Asia Life

QS World University Rankings 2013: Asian Academia Rising

A growing number of Asian universities are ranking high worldwide.

Jonathan DeHart

Yesterday, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for 2013 were released. From a cursory look at the list of 800 institutions, Asia’s academic profile is on the rise.

While it’s no surprise that perennial heavyweights like MIT, Harvard and Cambridge occupy the top three slots, scroll just a little down the first page of the rankings and note that the National University of Singapore (NUS) is nestled in 24th position, between stellar American institutions Duke University and University of California, Berkeley. NUS is Asia’s highest rated globally, but just two spots behind is University of Hong Kong.

Within the top world’s 50 spots alone, another 10 Asian institutions have made the list. The University of Tokyo comes in at 32nd worldwide, followed closely by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (34th), Kyoto University and Seoul National University (tied for 35th), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (39th), Nanyang Technological University (41st), Peking University (46th), and Tsinghua University (48th).

Notably absent from the world’s top 50 are any universities from South Asia. In the regional World Asian Universities Rankings there is a stronger showing from other parts of Asia, with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) occupying three spots in the region’s top 50, with IIT-Delhi in 38th, IIT-Bombay in 39th, and IIT-Madras in 49th. Elsewhere, Thailand’s Mahidol University and Chulalongkorn University came in 42nd and 48th in the region, respectively.

While Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland scored highly according to global metrics, regional newspapers in the Philippines and India lamented dips in their respective universities’ rankings, with the highest globally ranked Philippine institution being the University of the Philippines (slipping from its position of 348 last year to 380) and IIT-Delhi the top Indian university at no. 222 worldwide.

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The rankings, published annually, are determined according to six criteria: 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). The 2013 rankings drew on more than 90,000 survey responses, with more than 3,000 universities being considered.

Editor's note: the text has been updated from the original.