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Top Universities in Asia: NUS Vs HKU

University of Hong Kong or National University of Singapore? main image

Choosing between the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is no easy task. Each at the heart of a small and dynamic ‘Asian Tiger’ city-state economy, NUS and HKU are among the very best universities in Asia – and the world.

The recently released 2019 edition of the QS Asia University Rankings confirms the closely matched competition between the two, with the National University of Singapore occupying first place, while the University of Hong Kong is in second place. If you’re facing a choice between HKU and NUS – or you’re just interested in following the rising stars of these leading Asian universities – read on to see how they compare on each of the indicators assessed in the QS rankings.

Comparison based on the QS Asia University Rankings 2019

 

National University of Singapore (NUS)

University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Academic reputation

2nd

6th

Employer reputation

4th

11th

Faculty/student ratio

20th

25th

Papers per faculty

103rd

118th

Staff with PhD

29th

53rd

Citations per paper

3rd

24th

International faculty

8th

5th

International students

14th

5th

Inbound exchange students

18th

12th

Outbound exchange students

14th

5th

International research network

1st

6th

Overall ranking

1st

2nd


As the table above shows, these two top universities in Asia are fairly closely matched in each of the areas assessed. While NUS boasts a slightly stronger reputation among both academics and employers, HKU is not too far behind. Both rank respectably for faculty/student ratio – the number of full-time academic staff relative to student enrolments – which aims to give an indication of academic support levels. And both have been among the region’s most successful in attracting overseas students and academics, with highly diverse communities and thriving exchange programs in both directions.

For both universities, the weakest point is research productivity. Although still within Asia’s top 120, they appear relatively lower down the list when sorted by papers published per faculty member. However, they are nonetheless among the region’s most influential research hubs – both are within the top 25 when assessing citations per paper. Both institutions also perform well for the international research network indicator, which assesses the strength and diversity of their international research collaborations.

Subject strengths

These two large and comprehensive universities are both ranked among the world’s best in an impressive array of disciplines. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018, NUS is ranked in 36 of the 48 subjects covered, and HKU 37. Both universities boast their fair share of spots in the top 50, with NUS’ strongest rankings found largely in the engineering disciplines, particularly civil & structural engineering, while HKU is the world leader for dentistry.  

NUS vs HKU in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018

 

NUS

HKU

Accounting & finance

17th

28th

Anatomy & physiology

37th

--

Anthropology

=21st

--

Architecture

10th

12th

Art & design

39th

--

Biological sciences

21st

=50th   

Business & management

15th

26th

Chemistry

7th   

=27th

Communication & media studies

14th

=35th

Computer science & information systems

=10th

26th

Dentistry

--

1st

Development studies

--

34th

Earth & marine sciences

--

25th

Economics

20th

35th

Education & training

--

7th

Engineering (chemical)

9th

=49th

Engineering (civil)

6th

11th

Engineering (electrical)

10th

=32nd

Engineering (mechanical)

12th

33rd

English language & literature

15th

22nd

Environmental sciences

10th

49th

Geography

10th

23rd

History

24th

51-100

Law

15th

19th

Linguistics

21st

11th

Materials science

8th

51-100

Mathematics

13th

28th

Medicine

31st

=34th

Modern languages

=14th

=16th

Nursing

10th

48th

Performing arts

=27th

44th

Pharmacy

8th

=47th

Philosophy

51-100

51-100

Physics & astronomy

25th

51-100

Politics

12th

=24th

Psychology

51-100

=36th

Social policy & administration

14th

=20th

Sports-related subjects

=37th

11th

Sociology

17th

29th

Statistics

11th

=28th

This article was originally published in June 2013. It was last updated in November 2018.

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Ritwik J, Faiyaz A & 65 others saved this
Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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1 Comment

thank you for this article Laura, its so helping