Everybody knows Waterloo is among the best in the world for computer science, engineering and math.

Tourism management and water research probably don’t come to mind when you think of the subjects where Waterloo excels globally.

A new ranking of universities by subject says you should think again, and that Waterloo is world-class in areas you might not even know happen here.

The annual Global Ranking of Academic Subjects does of course reflect Waterloo’s stature in engineering, with top 20 showings in Telecommunication Engineering (11th), Environmental Science and Engineering (12th) and Electrical and Electronic Engineering (18th), as well as being at the pinnacle in several other engineering subjects, too.

Then there are these amazing rankings:

  • 21 in the world for Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • 28 in the world for Transportation Science and Technology
  • 34 in the world for Water Resources research (nice going, UW Water Institute!)
  • 40 in the world for Remote Sensing
  • Among the top 75 for Physics
  • Among the top 100 for Psychology
  • Among the top 100 for Sociology

Maybe the Physics one isn’t a big surprise, since Waterloo’s Donna Strickland won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018 and our researchers are actively unravelling the secrets of the cosmos.

But here’s to the psychologists and sociologists, the geographers, hydrologists and leisure scholars, and all the people who make Waterloo among the best in the world.

“I’m delighted to see the excellent ranking of our programs in Psychology and Sociology, which we know have delivered outstanding teaching, learning and research for many years,” says Douglas Peers, dean of the Faculty of Arts. “These programs are two examples of excellence in Arts, which is home to diverse programming across the social sciences, humanities and creative arts — all uniquely positioned at UWaterloo.”

Strong showings in fields like hospitality and tourism management are a feather in the hat of the Faculty of Health, especially for departments that make Waterloo world-class in health areas.

“The work performed by researchers in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies explores and pushes the boundaries of leisure and tourism studies, contributing to the University’s consistently high ranking in these fields over the years,” said Lili Liu, dean of the Faculty of Health. “The Faculty is proud of these impactful efforts and results.”

Even though they get the spotlight so often, there’s always pride for the engineers as well. Being the best is a constant challenge, but the Faculty of Engineering makes it look easy.

“It always feels good when external organizations recognize the excellence that I have the pleasure of seeing and sharing at Waterloo Engineering every day,” says Mary Wells, dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “I’m particularly pleased with our strong showing in Environmental Engineering and Water Resources.”

These latest rankings just go to show that the talent at Waterloo is broad and not just concentrated in a few areas. All its faculties and programs contribute to its world-class reputation and consistently high rankings.

And it’s some of the new areas of research, where Waterloo is breaking new ground, to keep an eye on.

“We’re proud of the international recognition and high ranking of our Physics program,” says Robert Lemieux, dean of the Faculty of Science. “Home to a Nobel Laureate, Waterloo physicists work in partnership with the Institute for Quantum Computing and Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics to solve the universe’s greatest mysteries. Whether it is advancing our understanding of quantum information, studying the cosmos or pushing the limits of high-intensity laser systems, our scientists and students are expanding our understanding and defining their own path.”

The Global Ranking of Academic Subjects uses survey results and quantitative data to measure the performance of world universities in 54 distinct subject areas. The methodology includes analysis of research output, research influence, evidence of international collaboration, research quality, and international academic awards.