Along with scores in the 80’s for citations (influence of work published by NUS academics) and research (including the income produced from this work), NUS also scored an impressive 95.8 in ‘International Outlook’. This measures the ratio of international to domestic staff and students, as well as the level of international collaboration the institution commits to each year.
Despite the top spot going to NUS again, the flavour of the top 10 is decidedly Chinese. Tsinghua and Peking swap places in second and third, but with three Hong Kong institutions making it to the upper echelons of the ranking, Chinese-governed territories’ HEIs make up half of the best ranked Asian universities.
“East Asian countries outside of China will need to work hard to stand out among the heavy competition”
This tally will be welcomed in China, which in late 2017 revealed plans to have 42 HEIs ranked as “world class” by 2050 – although it is likely too soon for this policy to have had an impact. There is a total of 63 Chinese institutions included in the full 2018 THE ranking.
Peking’s drop and Tsinghua’s gain is complicated by the pair’s ranking in THE’s global tally, where they are positioned in the reverse order to what is seen here.
However, this can be explained by the different methodologies used in the rankings, as the Asia specific ranking places more emphasis on research impact. According to Jack Moran at QS, Tsinghua is much stronger in this area, and therefore ranks higher than Peking.
Elsewhere, Japan has the most individual institutions in the ranking, with 89 universities making the cut. This compares to 63 from China.
However, the Japanese institutions do not break through to the top positions as frequently, with only the University of Tokyo represented in eighth position.
The remainder of the top ten is occupied by South Korean universities, with Seoul National University, located in the nation’s capital, in ninth. And the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, which has two campuses, one in Daejeon and another in Seoul.
THE’s editorial director of global rankings, Phil Baty, commented that the general positive shape of east Asian HE is not universal in the region, and institutions will have to work harder to stand out with China still growing.
“South Korea’s typically strong performance has showed signs of waning this year, while Taiwan has suffered declines as the country grapples with an ageing population and over-supply of higher education,” Baty said in a statement.
“East Asian countries outside of China will need to work hard to stand out among the heavy competition in the world’s largest continent”.
“China’s international student numbers continued to increase in 2017, and have grown significantly since 2012”
The rankings also judge Asian universities on their international outlook. Here, unlike in other areas, Middle Eastern institutions excel.
Of the five which score highest in this section, three are from the Gulf region. Qatar University, in Doha, comes top with a score of 99.8.
University of Sharjah, located close to Dubai, along with Khalifa University represent the United Arab Emirates in this table.
Moran explains that is no surprise, as internationalisation has been widely embraced in Gulf institutions, and it is likely to continue in a successful vein.
“The UAE, in particular, has placed internationalisation at the top of its agenda, with these figures accompanying a… focus on transnational education. We should expect to see the UAE remain at the top of internationalisation indicators in the future,” Moran explained.
However, this position is far from guaranteed, Moran notes, as Chinese HEIs are also improving their international focus, in spite of slight decreases seen in both THE’s and QS’s judgement of international – domestic student ratio. Tsinghua fell from 10% to 9%, and Fudan also fell by a percentage point to 10%.
“That said, it’s worth noting that China’s international student numbers continued to increase in 2017, and have grown significantly since 2012,” he said.
THE Asia Top 1o
1 – National University of Singapore
2 – Tsinghua University
3 – Peking University
4 – University of Hong Kong
=5 – Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
=5 – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
7 – Chinese University of Hong Kong
8 – University of Tokyo
9 – Seoul National University
10 – Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)