Singapore leads Asia in World University Rankings

Originally published at on 16th September 2015

The QS World University Rankings 2015 were released on Tuesday, September 15 and showed Asian institutions making some making impressive gains against Western universities. Singapore did particularly well, claiming the top spot among Asia’s universities with two institutions inside the top 15.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was ranked the best university in the world for the second year running and Harvard University was awarded second place. According to the QS rankings, the top 10 higher education institutions in the world are comprised of five universities from the US (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology (CALTECH), University of Chicago), four universities from the UK (University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University College London (UCL), Imperial College London) and one university from Switzerland (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology). Outside the top 10 it is Singapore leading the way for Asia with two universities inside the top 15.

In the top 100 there are 19 institutions from Asia with Japan (5), China (4), Hong Kong (4), South Korea (3), Singapore (2) and Taiwan (1) all represented. Asia’s top ranking university is the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 12th place, which rose 10 places from 2014, followed closely by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 13 place. Both Singaporean universities outranked America’s prestigious Yale University, which slipped from 10th to 15th place.

China’s Tsinghua University was Asia’s third highest ranking university (25), followed by The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (28), the University of Hong Kong (30), Seoul National University (36), Kyoto University (38), The University of Tokyo (39), Peking University (41), Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (43), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (51), Fudan University (51), Tokyo Institute of Technology (56), City University of Hong Kong (57), Osaka University (58), National Taiwan University (70), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (70), Tohoku University (74) and Pohang University of Science and Technology (87).

The Australian National University was best among universities in Australia in 19th place, with The University of Melbourne (43), The University of Sydney (45), The University of New South Wales (=46) and the University of Queensland (=46) also making the top 50.

This year’s report was the first since the adoption of a modified methodology for ranking universities. The reasons for modifying the ranking methodology was explained in a press release from Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). The statement emphasized that this year’s rankings had been changed in order to provide “fairer evaluations for universities with a strong profile in areas with lower research activity, such as arts, humanities and social sciences”. The new ranking methodology consists of six factors: academic reputation (40 percent), employer reputation (10 percent), faculty student ratio (20 percent), citations per faculty (20 percent), international students (5 percent) and international faculty (5 percent). A detailed explanation of the methodology and assessment procedure can be found on the QS website.

At the end of September another influential world university rankings, the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, will be released. Last year’s THE rankings showed Asian universities challenging Europe and America’s traditional monopoly, with the University of Tokyo claiming first place in Asia ahead of the National University Singapore. This year’s rankings will be watched closely for further indications of East Asia’s growing stature within higher education.

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