Why are these the best Asia-Pacific universities in 2018?
Tsinghua University is located in Northwest Beijing. With 20 schools and 54 departments, it covers fields from the arts to the sciences. Source: Shutterstock

Times Higher Education (THE) released its Asia-Pacific (APAC) University Ranking 2018 last week. In the coveted league table, East Asian countries continue to dominate the region’s higher education sector.

Japan had the most number of universities featured (89) while China came second with 63 universities. South Korea and Taiwan had 27 and 31 institutions represented respectively.

The region’s top university is once again the National University of Singapore, followed by China’s Tsinghua University and Peking University.

More than half of the student body at the National University of Singapore are international students. Source: Shutterstock

What makes these institutions the region’s cream of the crop?

The rankings are based on the same performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings 2018, though the methodology has been adjusted account for APAC’s rising young universities.

Over 250 universities from 13 nations were analysed based on these five broad areas: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume, income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer).

Each area was assigned their own weighting:

Teaching (the learning environment): 25 percent

This refers to the “perceived prestige” of institutions in teaching based on the annual Academic Reputation Survey. This includes how committed an institution is to nurturing the next generation of academics, as well as the number of postgraduate research students, among others.

Research (volume, income and reputation): 30 percent

This looks at “universities’ role in spreading new knowledge and ideas”. To do so, THE referred to  the average number of times a university’s published work is cited by scholars worldwide.

“The citations help to show us how much each university is contributing to the sum of human knowledge: they tell us whose research has stood out, has been picked up and built on by other scholars and, most importantly, has been shared around the global scholarly community to expand the boundaries of our understanding, irrespective of discipline,” according to the website.

International outlook (staff, students, research): 7.5 percent

This refers to how attractive a university is to global prospective undergraduates, postgraduates and faculty. This is calculated from the proportion of a university’s total research journal publications that have at least one international co-author and reward higher volumes.

Industry income (knowledge transfer): 7.5 percent

How much a university helps industry with “innovations, inventions and consultancy”. THE’s website explains this as such: “This category seeks to capture such knowledge-transfer activity by looking at how much research income an institution earns from industry (adjusted for PPP), scaled against the number of academic staff it employs.”

Based on the above, these are Asia Pacific’s top 25 universities:

rank 2018
World University
rank 2018
University Country/region
1 =22 National University of Singapore Singapore
2 30 Tsinghua University China
3 =27 Peking University China
4 32 University of Melbourne Australia
5 40 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
=6 44 The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
=6 52 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Singapore
8 48 Australian National University Australia
9 65 University of Queensland Australia
10 58 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
11 61 University of Sydney Australia
12 46 The University of Tokyo Japan
13 =80 Monash University Australia
14 =74 Seoul National University South Korea
=15 =95 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea
=15 85 University of New South Wales Australia
17 =74 Kyoto University Japan
18 =137 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea
19 =111 University of Western Australia Australia
20 =111 Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) South Korea
21 =119 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
22 =134 University of Adelaide Australia
23 132 University of Science and Technology of China China
24 116 Fudan University China
25 =169 Nanjing University China

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