University of Sheffield ranked among best in world for arts and humanities

  • University of Sheffield ranked in world top 100 for teaching and research in the arts and humanities
  • Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject ranks Sheffield 62nd out of more than 500 institutions from across the world – rising five places from its position last year

Jessop West building - home to the University's Faculty of Arts and Humanities

The University of Sheffield has been ranked among the best universities in the world for teaching and research in the arts and humanities, according to the Times Higher Education.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject, one of the most renowned university league tables, has ranked Sheffield 62nd out of more than 500 institutions across the world for arts and humanities subjects – rising five places from its position in the rankings last year.

The league table highlights the universities that are leading in teaching and research across the arts, performing arts, languages, history, philosophy, theology, architecture and archaeology.

Professor Susan Fitzmaurice, Vice-President for Arts and Humanities at the University of Sheffield, said: “It is immensely gratifying to have the value of the arts and humanities at Sheffield be recognised in this way. The key is the creative, critical and inspirational research and teaching of our academics across the disciplines of history, modern languages, archaeology, music, philosophy and English language and literature studies. They are instrumental in articulating the importance of the arts and humanities and contributing to its quality and standing at Sheffield.”

The University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities is home to more than 3,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students from both the UK and around the world. It has more than 350 members of staff whose curiosity about languages, cultures, histories and imaginaries drive teaching and research across all levels.

Its research, learning and teaching activities engage with communities in Sheffield, throughout the UK and across the world. They address big issues around political and social change, extend our understanding of human creativity and the mental processes that help shape our beliefs and attitudes.

Arts and humanities staff and students at the University are also using the latest digital technologies to transform their learning, teaching and research while using variety, breadth, risk-taking and difference in their disciplines.

A large collaborative team, including researchers in the University’s School of English and software developers in the Digital Humanities Institute, have developed concept modelling, an innovative method of discovering meaningful concepts in texts before they appear as keywords in early modern English. The research, led by Professor Susan Fitzmaurice, makes a theoretically and technologically ground-breaking humanities-driven contribution to the area of text analytics.

Archaeologists from the University have recently helped to uncover the remains of Sheffield’s lost medieval castle in a project that is contributing to the regeneration of Sheffield’s Castlegate Quarter.

Working with partners from across the city, including one of the UK’s leading archaeological organisations in Wessex Archaeology, staff and students from the University’s Department of Archaeology are piecing together the castle’s lost history to help inspire the city’s future. The project also includes staff and students from the University's School of Architecture who are producing visions for how Sheffield can harness the remains of its castle and its medieval origins for the benefit of the city.

A historian from the University of Sheffield has recently helped carve a place in history and the public space for the women and men who fought for women’s right to vote. Dr Julie Gottlieb from the University’s Department of History worked as a historical advisor to the artist commissioned to create the statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett, which was unveiled in London’s Parliament Square earlier this year.

Dr Siobhan Lambert-Hurley, a historian from Sheffield, has also uncovered new insights into the lives of Muslim women travellers throughout history from Asia and the Middle East. Narratives uncovered by the study are countering omnipresent images in the contemporary political climate of Muslim women having clipped horizons and curtailed movement.

Researchers from the University’s School of English are exploring how knowledge, skills and practices in language, literature and theatre studies can be combined to rethink the ways visitors engage with and interpret country house estates. The project led by Professor Jane Hodson and Professor Frances Babbage is based on one of the most renowned country houses in the UK, Chatsworth. Working in partnership with Chatsworth's curatorial and educational team, it is bringing its history and the people who lived and worked at the country house to life.

Researchers from the University’s Department of Music are working with contemporary arts organisations across the UK to investigate how people engage with new artworks in music, dance, drama and the visual arts. The Sheffield Performer and Audience Research Centre is building networks of contemporary arts organisations and helping them to develop strategies to recruit and retain new audiences.

Research by Dr Victoria Williamson in Sheffield’s Department of Music is exploring how music impacts on our behaviours, abilities and brain responses, such as how music can help people suffering with insomnia.

A project from the University’s School of Languages and Cultures is harnessing the rising popularity of women’s football to tackle gender issues in South America. Led by Professor David Wood, a Professor of Latin American Studies, the project is bringing together women from academia, football, the media and other stakeholder groups from across Brazil to explore ways to combat gender inequality.

Researchers from Sheffield’s School of Languages and Cultures are also developing new insights into how people learn languages in order to help make learning a new language easier. Led by Dr Dagmar Divjak, the study is producing new, accurate ways of describing speakers’ linguistic knowledge, by using machine-learning techniques that mimic the way in which humans learn.

Philosophers at the University are conducting research into the political philosophy of environmental change. A book by Dr Megan Blomfield, Global Justice, Natural Resources, and Climate Change (to be published by Oxford University Press in Spring 2019), discusses how to understand the problem of climate change, and what a just response to it would involve, by thinking about what the world would look like if natural resources were shared fairly.

Dr Blomfield is a member of the Department’s Centre for Engaged Philosophy, through which other staff engage in work on political and social issues such as the role of education, bias in the workplace, and the relation between religion and ethics

For more information on the University’s Faculty of Arts and Humanities, visit:

For more details on studying arts and humanities subjects at the University of Sheffield, visit:

To view the full Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2019 for arts and humanities, visit:

Additional information

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Sean Barton
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9852