In the QS World Rankings by Subject 2017 released in March 2017, Waseda University saw an increase in the number of subjects ranked in global top 100, from three (2016) to nine subjects (2017). Based on the total number of subjects ranked in global top 100 and global top 200, Waseda University now stands at 6th and 4th position respectively in Japan, making it the best private university in the island nation. Furthermore, the University is ranked 1st in Japan and 19th globally under the Sports-related Subjects category, making it one of the world leading universities in this field.
What are the reasons and strategies adopted by the University behind this rapid improvement in the world university ranking?
World 19th and national top in Sports-related Subjects
Waseda University is currently making various reforms internally to achieve its mid-long term Waseda Vision 150. One of its aims is to reach out to the world as a top global research university through expanding its research activities.
One way to measure a university’s success and know where it stands globally is to refer to world university rankings. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has been publishing various world university rankings with different indicators since 2004 and one of them – the QS World Rankings by Subject – compares university standings by looking at specific fields or subjects. Waseda University is aiming towards getting 18 of its subjects ranked in global top 100 by 2023. At present, it is ranked 1st nationally and 19th globally under the Sports-related Subjects category, higher than many world renowned and prestigious universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University College London (UCL), ranked 20th and 29th respectively.
Additionally, Waseda University is currently ranked 45th (3rd in Japan) for Arts and Humanities, 59th (3rd in Japan) for Social Sciences & Management, 102nd (8th in Japan) for Natural Sciences and 105th (8th in Japan) for Engineering and Technology. As it is estimated that there are over 26,000 universities in the world, being ranked in the global top 200 spots is equivalent to being in the top one percent, suggesting that Waseda University is doing remarkably well on global standard.
Waseda University is one of the universities selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan for the Top Global University funding project launched in 2014. Upon the project initiative by MEXT, the University launched the Waseda Ocean which is the “Waseda Goes Global Plan” in 2015. ‘Ocean’ in “Waseda Ocean” refers to the Seven Seas across the world, reflecting the University’s desire to be a world class university that connects and encourages the freedom of academic and research exchange among leading universities, researchers, professors and students from all over the world.
In order to achieve its goals in Waseda Ocean, the University has selected six of its renowned research fields namely 1) Global Japanese Studies, 2) Positive & Empirical Analysis of Political Economy, 3) Health & Sports Science, 4) ICT and Robots 5) Energy and Nanomaterials, and 6) Multiscale Analysis, Modeling as model units which the University invests heavily. In addition, the University established the 7th model unit Global Asia Research Center in April 2017 which aims to contribute to the global interdisciplinary scholarship on reconciliation and sustainable development, and to disseminate its results from Asia to the world.
The project funding initiative by MEXT in 2014 and establishment of model units under Waseda Ocean plan in 2015 are believed to be the reasons why Waseda University sees a massive improvement in QS World Rankings by Subject in recent years.