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Which is the best university for sports science?

Sport science is a discipline that studies how the healthy human body works during exercise. Source: AFP/Jewel Samad

Denmark’s University of Copenhagen takes top spot for the first time in Shanghai Ranking’s Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments 2018, published last Friday.

The Norwegian School of Sport Sciences and Deakin University in Australia followed in second and third place respectively, in the third edition of the annual ranking. Last year, the top three schools were Deakin University, the UK’s Loughborough University and the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, in that order.

The Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports at the University of Copenhagen has units like Integrative Physiology and Molecular Physiology. Source: AFP

The league table by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as Shanghai Ranking, compared sport-related institutions and units with similar peers. Only a sport university or sport-related unit(s) that have actively engaged in research in the past five years were selected. In total, 372 universities with their some 400 sport-related units were selected this year.

They are then ranked by several indicators of academic or research performance, including papers indexed in Web of Science (20 percent), total citations (20 percent), citations per paper (25 percent), papers published in top 25 percent journals (25 percent), and percentage of internationally collaborated papers (10 percent).

These are the top 10 universities in the rankings:

2018 Rank Country Unit Name
1 Denmark University of Copenhagen
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports
Institute of Sports Medicine
2 Norway Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
Norwegian School of Sport Sciences
3 Australia Deakin University
School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
Department of Physical Activity and Health
4 UK Loughborough University
School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences
5 Australia The University of Queensland
School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
6 Denmark University of Southern Denmark
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics
7 Canada The University of Calgary
Faculty of Kinesiology Sciences
8 Italy Verona University
Faculty of Exercise and Sport Science
Sport, Mountains, and Health Research Center
9 UK Liverpool John Moores University
School of Sport and Exercise Sciences
10 Belgium Ghent University
Department of Movement and Sport Science

With the exception of Loughborough University and the University of Queensland, the top 10 schools on Shanghai Ranking’s do not feature in the QS world university rankings 2018: Sports sciences.

Four components were assessed for QS’s version: Academic reputation, Employer reputation, Research citations per paper and H-index (which measures both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar) –  each holds a different weighting as research cultures and publication rates vary significantly across academic disciplines.

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