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Top 10 Universities in Asia 2018

Top 10 Universities in Asia 2018 main image

Click here to discover the top 10 universities in Asia in 2019.

The results of the QS Asia University Rankings are out now, featuring 450 of the top universities in Asia, extended from 350 in the previous year. The ranking is based on a methodology which considers 10 performance indicators, including factors considered particularly important in this part of the world, such as the number of staff with a PhD, and each university’s proportion of inbound and outbound exchange students.

Read on for a closer look at this year’s top 10, or click here to view the full 2018 rankings table.

1. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)


Location: Singapore

Climbing two places and knocking its rival, the National University of Singapore, out of the top spot this year, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is now the highest-ranked university both in Singapore and Asia. NTU receives the highest score in the whole ranking for citations per faculty member (a measure of research impact). NTU is a young university, established in 1991, and has consistently been ranked first in the QS Top 50 Under 50, a ranking of the top universities in the world under 50 years old. NTU has a student population of about 32,400 and has the largest university campus in Singapore, at 200 hectares. NTU also features among the world’s best for 31 subjects, including top 10 positions for chemical and civil engineering.

2. National University of Singapore (NUS)


Location: Singapore

National University of Singapore (NUS) is down one place to rank second in Asia in 2018, but nonetheless receives the highest score in the entire ranking for employer reputation, and is only one place behind NTU for citations per faculty member. NUS was founded in 1905 as the King Edward VII College of Medicine and today has around 38,600 students, almost 10,000 of whom are studying at postgraduate level. NUS is featured among the world’s best for 36 subjects, including positions in the top 10 for chemical and civil engineering, chemistry, materials science, architecture and statistics.

Trying to decide between NTU and NUS? View our comparison article here.

3. The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)


Location: Hong Kong

Up one place this year, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is another one of the youngest top universities in Asia in this list, having been founded in 1991, and places second after NTU in the QS Top 50 Under 50. HKUST has around 14,200 students and boasts an attractive 60-hectare campus in an area of natural beauty on the Clear Water bay peninsula, a short drive from central Hong Kong.

4. KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

Location: South Korea

Climbing two places this year, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology was founded in 1971 as the first research-orientated science and engineering university in South Korea. It’s located in Daejeon, a city known for its innovation in science and education, and also has a campus in capital city Seoul. KAIST currently has around 10,600 students, with a larger proportion of postgraduates than undergraduates.

5. University of Hong Kong (HKU)

University of Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong

Down three places to rank fifth in Asia this year, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is nonetheless consistently one of the top universities in Asia. HKU is Hong Kong’s oldest university, having been established in 1911, and has since gained international recognition for its achievements as a research-led comprehensive university. HKU has an enrollment of 28,744 students, including 9,215 international students.   

6. Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University

Location: China

Tsinghua University is down one place in the Asian rankings this year but is nonetheless the highest-ranked Chinese university, achieving top-five scores for both academic and employer reputation. Also established in 1911, Tsinghua is based in the Chinese capital Beijing and is a member of the prestigious C9 League of Chinese universities. It’s currently ranked among the top 10 universities in the world to study civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, as well as materials sciences. 

7. Fudan University

Fudan University

Location: China

Also in China, fellow C9-member Fudan University has climbed four places in the Asian rankings in 2018, overtaking Peking University in the process. Established in 1905 as Fudan Public School, Fudan is located in Shanghai, and is considered one of the most selective Chinese universities. It has about 31,900 students, of whom 3,000 are international, and is ranked among the world’s top 50 universities to study modern languages, mechanical engineering, chemistry, materials sciences and politics.

8. City University of Hong Kong

City University of Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong

Ranked eighth in Asia in 2018, City University of Hong Kong is another young, fast-growing institution, established in 1984 as the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong. City University of Hong Kong features among the world’s top 50 universities for civil engineering, mathematics, accounting & finance, communication & media studies and social policy & administration. As well as over 50 bachelor’s degree programs, it offers dual degree programs with other prestigious universities such as Columbia University in the US.

9. Peking University

Location: China

Peking University retains its position of ninth this year, and achieves top-five scores for its reputation among both academics and employers, suggesting a degree from Peking will certainly put you in good stead. Established in 1898 in Beijing, Peking is another member of the prestigious C9 League, and is also well known for the beautiful traditional Chinese architecture on its campus grounds. Peking is currently ranked in the global top 15 for linguistics, modern languages, chemistry, and dentistry.

10. The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Location: Hong Kong

Concluding our look at the 10 top universities in Asia in 2018 is the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), down two places to rank 10th in the region this year. CUHK receives its highest scores for the proportion of inbound exchange students and academic reputation, and offers a large range of programs, most of which are taught in English. Founded in 1963, CUHK is currently Hong Kong’s only collegiate university. 

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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China has been advancing very rapidly in the education sector.... And I think it will be No.1 in the education in the coming 10 years because of it's dedicated and corruptionless endeavours in the education... See here 7 are Chinese Universities among the Asia's top 10 universities... Not a single Indian university in the world's top 200 universities....

Actually there are only 4 universities that are officially Chinese, because Hong Kong used to be part of the England many schools like HKU, CUHK, and HKUST run on the British style of education.

I think the King Abdullah University of Science & Technology is one of the best universities in Aisa or even in Middle East

I didn't see names of japanese universities

I was really hoping to see atleast a couple of japanese universities in the list due to their high ratings in research and inventions.

I think China will advance too much in the coming years due to it's dedicated and corruptionless endeavours in the education... It is progressing very rapidly...

Unlike Western universities who fare highly on QS and Times Ranking, most of the postdoctoral research works in Japan are still published in Japanese and therefore even though these research are of high quality and most likely better than their Western counterparts


Hi Debasish, sorry you were disappointed with the results - if you check the table for this year's Asian rankings you can see that, although none are in the top 10, there are several Japanese universities in the top 50. The University of Tokyo is 13th this year, so not far behind these 10. :)