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Top Universities in China 2018

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The QS BRICS University Rankings, published today, sees Chinese universities making up almost a third of the institutions featured – 94 positions out of a total of 300. The BRICS ranking has been published each year since 2013 and aims to highlight the strongest universities in the five emerging economies of BrazilRussiaIndiaChina and South Africa, and China boasts the most entrants in the ranking among the five countries, as well as seven spots in the top 10.

Read on for an overview of the 10 top universities in China this year, including information on how each institution also fared in the recently released QS Asia University Rankings 2018 and the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.

1. Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University

Tsinghua University has now been the uninterrupted highest-placed university in the QS BRICS University Rankings each year since the ranking began. Also ranked sixth in the QS Asia University Rankings, Tsinghua is a member of the C9 League, an alliance of nine elite Chinese universities. Located in capital city Beijing and with over 25,900 students enrolled, Tsinghua aims to “train students with integrity” and follow the motto of “Self-Discipline and Social Commitment”.

Tsinghua University also performs exceptionally in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, with appearances in the rankings for 33 out of a possible 46 subjects, including the global top 50 for modern languages, computer science, several branches of engineering, chemistry, politics, architecture, accounting, art & design and more. 

2. Peking University

Peking University

Also based in Beijing, Peking University continues to be ranked second in BRICS, having been ranked ninth in the Asia ranking earlier this year. While Tsinghua is first overall, Peking is in fact the highest-ranked institution in BRICS for academic reputation and employer reputation, two of the indicators used to compile the rankings. Founded as the Imperial University of Peking in 1898, Peking University has established itself as one of the leading Chinese universities for research, earning a score of 12th in the citations per faculty indicator, a measure of research impact.

Peking University is internationally ranked for 36 subjects, claiming many top 50 positions, including anatomy & physiology, art & design, business & management, English language and literature, geography, modern languages, computer science and mechanical engineering.

3. Fudan University

Fudan University

Based in China’s largest city Shanghai is the next institution on our list of the top universities in China – Fudan University. Established in 1905 as Fudan Public School, Fudan University is ranked third in the BRICS and seventh in Asia. It merged with Shanghai Medical University in 2000 to become a stronger, more comprehensive institution and now educates around 28,900 students, of whom 3,000 come from outside China.

Fudan University appears in the rankings by subject for 29 subjects in 2017, with positions in the top 50 worldwide for modern languages, mechanical engineering, chemistry, materials sciences and politics.

4. University of Science and Technology of China

University of Science and Technology of China

University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) is ranked fourth in BRICS this year and 23rd in Asia. Located in the city of Hefei, eastern China, it was established in 1958 to improve China’s economy, defense infrastructure, and science and technology education. USTC is the only Chinese university to operate two national labs, and is ranked fourth for the number of citations per paper it receives. It was also the first Chinese institution to open a graduate school.

Included in the rankings by subject for 14 subjects, the University of Science and Technology of China unsurprisingly ranks best for science subjects, appearing in the top 100 for materials sciences, computer science, chemistry, physics and electrical and mechanical engineering.

5. Zhejiang University

Zhejiang University

Up three places in this year’s BRICS, Zhejiang University is now ranked sixth in the BRICS ranking and 21st in Asia. Established in 1897 in the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang is one of the oldest and most selective Chinese universities, and is a member of the C9 League and the Yangtze Delta Universities Alliance, an association of eight prestigious universities in eastern China. A large university of 48,762 students, Zhejiang’s university library boasts around seven million volumes.

Zhejiang University is ranked among the world’s best for 28 subjects, with positions in the top 100 for several branches of engineering, computer science, agriculture, chemistry, environmental studies, mathematics, art & design and more. 

6. Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Shanghai Jiao Tong University

Ranked seventh in this year’s BRICS and 22nd in the Asia rankings, Shanghai Jiao Tong University was established in 1896 as Nanyang Public School and is another member of the C9 League. It now has around 48,866 students enrolled, including 2,400 international students, and is ranked in the top 10 of BRICS for its proportion of international faculty. Shanghai Jiao Tong has 21 research institutions and two affiliated medical research institutes, and is ranked in the top 50 for the citations per faculty indicator.

The university has 26 positions in the rankings by subject, with a number of impressive top-50 positions: computer science, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, business & management and materials sciences.

7. Nanjing University

Nanjing University

The final of these top universities in China to appear in the top 10 of the BRICS ranking, Nanjing University is ranked eighth in BRICS this year and 26th in Asia. Founded in 1902 as the Sanjiang Normal School, the university now has around 33,000 students in 28 schools, including more than 3,200 international students. Nanjing is ranked ninth for the citations per paper indicator, which is unsurprising given the university hosts eight key laboratories of the Ministry of Education.

Nanjing University is ranked internationally for 27 subjects, including the top 100 for modern languages, computer science, chemistry and materials sciences.

8. Wuhan University

Wuhan University

Ranked 15th in this year’s BRICS and 42nd in Asia, Wuhan University was founded in 1893 in Wuhan, the largest city in central China. Home to 31,886 students, the university is administered by the Ministry of Education of China and is well known for having one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, with an elegant blend of eastern and western-inspired architecture.

Ranked among the world’s best for 20 subjects, Wuhan University is in the global top 50 for dentistry and mineral & mining engineering.

9. Sun Yat-sen University

Sun Yat-sen University

New to the list of the 10 highest-ranked Chinese universities this year is Sun Yat-sen University, which climbed seven places to rank 16th in this year’s BRICS. Originally founded in 1924 as National Canton University by Dr. Sun Yat-sen (the first president and founding father of the Republic of China), the university is also ranked 45th in Asia and is made up of five campuses in the Guangdong province in southern China, hosting 74,400 students.

Sun Yat-sen University is featured in the subject rankings 20 times, coming in the top 150 for geography and social policy & administration.

10. Harbin Institute of Technology

Harbin Institute of Technology

The final institution in our look at the 10 top universities in China this year is the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT), a public research university and member of the prestigious C9 League, which also appears in the Asia ranking at 63rd. Consistently ranked as one of the best Chinese universities with a focus on science and technology, HIT is one of only a handful of universities in the world which has designed, made and launched its own satellites.

Harbin Institute of Technology is ranked among the world’s best for 12 subjects, including the top 150 for civil engineering, mechanical engineering, materials sciences and architecture.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
Sabrina is a content writer for TopUniversities.com, providing guidance on a wide range of topics. A graduate of Aberystwyth University, Sabrina is originally from the West Midlands but now lives in London. 

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