NANYANG Technological University (NTU) has climbed seven spots to reach 10th position in the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking of Asian universities, released early this morning.
This is its highest position since the rankings were first published in 2009.
The exercise by London-based education and career consultancy QS lists Asia's top 300 universities based on criteria such as academic reputation, number of papers per faculty and ratio of students to faculty.
NTU president Bertil Andersson said his institution "has become a talent magnet, attracting more top students and some of the world's best professors".
For example, he said, the number of top A-level students enrolling this year rose by 60 per cent compared to 2011.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) maintained second place, with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in top spot.
Universities from South Korea and Japan also featured prominently on the list.
The Singapore Management University was not included in the ranking because it is considered a "specialist institution" focusing on social science and management, according to a QS spokesman.
To qualify for the overall ranking, a university has to offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in at least two broad areas - such as arts and humanities, engineering and technology, and social sciences and management.
NTU finished second in a QS ranking of global universities under 50 years old, with HKUST again in first place.
QS head of research Ben Sowter said NTU had started off with a fairly limited number of disciplines before branching out into social sciences and medicine - which he called a "shrewd tactic" that has served it well.
The university's new medical school will be taking in its first cohort of students this year and move into new research areas such as food science and technology and photonics - a branch of physics.
"It's difficult for young universities to compete across the whole range of the academic spectrum because they end up spreading their money too thin in order to compete across the board," said Mr Sowter.
NUS is the top performing institution in Asia for employer reputation and second in Asia for academic reputation.
"We will continue our pursuit of transformative advances in education and research to bring about a lasting impact in Singapore, Asia and the world," said NUS provost Tan Eng Chye.
Both NUS and NTU also did well in the QS World University Rankings by Subject released last month.
QS also publishes the overall World University Rankings and Best Student Cities Rankings to be released later this year.
Mr Sowter added that the rankings suggest Asian universities could overtake Western ones within two decades.
He said: "Asian economies are going to be more competitive than Western economies, and obviously money is a big factor in the development of higher education systems and institutions."