SINGAPORE - The country's two oldest universities have topped the latest global rankings in specific subject areas.
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has overtaken Massachusetts Institute of Technology to become the world's leading institution for the study of materials science, according to a league table compiled by Britain-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a higher education analysis company.
It also placed the National University of Singapore (NUS) petroleum engineering programme at number one, a position it also attained last year out of 151 contenders.
Last year, NTU's materials science programme was ranked 3rd out of about 400 programmes worldwide.
Overall, NUS ranked 11th out of 1,000 universities, while NTU came in 13th. Last year, both universities tied for 11th place.
"The consistent improvements made by Singaporean institutions in our rankings are the result of a decade of investment and strategising," said Mr Ben Sowter, QS's senior vice president of professional services.
"It was in 2010, after all, that the Singaporean government inaugurated the Singapore Universities Fund, with a view to avoiding the sort of downturn-driven real-terms funding cuts that have beleaguered universities across the world."
The QS analysis also found Singapore to be the fourth best higher education system in the world after the United States, Britain and Switzerland, and first in Asia based on its share of programmes in the top 10 globally.
"Singapore is home to more world-class programmes than any other Asian higher education system: it has four times as many top-10 programmes as China's six and eight times as many as Japan's three," it added.
The two local universities had 24 degree programmes in the top 10 globally - 16 from NUS, eight from NTU.
Several degree courses made large jumps in the rankings. NUS's computer science and information systems course shot up from 12th in 2020 to 4th place this year while the mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing programme at NUS jumped from 11th to 5th.
QS evaluated around 5,000 universities, taking into account factors such as academic reputation, standing with employers, faculty-to-student ratios and citations per faculty.
An NTU spokesperson said: "This is a testament to the achievements of our faculty and students ... and will position NTU well to address major challenges ... such as climate change and global pandemics.
NUS senior deputy president and provost Professor Ho Teck Hua said: "The university has top-10 placement for 16 of our programmes, up from four last year. Overall, NUS is placed in the top 20 for 28 out of the 37 programmes in which it was ranked.
"It is a wonderful achievement by our talented faculty members."