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The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences ranks in the top 1 percent in the world for Arts and Humanities and for Social Sciences.

These results confirm the strength of the humanities and social sciences at the University and its global standing in these valuable subject areas.

The QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of international university rankings, comprising global overall and subject ranking out of more than 18,000 universities worldwide.

The University's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences ranks 73rd in the world for Arts and Humanities and 131st in Social Science. Six subjects from the Faculty are in the top 100 band—English Language and Literature, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Communication and Media Studies, Performing Arts, and Politics and International Studies. Archaeology (within Te Kawa a Māui/the School of Māori Studies), History, Philosophy, and Sociology are ranked in the top 150 in the world, while Languages ranks in the top 200.

In addition, the University has become one of only 12 universities in the world to receive a maximum 5 Stars Plus in the QS Stars Rating System. The University received 901 out of a possible 1,000 points across eight audited categories—including maximum points for the Employability and Arts & Culture categories.

With regards to research, the University ranks first in New Zealand for the proportion of academics conducting high-quality research in the 2018 Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) round. Subjects within the humanities and social sciences were pivotal to this top ranking; the University has the highest percentage of A-ranked researchers in New Zealand in: English Language and Literature; History, Art History, Classics and Curatorial Studies; Music, Literary Arts and Other Arts; Philosophy; Theatre, Dance, Film, Television and Multimedia; as well as the second highest percentage in two other subjects: Foreign Languages and Linguistics; and Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work, Criminology and Gender Studies. Additionally, the University also has the highest percentage of A-ranked plus B-ranked researchers (combined) in New Zealand in five humanities and social sciences areas.