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This year’s ranking of the top Asian best universities features 650 institutions, making it the biggest Asia ranking we’ve ever published. Mainland China leads the way with 124 universities included this year, with India, Japan and South Korea the next most-represented study destinations. Those four destinations combined account for more than 65 percent of all ranked institutions this year.

This year’s ranking has been constructed using 11 indicators, including academic and employer reputation.

A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university, which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise.

1. National University of Singapore (NUS)

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Photo NUS

NUS has 17 faculties and schools across three campuses. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 38,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives. NUS also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community.

The 17 Schools in NUS include:

Arts and Social Sciences



Continuing and Lifelong Education


Design and Environment

Duke-NUS Medical School


Integrative Sciences and Engineering




Public Health

Public Policy


University Scholars Programme

Yale-NUS College

NUS takes an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to research, working with partners from industry, government and academia, to address crucial and complex issues relevant to Asia and the world. Researchers in NUS’ Schools and Faculties, 30 university-level research institutes and centres, and Research Centres of Excellence cover a wide range of themes including: energy, environmental and urban sustainability; treatment and prevention of diseases common among Asians; active ageing; advanced materials; risk management and resilience of financial systems. The University’s latest research focus is to use data sciences, optimisation research and cyber security to support Singapore's Smart Nation initiative.

2. Tsinghua University (Beijing China)

Tsinghua University was established in 1911 in the wake of the anti-colonialist Boxer Rebellion, which saw the US fine China $30m as punishment. In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt negotiated with Congress a reduction in the sum, with the leftover money earmarked for university scholarships for Chinese students to study in the US. Tsinghua University was established as a preparatory school for the students’ trips abroad.

Today, Tsinghua’s motto of “self-discipline and excellence” has taken it far. Most university rankings place Tsinghua among the best universities in China, and famous alumni include President Xi Jinping himself, who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979. Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, and Bill Clinton are among the distinguished guests who have spoken at Tsinghua.

The university is academically organized into 20 schools and 57 departments covering a broad range of subjects, including science, engineering, arts and literature, social sciences, medicine. Xinya College was established in 2014 as the school’s residential liberal arts college as part of a series of reforms to undergraduate education. Unlike other Tsinghua students who must choose a specific major upon enrollment, Xinya students can declare their majors at the end of their freshman year.

The campus of Tsinghua University is located in northwest Beijing, in the Haidian district, on the former site of the Qing Dynasty royal gardens. As such it retains Chinese-style landscaping as well as traditional buildings, although many of its buildings are also western in style, reflecting its American heritage. Like its archrival Peking, Tsinghua is known for having one of the most beautiful university campuses.

On campus, students keep themselves occupied with more than just academic study (although the heavy workloads mean studying is always a priority). There are more than 110 student clubs and associations covering interests such as science and technology, health and fitness, humanities, arts and public welfare.

Overseas students are particularly encouraged to join in the fun, with a host of extracurricular such as welcome parties, New Year’s parties, graduation parties, and visits to cultural and historical landmarks.

3. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)

Home to 33,000 students, NTU offers engineering, science, business, humanities, arts, social sciences, and education, and has a joint medical school with Imperial College London.

Ranked the top university in the world for citations in artificial intelligence (Nikkei and Elsevier 2017) for the period 2012-2016, NTU is embracing digital technologies for better learning and living as part of its Smart Campus vision. It has partnerships with the world’s leading technology companies such as Alibaba, Rolls-Royce, BMW, Volvo, Delta Electronics, and Singtel in many areas of societal importance and impact that include artificial intelligence, data science, robotics, smart transportation, computing, personalised medicine, healthcare and clean energy.

The NTU Smart Campus is not only a living testbed of tomorrow’s technologies, but it is also frequently listed among the world’s Top 15 most beautiful university campuses. It has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) building projects comprising more than 230 buildings, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum.

Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a medical campus in Novena, Singapore’s healthcare district.

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4. University of Hong Kong

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The University of Hong Kong (HKU), is Hong Kong’s oldest tertiary institution, with a history stretching back over a hundred years. The University of Hong Kong is ranked 26th amongst the most respected comprehensive research-led universities in the world.

  • A research driven university- 111 of our professors have been ranked as the world's top 1% scientists by Essential Science Indicators, Thomson Reuters.
  • A globally connected university with more than 340 leading universities across 43 countries.
  • A diverse community with more than 9,000 international students from 96 countries.
  • A world class curriculum with English as medium of instruction.
  • Over 99.4% graduate employment rate for the last 11th consecutive years.
An Academic Powerhouse

Apart from being the 26th best university overall globally, HKU has 6 subjects placed amongst Top 10 worldwide, while HKU Dentistry programme was ranked 1st in the world for the second consecutive years.

HKU's exceptional academic standards and pioneering research attract many top-performing scholars in Hong Kong, Mainland China and overseas. Studying at HKU, you will have a chance to meet and learn with some of the world’s top scholars.

A Globally Connected Campus

At HKU, you will meet students from 96 countries and learn from some of the best professors in the world, amongst which 60% are from outside Hong Kong. You get the opportunity to have a life experience abroad during your studies at HKU. In 2015, more than 4,000 HKU undergraduate students have gone on either one semester or one year's student exchange programme at our partner universities, or have participated in service learning projects, field trips, undergraduate research programme or internships in overseas. With HKU as your base, you get to go to places like Cambridge, MIT or Harvard to Myanmar, or South Africa to further expand your horizons!

A Degree that Opens Doors

For the last 11 years, more than 99.4% of our graduates have received at least one job offer in every consecutive academic year, with many embarking on careers in fields as diverse as finance, law, engineering and technology, and working at international corporate including the likes of Apple, Google and Goldman Sachs.

There is a whole lot more to HKU. To find out more about the educational adventures awaiting you in one of the world’s most exciting cities and leading universities, just spend some time on our admissions website.

5. Zhejiang University (Hangzhou China)

Zhejiang University (ZJU) is one of China’s top higher education institutions, as well as one of its oldest; its roots can be traced back to 1897 and the founding of the Qiushi Academy.

Located in Hangzhou – one of China’s most picturesque cities – the University is organized across seven faculties and 36 schools. It is home to 3,611 full-time faculty members, including 41 members of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. ZJU has 53,673 students, over 53% of whom are postgraduate students.

Laying claim to several areas of research strength, ZJU currently ranks among the top three on Chinese mainland and within the top 100 in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings and QS World University Rankings. Eighteen disciplines of ZJU have been selected for China’s “Double First-class” Initiative (3rd in China) and 39 disciplines graded A in the recent national assessment (1st in China).

The University prides itself on a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. ZJU researchers are making an impact across many priority areas that address global challenges, including artificial intelligence, assembly technology for large aircraft, clean energy, ocean technology, industrial control technology, and global public health initiatives related to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. ZJU is also renowned for the number of business start-ups it spins off. Over 100 of its alumni sit at the helm of domestic or overseas listed companies, making the University synonymous with excellence and leadership.

ZJU is committed to transforming China and the world through active engagement. Major innovative developments include the creation of a high-level platform for intellectual property exchange, as well as the formation of a number of think-tanks, including the China Academy of Western Region Development, the National Research Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, and the Institute for Public Policy, which exist to extend the scope of ZJU’s research in social sciences.

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6. Fudan University (Shanghai China)

Fudan University was established in 1905 as Fudan Public School. It was the first institution of higher education to be founded by a Chinese persona. The name Fudan is composed of two Chinese characters: fù (“return”) and dàn (“dawn”). They were borrowed from the Confucius classic A Commentary on The Classic of History, of which the part on the Yu and the Xia dynasties mentions: “Brilliant are the sunshine and moonlight, again the morning radiance returns at dawn.” In 2000, a new Fudan University emerged after the merger with Shanghai Medical University.

Fudan boasts a total area of approximately 2,500,000 square meters that are divided into 4 campuses: Handan (main campus in Wujiaochang area), Fenglin, Jiangwan and Zhangjiang, housing 35 schools and departments that offer 11 broad subject areas, 5 state-level key laboratories, 29 provincial and ministerial-level laboratories, 17 affiliated hospitals, and libraries that hold more than 5.5 million books and countless digital resources.

Fudan is home to approximately 4000 international students from all corners of the globe. Students can choose from diverse forms of extracurricular activities including cultural and hobby sessions organized by student societies (17 of which are mainly constituted by international students), public lectures that invite top industrial leaders and scholars from home and abroad (Nobel winners included), etc.

Each undergraduate student spends the first two years on general education, while in the next two or three years students will delve into their areas of interest. Student entrepreneurship receives strong support from the University and its global alumni networks.

The motto of Fudan University is scientia et studium, quaestio et cogitatio, which means rich in knowledge and tenacious of purposes, inquiring with earnestness and reflecting with self-practice. The University is highly praised for its time-honored tradition of academic independence and free inquiry.

Fudan is a member of the elite C9 League, also known as China’s Ivy league, and a Class A Double First Class University according to a national project to build world-class institutions and disciplines by the end of 2050.

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