THE Asia University Rankings 2019: across-the-board gains

Institutions and systems throughout the region are beefing up their performances – and it shows, says Phil Baty

May 1, 2019
Source: Alamy

Browse the THE Asia University Rankings 2019 results


The steady rise of Asian universities has been charted for years by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, but the most recent editions of the prestigious list have demonstrated spectacular success: in 2016, about one-quarter (26 per cent) of universities in the overall world rankings were from Asia; in the 2019 edition, one-third of all ranked institutions hailed from the continent.

This extraordinary increase in the representation of institutions across a vast and diverse continent has come as the rankings themselves have expanded to include more than 1,200 institutions, up from just over 800 three years ago. In 2016, some 220 Asian universities made the world rankings. In 2019, the number almost doubled to 417.

In the past year, China’s presence in the world rankings leaped from 63 ranked institutions to 72; Japan’s representation jumped from 89 to 103; and South Korea’s grew from 27 to 29. India added seven more of its institutions to the global list, making a total of 49, while Iran gained 11 new representatives, climbing from 18 to 29.

Indeed, the 2019 edition of the THE World University Rankings read like a roll call of honour for Asian universities. Although individual institutional success was, of course, not universal, Beijing’s Tsinghua University rose eight places to 22nd in the world, leading a rising pack of Chinese institutions. The University of Hong Kong climbed from 40th to 36th; Japan’s Kyoto University jumped from 74th to 65th. In South-east Asia, where investment in universities has been more limited, the University of the Philippines moved up a band, from 601-800 in 2018 to 501-600 in 2019. Indonesia’s flagship, the University of Indonesia, also rose, from 801-1,000 to 601-800.

So it is important that we, with this 2019 edition of our THE Asia University Rankings, shine a more intense spotlight on this dynamic region of global higher education.

The data that we use here are the same as those for the 2019 World University Rankings, and we employ the same trusted, balanced and comprehensive range of 13 separate performance indicators, covering the full range of an institution’s core missions (teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook). However, we recalibrate the metrics to better suit the profile of institutions that tend to be younger, with a less developed global reputation compared with their Western counterparts, and tend to be more closely aligned to their nation’s economic growth strategies.

We are delighted that the data in this report will not only continue to provide the evidence for the great success story of Asian higher education and research, but will also be used to help showcase best practice and to provide strategic insight into the continued challenges and opportunities faced by institutions across the diverse and dynamic continent.

Countries/regions represented in THE Asia University Rankings 2019

Country/region

Number of institutions

Top institution

Rank

Japan

103

The University of Tokyo

8

China

72

Tsinghua University

1

India

49

Indian Institute of Science

29

Taiwan

32

National Taiwan University

25

Iran

29

Babol Noshirvani University of Technology

43

South Korea

29

Seoul National University

9

Turkey

23

Sabancı University

36

Thailand

14

Mahidol University

104

Malaysia

11

University of Malaya

=38

Pakistan

9

COMSATS University Islamabad

=131

Hong Kong

6

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

3

Israel

6

Tel Aviv University

26

Saudi Arabia

6

King Abdulaziz University

23

Indonesia

5

University of Indonesia

133

Jordan

4

Jordan University of Science and Technology

=54

United Arab Emirates

4

Khalifa University

28

Kazakhstan

2

Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

251–300

Lebanon

2

American University of Beirut

=62

Philippines

2

University of the Philippines

95

Singapore

2

National University of Singapore

2

Iraq

1

University of Baghdad

201–250

Kuwait

1

Kuwait University

201–250

Macao

1

University of Macau

42

Nepal

1

Tribhuvan University

251–300

Oman

1

Sultan Qaboos University

201–250

Qatar

1

Qatar University

52

Sri Lanka

1

University of Colombo

301–350

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