The 2021 Asia University Rankings reveal the best colleges and universities in Asia, featuring institutions from 30 territories.
Japan leads the way, with 116 universities in the ranking, while China comes second, with 91 ranked institutions. India is the third most-represented country, with 63 universities.
Hong Kong is the most represented area in the top 10, with three universities present.
The Asia University Rankings are based on the same 13 performance indicators as the Times Higher Education 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, having undergone many changes since its establishment in 1911.
It is known as one of the most elite universities in China, admitting 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, which features in the top 20 in the overall THE World University Rankings, 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 influential at home and abroad, most notably in Chinese politics. Particle physicist Chen-Ning Yang is a Nobel prizewinner 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 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 25 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 three decades 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 programmes are more flexible than those in the UK; as in the US system, students may 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, only 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.
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore is a research-intensive university located in Singapore.
It has gone up one place in the 2021 Asia University Rankings to be included in the top five. It also features in the top 50 of the World University Rankings.
The university also ranks highly for engineering and technology and computer science courses.
The university is organised into six colleges and schools as well as several institutions including Singapore’s National Institute of Education and the Earth Observatory of Singapore.
Spread over 200 acres, the Yunnan Garden Campus is the largest university campus in Singapore and is often considered one of the most beautiful university campuses in the world.
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