Top 10 Universities in Asia 2020 | Top Universities

Top 10 Universities in Asia 2020

By Chloe Lane

Updated February 12, 2021 Updated February 12, 2021

Discover the top 10 universities in Asia based on the QS Asia University Rankings 2021

Launched today, the QS Asia University Rankings 2020 is comprised of 550 universities, with 68 new entrants featured in the index this year.   

The rankings are compiled using 11 indicators, each weighted according to their importance in the index. These indicators include academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty/student ratio, international research network, citations per paper and papers per faculty.

Other less heavily weighted indicators include staff with a PhD, proportion of international faculty, proportion of international students, proportion of inbound exchange students and proportion of outbound exchange students. You can find out more about the methodology used here.

Read on as we count down the top 10 universities in Asia in 2020…

QS Asia Rankings 2020: Top 10





National University of Singapore (NUS)



Nanyang Technological University (NTU)



The University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong (SAR)


Tsinghua University

Mainland China


Peking University

Mainland China


Zhejiang University (ZJU)

Mainland China


Fudan University

Mainland China


Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Hong Kong (SAR)


KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

South Korea


The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Hong Kong (SAR)

10. The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

Location: Hong Kong (SAR)

Kicking off the 10 top universities in Asia this year is the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 10th place after falling one spot in the ranking. CUHK earns its highest scores in the inbound exchange indicator, in fourth place worldwide, reflecting the substantial size of the university’s inbound student exchange programs.

The university is also known internationally for its strong emphasis on research, earning a near perfect score on the international research network indicator

9. KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology


Location: South Korea

Situated in Daejeon, (150 kilometers south of the South Korean capital, Seoul) Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is a public university with a student population of over 10,000. Established in 1971 by the Korean government, the university was the nation’s first research orientated science and engineering institution.

KAIST falls one place in the rankings this year to take ninth place. KAIST scores well in the papers per faculty and academic reputation indicators, coming eighth and 12th respectively

8. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Location: Hong Kong (SAR)

Placing eighth in Asia and 32nd in the world, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is an international research university dedicated to education and research, with an extremely high research output.

HKUST earns some of the highest scores in Asia in the citations per paper and international faculty indicators, ranking second and fourth respectively – giving an indication of the strong academic output of the university, as well as its ability to attract international faculty members.

7. Fudan University

Location: Mainland China

Fudan University, located in downtown Shanghai, is one of China’s most prestigious and selective institutions. Established in 1905, the university has produced a number of prominent alumni, including the director of the World Bank, Zhang Shengman, as well as Chen Zhongwei, a pioneer in the process of reattaching severed limbs.

This top university comes in at seventh in the Asia University Rankings and 40th in the world rankings this year, scoring well over a variety of indicators, including academic reputation and employer reputation

6. Zhejiang University (ZJU)

Location: Mainland China

Zhejiang University (ZJU) is one of China’s oldest institutions, dating back to as early as 1897. Today ZJU is one of China’s top higher education institutions and one of the best universities in Asia, rising an impressive seven places this year to rank in 6th place.

ZJU has a strong international outlook, having partnerships with more than 180 institutions in more than 30 countries worldwide, ranking top in Asia for the inbound student exchange indicator and fourth for the outbound student exchange indicator

5. Peking University


Location: Mainland China

Entering the top five now, where Peking University stands firmly in fifth place for another year running. Another of China’s oldest universities, Peking University was founded in 1898 as a replacement for the Guozijian school (Imperial College). Since then, Peking University has been consistently ranked as one of China’s top academic institutions and it is also known for its stunning campus grounds and traditional Chinese architecture.

Peking University is the top ranked university in Asia for employer reputation, with a perfect score in the indicator

4. Tsinghua University


Location: Mainland China

Dropping one place this year, Tsinghua University just misses out on a place the top three, taking fourth place this year. The university was established in 1911 in Beijing and is renowned worldwide for its reputable engineering and computer science programs, making it one of the best universities in Asia.

Tsinghua University also claims the title of the top ranked university in mainland China and takes 16th place in the world rankings in 2020 – scoring particularly well for employer reputation (in 6th place this year)

3. The University of Hong Kong

Location: Hong Kong (SAR)

Despite falling one spot in the rankings in 2020, the University of Hong Kong remains in the top three higher education institutions in Asia this year. The University of Hong Kong is Hong Kong’s oldest tertiary institution, with history stretching back over 100 years.

The University of Hong Kong is very well connected globally, partnered with more than 340 top universities across 43 countries. The institution also performs well in the world rankings this year, taking joint 25th place, and placing ninth in the Graduate Employability Rankings 2020

2. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Location: Singapore

The second-best university in Asia in 2020 is Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore; rising one place this year. Established in 1981 as Nanyang Technological Institute and only becoming Nayang Technological University in 1991, NTU is one of Singapore’s youngest universities. Despite this, the institution is incredibly research intensive – in first place for the citations per paper indicator

1. National University of Singapore (NUS)


Location: Singapore

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is the leading university in Asia, ranking first in the regional rankings this year and joint 11th in the world. Established in 1905, NUS was the first autonomous research university in Singapore. It has 17 faculties and spans across three campuses, offering a global approach to research and education, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise.

NUS earns perfect scores on the majority of the indicators: the academic reputation, employer reputation, international research network, international faculty, inbound exchange and outbound exchange – a representation of how well rounded this top university really is.

This article was originally published in November 2019 . It was last updated in February 2021

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Written by

As Content Editor for and, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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