking achieved by any Belgian institution this year.
However it also achieved success in other subject areas: entering the top 20 for dentistry in 19th place; rising four places in mechanical engineering to 27; entering the top 50 for four scientific subjects – electrical engineering (38), civil and structural engineering (39), chemical engineering (43), and chemistry (49); and achieving a first ranking for environmental science (61).
“Only eight universities in Europe can boast a higher number of top-50 ranked programs than KU Leuven,” QS reports.
“Six of those eight are in the United Kingdom, meaning that only Switzerland’s ETH Zurich outperforms KU Leuven on the European continent.”
However other Belgian universities also score in the rankings.
• The university of Ghent takes 11th place for agriculture and forestry (up one place) and 12th for veterinary science (down one place). • The university of Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL) places among the global top-50 for theology (22) and pharmacy and pharmacology (49). • The Royal Conservatory in Brussels is newly-ranked for performing arts, in the 51-100 band. • The Free University of Brussels (ULB) is ranked in 27 of QS’s subject tables. • The university of Antwerp and the Free University of Brussels (VUB) retain top-100 ranks for communication and media studies (51-100 band).
“From rethinking international supply chains to collaborating with European partners to explore the role of simulation in enhancing health treatments, KU Leuven is remaining at the forefront of essential global research,” said Jack Moran, spokesperson for QS.
“The latest edition of our rankings, which see KU Leuven consolidate and improve its positions in a range of core disciplines, is a reflection of this commitment to collaboration, innovation, and international thinking.”