Best universities in Asia 2019

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

May 1 2019
Best universities in Asia

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

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. 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.


Best universities in Asia by country

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


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.


Student experiences in Asia

Opportunities for students in Hong Kong
Studying in Asia – Hong Kong or Singapore?
Do you need to know Chinese to study in Hong Kong?
My experience as a foreign student in China led to a job with Google
Studying at a Japanese university: the experiences of two British students
Studying at POSTECH, South Korea
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
Why more students are choosing to study in China
The 10 most beautiful universities in East Asia


The best universities in Asia 2019: the top 100

Asia Rank 2019 Asia Rank 2018 University Country/region World University Rank 2019
1 2 Tsinghua University China 22
2 1 National University of Singapore Singapore 23
3 =5 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 41
4 4 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 36
5 3 Peking University China 31
6 =5 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore 51
7 7 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 53
8 8 The University of Tokyo Japan 42
9 9 Seoul National University South Korea 63
10 13 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea =82
11 11 Kyoto University Japan 65
12 15 University of Science and Technology of China China =93
13 10 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea 102
14 18 Zhejiang University China 101
15 14 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong =110
16 12 Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) South Korea 142
17 16 Fudan University China 104
18 17 Nanjing University China 134
19 24 Korea University South Korea 198
20 19 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong 159
21 =20 Yonsei University (Seoul campus) South Korea 201–250
22 22 Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology South Korea 201–250
23 23 King Abdulaziz University Saudi Arabia 201–250
24 =20 Shanghai Jiao Tong University China 189
25 26 National Taiwan University Taiwan 170
26 25 Tel Aviv University Israel 201–250
27 27 Hebrew University of Jerusalem Israel 201–250
28 32 Khalifa University United Arab Emirates 301–350
29 29 Indian Institute of Science India 251–300
30 33 Tokyo Institute of Technology Japan 251–300
=31 40 Kyung Hee University South Korea 351–400
=31 30 Tohoku University Japan 251–300
33 38 Hanyang University South Korea 351–400
34 35 Nagoya University Japan 301–350
35 =68 Alfaisal University Saudi Arabia 301–350
36 34 Sabancı University Turkey 351–400
37 45 Wuhan University China 301–350
=38 46 University of Malaya Malaysia 301–350
=38 43 Sun Yat-sen University China 301–350
40 28 Osaka University Japan 251–300
41 NR Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) China 301–350
42 47 University of Macau Macao 351–400
43 37 Babol Noshirvani University of Technology Iran 351–400
44 41 Technion Israel Institute of Technology Israel 301–350
45 NR Nankai University China 351–400
46 39 Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology South Korea 401–500
=47 57 Huazhong University of Science and Technology China 351–400
=47 31 Koç University Turkey 401–500
49 71 United Arab Emirates University United Arab Emirates 351–400
=50 NR Indian Institute of Technology Indore India 351–400
=50 53 Tongji University China 401–500
52 52 Qatar University Qatar 401–500
53 62 Harbin Institute of Technology China 401–500
=54 44 Indian Institute of Technology Bombay India 401–500
=54 =65 Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee India 401–500
=54 =68 Jordan University of Science and Technology Jordan 351–400
57 51 Bar-Ilan University Israel 401–500
58 =48 Kyushu University Japan 401–500
59 36 National Tsing Hua University Taiwan 401–500
60 =72 China Medical University, Taiwan Taiwan 501–600
61 42 National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (Taiwan Tech) Taiwan 401–500
=62 =75 American University of Beirut Lebanon 401–500
=62 NR JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research India 401–500
64 =83 Taipei Medical University Taiwan 501–600
65 =81 South China University of Technology China 501–600
66 =60 Tokyo Medical and Dental University (TMDU) Japan 401–500
67 59 King Saud University Saudi Arabia 501–600
68 =55 Hokkaido University Japan 401–500
69 =48 National Chiao Tung University Taiwan 501–600
=70 50 Chung-Ang University South Korea 501–600
=70 =55 Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong 401–500
72 =72 Soochow University China 501–600
73 70 Southeast University China 501–600
=74 94 Beihang University China 501–600
=74 =83 Fujita Health University Japan 401–500
=76 =60 Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur India 501–600
=76 63 University of Tsukuba Japan 401–500
=78 58 National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Taiwan 501–600
=78 NR Teikyo University Japan 401–500
=80 88 Amirkabir University of Technology Iran 501–600
=80 =104 Tokyo Metropolitan University Japan 401–500
=82 54 Bilkent University Turkey 501–600
=82 =81 Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur India 501–600
=82 64 Tianjin University China 501–600
85 =135 Central South University China 601–800
=86 =83 Sharif University of Technology Iran 601–800
=86 80 Xiamen University China 501–600
88 67 Boğaziçi University Turkey 501–600
89 87 Renmin University of China China 501–600
90 90 Xi’an Jiaotong University China 501–600
=91 86 Indian Institute of Technology Delhi India 501–600
=91 =77 Shandong University China 501–600
=93 NR King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences Saudi Arabia 501–600
=93 74 National Taiwan Normal University Taiwan 601–800
95 =156 University of the Philippines Philippines 501–600
96 =77 University of Ulsan South Korea 501–600
97 =120 Hunan University China 501–600
98 =114 Universiti Teknologi Petronas Malaysia 601–800
=99 89 East China Normal University China 501–600
=99 NR University of Kashan Iran 501–600

The Asia University Rankings 2019: full results

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