Singapore’s NTU beats NUS again to be Asia’s best university

Singapore's NTU beats NUS again to be Asia's best university
The course at NTU is reportedly over-subscribed. Source: NTU

Nanyang Technological University in Singapore (NTU) is now no.1 in Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) Asia University Rankings.

The rankings released today show NTU has beaten its local rival, the National University of Singapore, to the top spot, which the latter held last year but has since dropped to 2nd place this time around.

NTU president Prof Bertil Andersson said this year’s result is proof of NTU’s “fantastic progress” from its 14th spot when the QS Asian rankings first started in 2009.

“The latest rankings are an outstanding achievement and strong endorsement of NTU’s excellent reputation built up over the years, and I wish to thank the entire NTU community for their contributions,” Andersson said in a statement.

The Singaporean school, founded in 1991, also scored the highest marks among regional universities for citations per paper, a metric that measures the impact and quality of scientific work done by the school.

QS research director Ben Sowter said: “NTU has improved its standing in the academic and employer reputation indicators, as well as in the “international faculty” metric. Additionally, it has enhanced its research productivity (“papers per faculty” indicator) and impact (“citation per paper” indicator).

This is not the first NTU has bested NUS in global rankings. In QS’ World University Rankings,  released earlier this year, NTU took 11th place while NUS was 15th best worldwide.

The World University Rankings uses a different set of metrics than this Asian rankings. For one, the Asian rankings measure how international the universities in the region are, through the proportion of inbound and outbound exchange students.

To this end, the young NTU brings in more than 2,000 international students each year and aims for at least eight in 10 undergraduates to have an overseas experience.

“There are ample opportunities for our students to widen their international cultural, academic and cross-learning experience through various global programmes, including spending a semester at one of our 350 exchange partner universities. This enables NTU graduates to gain a global mindset that is vital to career success in today’s dynamic and complex global workplace,” Andersson said.

However, in Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2018, the gap between the two rivals are much bigger, spanning 30 spots. NTU was at 52nd spot, while NUS shared the 22nd place with Canada’s University of Toronto. 

The city state has consistently performed well in global university rankings. Source: Shutterstock.

Competition aside, Anderson had this to say about Singapore’s performance in the rankings: “Besides celebrating NTU’s success as Asia’s highest-ranked university, Singaporeans should also be very proud that Singapore leads the rest of Asia with two world-class universities.”

“As a small country, Singapore was determined to be at the forefront of research and innovation to punch above its weight when competing with the bigger Asian countries in the knowledge economy. I’m happy that NTU has contributed to this achievement for Singapore,” Andersson said.

Apart from these two Singaporean universities and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, the rest of the universities in the rankings’ top 10 is dominated by universities in China and Hong Kong.

2018 Rank 2017 Rank Institution Country/Territory
1 3 Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore
2 1 National University of Singapore (NUS) Singapore
3 4 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Hong Kong
4 6 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Korea
5 2 University of Hong Kong (UHK) Hong Kong
6 5 Tsinghua University China
7 11 Fudan University China
8 7 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
9 9 Peking University China
10 8 Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Hong Kong

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