Asia’s top universities: NUS slips to 3rd place, NTU climbs one spot to 4th

NUS has been in the top 50 list since at least 2011, and NTU since 2020. PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE – The National University of Singapore (NUS) slipped from the second to third spot in the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) 2024 ranking of Asia’s universities released on Wednesday.

NUS was ranked Asia’s No.1 university from 2019 to 2022, and came in second in the 2023 list.

In the latest list, China’s Peking University held on to the top spot it claimed in the 2023 list, while The University of Hong Kong climbed two spots and came in second.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) climbed one spot to be placed fourth, alongside Tsinghua University, in the list by the Britain-based higher education consultancy that highlights Asia’s top universities.

In a statement, an NUS spokesperson said its performance is “an affirmation of the outstanding contributions of our talented community of academics, researchers, staff, students and alumni who are breaking frontiers for a better world and more sustainable future”.

“We remain committed to nurturing well-rounded and resilient young minds through interdisciplinary learning; conducting research of high translational value with emphasis on solving world problems; and building up a strong and diverse pool of faculty and scholars.”

This year’s QS Asia Rankings are the largest, featuring 856 universities, up from 760 in the previous year. It evaluated institutions based on several factors, including academic and employer recognition, quality and volume of research, teaching resources and the proportion of international faculty and students.

India overtook China as the region’s most represented location, with 148 Indian institutions making it to the list. It is followed by China with 133, and Japan with 96.

In a statement, QS senior vice-president Ben Sowter said: “Singapore is one of Asia’s foremost higher education systems. With two universities among the region’s top five, it boasts a truly exceptional concentration of academic excellence, underpinned by outstanding research and a collaborative, international outlook.”

In the area of research output, NTU came in second in Asia, based on QS’ measure of scholarly impact, going by citations per paper. NUS is placed third, and the newly ranked Singapore University of Technology and Design ranks 10th in this aspect.

In a statement, an NTU spokesperson said that NTU’s ranking among the top universities in Asia “reflects the university’s continued pursuit of academic excellence, impactful research and innovation, and industry collaboration to create real-world solutions”.

“NTU’s good performance is a testament of the hard work and dedication of its faculty and staff to nurture future leaders and create societal impact through innovations in teaching, scientific breakthroughs and research translation.” 

NUS came in fourth in Asia for international research network, which refers to cross-border collaboration and research, while NTU is eighth in the region.

Singapore’s institutions did not rank among the region’s top 100 in terms of volume of research and number of staff with a PhD.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.