NUS ranked No. 1 Asian university

The National University of Singapore has become Asia's top university for the first time, according to the World University Rankings. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
The National University of Singapore has become Asia's top university for the first time, according to the World University Rankings. -- ST FILE PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The National University of Singapore has become Asia's top university for the first time, according to the World University Rankings.

NUS moved up to 24th on the global list, published today, to take over the mantle from the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

The Nanyang Technological University also reached its best position in the table, jumping six spots to become seventh in the region and 41st in the world.

The World University Rankings, arguably the best-known and respected rankings, have been published since 2004 by London-based education consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). It is widely consulted, including by prospective students and university professionals.

Overall, American universities dominated the list, occupying seven of the top 10 places.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology maintained its top spot, followed by Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, University College London and Imperial College London.

Institutions are given an overall score using six indicators: academic and employer reputation, student-faculty ratio, citations (in academic publications) per faculty, international faculty and student mix. Academic reputation makes up 40 per cent of the score, based on a survey asking academics to rate institutions in their fields of specialism.

This year's rankings took into account the opinions of 62,094 academics and 27,957 employers. Over 3,000 universities were considered and 800 were ranked.

QS head of research Ben Sowter said: "HKU feels like a British university with large numbers of British faculty who have been there a long time and a more relaxed atmosphere. By contrast, NUS seems to be running faster than others.My suspicion is that at some point in the next 10 years, NUS will enter the top 20."

NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said the school was "pleased" with its performance, adding that it was a reflection of Singapore's strong support for higher education.

He added: "We will continue to keep a sharp focus on nurturing and recruiting talented academics, staff and students."

For 22-year-old NTU, being 41st in the world was "incredible" said its president Bertil Andersson. "Recruiting top professors from all over the world boosts our reputation. These professors and researchers have also started to publish. Their research is recognised globally."

ateng@sph.com.sg