Best universities in Asia 2020

Find the top universities in Asia, using Times Higher Education’s rankings data

June 3 2020
Best universities in Asia

The 2020 Asia University Rankings reveal the best colleges and universities in Asia, featuring institutions from 30 territories.

Japan leads the way with 110 universities in the ranking, while China comes second with 81 ranked institutions. India is the third most represented country with 56 universities. 

Hong Kong and China are the most represented areas in the top 10, with three universities included each. 

The Asia University Rankings are based on the same 13 performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings, but these have been recalibrated to reflect the attributes of Asia’s universities. Here’s the methodology in full.

Top five universities in Asia

Scroll down for the top 100

1. Tsinghua University, China

Tsinghua University has been committed to a multidisciplinary system for more than 30 years, after going through many changes since its establishment in 1911.

It is known as one of the most elite universities in China and admits only those students who score extremely highly in the national exams.

The university offers 51 different undergraduate programmes and more than 200 postgraduate degrees.

Tsinghua also features in the top 30 in the overall THE World University Rankings. It also achieves a top 30 position for engineering and technology, life sciences, physical sciences, computer science and business. 

The campus is in northwest Beijing in a district specifically designated as a university hub. The buildings display both traditional Chinese architecture and Western styles. Based on the former site of the Qing dynasty royal gardens, the campus has been named one of the most beautiful in the world.

Many graduates become extremely influential at home and abroad, most notably in Chinese politics. Particle physicist Chen-Ning Yang is one of two Nobel prizewinners associated with the university. 

2. Peking University, China

Peking University was the first modern national university in China, founded at the end of the 19th century.

Now it is known as a centre for progressive thought and research excellence. It currently has 216 research centres, two of which are national engineering institutions.

Although the university teaches and researches across science, social sciences and humanities, it particularly stands out internationally for physical sciences and engineering.

The university library is the largest of its kind in Asia, holding 11 million books and other resources.

After relocating in 1952, the main campus is now on the former site of the Qing dynasty imperial gardens and still has some of the original features and landscaping, including gardens, pagodas and historic buildings.

The entrance gates to the campus have murals on the ceiling and are attractions in their own right.

On campus, there are specific dormitories for the 2,000 international students.

Many prominent thinkers in China are alumni of Peking University. Three Nobel prizewinners are also associated with the institution.

Best universities in Asia

Best universities in Singapore 
Best universities in China 

Best universities in India
Best universities in Hong Kong
Best universities in Taiwan
Best universities in Pakistan 
Best universities in South Korea
Best universities in East Asia
Best universities in Japan
Best universities in Malaysia

3. National University of Singapore, Singapore

The oldest institution in Singapore and the largest by student numbers, the National University of Singapore combines research excellence and innovation.

It ranks in the top 30 in the world overall, with particularly high scores for research and international outlook, and a standout performance in engineering and technology.

The entrepreneurial focus at the university dates back 30 years to the formation of a dedicated centre for innovation and technopreneurship.

NUS uses British-style teaching through small group tutorials and US-style course credits to make up the degree requirements. Degrees are more flexible than in the UK; as in the US system, students can transfer between courses early in their degree, take modules across different faculties and are required to have a broad, cross-disciplinary selection of courses.

Many students live on campus in one of the 6,000 residential places across various halls, all served by an internal shuttle bus to take students around campus.

Notable alumni include four Singaporean prime ministers and presidents, two Malaysian prime ministers, and many other politicians, businesspeople and local luminaries.

4. University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

English is the main language of instruction at the University of Hong Kong, located in Pokfulam.

It was founded by the British governor in 1911 but began to integrate Chinese culture and education into its courses by 1927, when the first degree in Chinese was offered.

The buildings on the main campus in the Mid-Levels neighbourhood of Hong Kong Island are some of the only remaining examples of British colonial architecture. The Main Building, completed in 1912, is the oldest structure and has been declared a national monument.

Admissions are extremely selective: there are about 12 applications for every place for an international undergraduate. For students from mainland China, one student gets a place for every 31 applications.

Undergraduate courses take four years to complete, with a further year or two for medical programmes. All local students are now required to take English and Chinese language courses.

HKU graduates have been fundamentally involved in building modern China’s political, economic and cultural landscape. Many are also in senior positions in the private sector. 

5. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was established in 1991. The university focuses on science, technology, engineering, management and business studies, but also offers courses in the social sciences and the humanities.

The institution is a campus university located in the northern part of Clear Water Bay Peninsula in the Sai Kung District. The campus lies on a slope and buildings and facilities are built on terraces that have been carved out of the hillside. The academic facilities are on the upper terraces and undergraduate halls of residence and sporting facilities are near the seafront. 

The Lee Shau Kee library is located centrally on campus and contains more than 720,000 print and electronic volumes and 47,000 periodicals. The library also contains a collection of old maps of China and the rest of Asia that were produced by Chinese and Western cartographers over the past 500 years.

Student experiences in Asia

Opportunities for students in Hong Kong
A day in the life of a student in India
Studying at a Japanese university: the experiences of two British students
Studying at POSTECH, South Korea
A day in the life of a student in Japan
Why I chose to study at the National University of Singapore
A day in the life of a student in Singapore
International perspective: an American student in China

Why I chose to study at Osaka City University
The study experience at Tohoku University
Ten things to know about studying in India

International perspective: a British student in China

Why more international students should consider studying in China
The 10 most beautiful universities in East Asia

The best universities in Asia 2020: the top 100

Asia Rank 2020 Asia Rank 2019 University Country/region World University Rank 2020
1 1 Tsinghua University China 23
2 5 Peking University China 24
3 2 National University of Singapore Singapore 25
4 4 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 35
5 3 The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 47
6 6 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore =48
7 8 The University of Tokyo Japan =36
8 7 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong =57
9 9 Seoul National University South Korea 64
=10 12 University of Science and Technology of China China =80
=10 10 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea 89
12 11 Kyoto University Japan 65
=13 13 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea =110
=13 14 Zhejiang University China =107
15 16 Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) South Korea =146
16 15 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 126
17 17 Fudan University China 109
18 18 Nanjing University China =144
19 24 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China =157
20 19 Korea University South Korea =179
21 25 National Taiwan University Taiwan =120
22 21 Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea 197
23 22 Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) South Korea 201–250
24 20 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong 171
25 26 Tel Aviv University Israel =189
26 23 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia 201–250
27 27 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel 201–250
28 35 Alfaisal University Saudi Arabia 251–300
29 =31 Kyung Hee University South Korea 301–350
30 =31 Tohoku University Japan 251–300
31 28 Khalifa University United Arab Emirates 351–400
32 NR Macau University of Science and Technology Macao 251–300
33 41 Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) China 301–350
34 =47 Huazhong University of Science and Technology China 301–350
35 64 Taipei Medical University Taiwan 351–400
36 29 Indian Institute of Science India 301–350
37 42 University of Macau Macao 301–350
=38 33 Hanyang University South Korea 351–400
=38 =38 Sun Yat-sen University China 251–300
=38 49 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates 301–350
41 34 Nagoya University Japan 301–350
42 30 Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan 251–300
43 =38 University of Malaya Malaysia 301–350
44 37 Wuhan University China 351–400
45 NR Beijing Normal University China 301–350
46 59 National Tsing Hua University Taiwan 351–400
47 NR Indian Institute of Technology Ropar India 301–350
=48 43 Babol Noshirvani University of Technology Iran 351–400
=48 36 Sabancı University Turkey 401–500
50 =50 Tongji University China 401–500
51 53 Harbin Institute of Technology China 401–500
=52 45 Nankai University China 351–400
=52 52 Qatar University Qatar 401–500
54 85 Central South University China 401–500
=55 =50 Indian Institute of Technology Indore India 351–400
=55 40 Osaka University Japan 301–350
57 NR University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan Japan 351–400
58 =54 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan 351–400
59 =76 Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur India 401–500
=60 =62 American University of Beirut Lebanon 351–400
=60 NR Universiti Brunei Darussalam Brunei Darussalam 401–500
62 66 Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Japan 401–500
63 46 Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology South Korea 401–500
64 65 South China University of Technology China 501–600
=65 NR Cankaya University Turkey 401–500
=65 95 University of the Philippines Philippines 401–500
67 =91 Indian Institute of Technology Delhi India 401–500
68 67 King Saud University Saudi Arabia 501–600
=69 =54 Indian Institute of Technology Bombay India 401–500
=69 NR University of Peradeniya Sri Lanka 401–500
71 58 Kyushu University Japan 401–500
72 44 Technion Israel Institute of Technology Israel 401–500
73 97 Hunan University China 401–500
74 =47 Koç University Turkey 501–600
=75 =70 Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong 401–500
=75 NR Quaid-i-azam University Pakistan 401–500
=75 =86 Sharif University of Technology Iran 501–600
78 =102 Sejong University South Korea 401–500
79 =82 Tianjin University China 501–600
80 61 National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech) Taiwan 501–600
81 57 Bar-Ilan University Israel 501–600
82 =74 Fujita Health University Japan 401–500
=83 =80 Amirkabir University of Technology Iran 501–600
=83 =54 Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee India 501–600
85 73 Southeast University China 501–600
86 =74 Beihang University China 501–600
87 =107 Iran University of Science and Technology Iran 601–800
88 =113 Shenzhen University China 501–600
=89 60 China Medical University, Taiwan Taiwan 501–600
=89 69 National Chiao Tung University Taiwan 501–600
=89 NR Yasouj University Iran 401–500
92 NR Institute of Chemical Technology India 501–600
=93 =78 Teikyo University Japan 401–500
=93 =76 University of Tsukuba Japan 401–500
95 127 Yokohama City University Japan 501–600
96 68 Hokkaido University Japan 401–500
97 =70 Chung-Ang University South Korea 501–600
=98 =99 East China Normal University China 501–600
=98 119 University of Haifa Israel 501–600
=100 =82 Bilkent University Turkey 501–600
=100 =102 National Yang-Ming University Taiwan 501–600

The Asia University Rankings 2020: full results

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