Malaysia falls, Brunei and Singapore rise in world uni rankings
Malaysia's landmark Petronas Twin Towers illuminated before their lights are turned off to mark the Earth Hour environmental campaign in Kuala Lumpur on March 26, 2022. Source: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

The University of Malaya, Malaysia’s oldest higher education institution, is no longer ranked in the world’s top 350 universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023. Brunei’s Universiti Brunei Darussalam, moved up from the 351-400 position to 301-350.

Singapore leapt into the world’s top 20 for the first time with National University of Singapore ranking 19th.

“The data shows clearly that the city state of Singapore is a growing world powerhouse for excellence in higher education – a powerful and well-connected international hub that continues to improve,” says Phil Baty, Chief Knowledge Officer. “National University of Singapore’s entry into the world top 20 zone, and Nanyang Technological University’s jump of 10 places into 36th place, continues an extraordinary pattern of mounting strength in research and innovation.”

university of malaya

People gather next to the Merlion statue at Marina Bay waterfront in Singapore on September 23, 2022. Source: Roslan Rahman/AFP

Malaysia joined the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand which also declined. “Other ASEAN nations are really falling behind the global competition, giving cause for concern … Although Vietnam has retained the positions of its leading universities, Malaysia’s flagship University of Malaya has dropped out of the world top 350, the University of the Philippines has dropped out of the world top 800 list and the University of Indonesia has fallen out of the world top 1,000,” says Baty. “Some of Thailand’s leading universities have also slipped.”

University of Indonesia is Indonesia’s best-performing institution, ranked 1001-1200. Thailand’s four  joint-highest ranking universities fare better, positioning in the 801-1000 group band: Chulalongkorn University, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Mae Fah Luang University and Mahidol University.

Out of Vietnam’s six ranked universities, two are in the world top 500: Duy Tan University (401-500) and Ton Duc Thang University (401-500).

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is based on an analysis of 15.5 million research publications and 121 million citations to those publications, plus over 40,000 responses to an annual academic reputation survey and hundreds of thousands of additional data points covering a university’s teaching environment, international outlook and industry links. Institutions are measured across 13 separate performance metrics.