The 2019 Asia University Rankings reveal the 350+ best colleges and universities in Asia, featuring institutions from 27 countries.
Japan leads the way with 103 universities in the ranking, while China comes second with 72 ranked institutions. India is the third most represented country with 49 universities, up from 42 last year.
Hong Kong is the most represented territory in the top 10, with three universities included.
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
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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. National University of Singapore, Singapore
The oldest institution in Singapore and the largest by student numbers, the National University of Singapore (NUS) 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.
3. 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.
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4. University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
English is the main language of instruction at the University of Hong Kong (HKU), 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. 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.
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