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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 2018 edition of the QS Asia University Rankings confirms the closely matched competition between the two, with the National University of Singapore occupying second place after Nanyang Technological University, while the University of Hong Kong is in third 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 2018

 

National University of Singapore (NUS)

University of Hong Kong (HKU)

Academic reputation

2nd

6th

Employer reputation

1st

11th

Faculty/student ratio

16th

21st

Papers per faculty

96th

105th

Citations per paper

2nd

20th

International faculty

9th

6th

International students

11th

5th

Inbound exchange students

16th

6th

Outbound exchange students

16th

3rd

Overall ranking

2nd

3rd


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 just a few places 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 110, 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 20 when assessing citations per paper.

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 2017, NUS is ranked in 36 of the 46 subjects covered, and HKU 37. Both universities boast many spots in the top 50, with NUS’ strongest rankings come 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 2017

 

NUS

HKU

Accounting & finance

18th

=28th

Anatomy & physiology

=46th

--

Anthropology

25th

--

Architecture

9th

-- 

Art & design

35th

--

Biological sciences

=19th

51-100  

Business & management

15th

28th

Chemistry

7th   

=28th

Communication & media studies

=12th

=32nd

Computer science & information systems

=10th

=24th

Dentistry

--

1st

Development studies

--

28th

Earth & marine sciences

--

27th

Economics

20th

=36th

Education & training

--

7th

Engineering (chemical)

8th

51-100

Engineering (civil)

13th

9th

Engineering (electrical)

12th

34th

Engineering (mechanical)

11th

42nd

English language & literature

15th

=27th

Environmental sciences

=9th

51-100

Geography

11th

18th

History

32nd

51-100

Law

15th

=18th

Linguistics

16th

=10th

Materials science

8th

51-100

Mathematics

=14th

28th

Medicine

=29th

34th

Modern languages

17th

13th

Nursing

19th

51-100

Performing arts

43rd

=44th

Pharmacy

11th

40th

Philosophy

51-100

51-100

Physics & astronomy

=25th

51-100

Politics

15th

31st

Psychology

48th

=44th

Social policy & administration

12th

10th

Sports-related subjects

--

=11th

Sociology

=15th

31st

Statistics

8th

=20th


This article was originally published in June 2013. It was updated in June 2015 and again in December 2017.

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Sakshi K, Ronald t & 16 others saved this
Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including How Do Students Use Rankings?

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