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Asia's Top Young Universities: NTU vs HKUST

Asia’s Top Young Universities: NTU vs HKUST main image

In the new edition of the QS Top 50 Under 50, released this week, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was once again ranked as the the world’s top university under 50 years old, closely followed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

In general, dynamic young Asian universities dominate the top tier of the QS Top 50 Under 50, which celebrates the world’s leading institutions under 50 years old. NTU and HKUST are joined in the top five by two more Asian universities: South Korea’s KAIST at third, and the City University of Hong Kong at fifth.

While Nanyang Technological University has now led the Top 50 Under 50 for five consecutive years, HKUST has previously claimed the top spot, and the two remain closely matched.

Here’s a closer look at how these two ambitious Asian universities compare…

 

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

QS World University Rankings® 2019

Ranked 12th in the world overall in 2019

Ranked 11th in the world by academics and 18th by employers

79th for faculty/studio ratio

87th for research impact (citations per faculty member)

24th for percentage of international faculty members, and 144th for international students 

 

Ranked 37th in the world


Ranked 57th in the world by academics and 91st by employers

241st for faculty/student ratio

39th for research impact (citations per faculty member)

15th for percentage of international faculty members, and 114th for international students

Subject strengths*

Ranked 61st in the world for arts & humanities

Fifth for engineering & technology

130th for life sciences & medicine

19th for natural sciences

29th for social sciences & management

Ranked 164th in the world for arts and humanities

Joint 17th for engineering & technology

Joint 330th for life sciences & medicine

Joint 48th for natural sciences

24th for social sciences & management

Location

The main Yunnan Garden Campus is in western Singapore, close to the Johor Strait which separates Singapore from Malaysia.

About 30 minutes’ drive from central Hong Kong, overlooking the Clear Water Bay Peninsula, in the south-east of Hong Kong.

History & vision

Founded in 1991, with the vision of being “a great global university founded on science and technology” and a mission of “nurturing creative and entrepreneurial leaders through a broad education in diverse disciplines”.

Established in 1991, focusing on teaching and research in science, technology, engineering and business studies, with the vision of becoming “a leading university with significant international impact and strong local commitment”.

Student community

Around 31,827 students, of which 8,074 are postgraduates.

Approx. 14,807 students, of which 5,053 are postgraduates.

International tuition fees

Undergraduate students who aren’t subsidized by the MOE Tuition Grant will pay S$31,780-36,830 (~US$23,665-27,260) per year for most courses.

Master’s degrees at NTU start at S$30,100 (~US$22,430) a year without service obligation (see ‘Tuition Fees’ section below.

For 2018-19, annual fees for most undergraduate programs are HK$140,000 (~US17,150).


Fees for postgraduate programs vary; for 2018 admissions an MSc in Electronic Engineering costs HK$140,000 (~US$17,840) per year.

Singapore currently ranks 15th in the QS Best Student Cities ranking.

Hong Kong is 12th in the QS Best Student Cities.

 *Based on the broad subject areas of the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

NTU

QS World University Rankings® 2019

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) continues to outrank Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in the QS World University Rankings® and the QS Top 50 Under 50, with both top Asian universities down slightly on last year.

When taking a closer look, both institutions perform well in the indicators used to compile the rankings, with each university ranked in the top 300 for each one. NTU achieves higher scores for its reputations among academics and graduate employers, gaining a wider lead on the employer reputation indicator.

For research impact, HKUST is the leader of the two, with NTU ranked 87th. This is assessed by counting the number of research citations published per faculty member at the university. However, when assessing the ratio of academic staff members to students, NTU has a clear lead – ranked more than 160 places ahead of HKUST at 79th.

Finally, looking at the level of international diversity on each campus, both young universities get high scores, with HKUST in the lead both for its percentage of international faculty members and international students – however, NTU still features in the global top 150 for both indicators.

Subject strengths

If you’re still trying to decide between NTU and HKUST, a look at the QS World University Rankings by Subject can help narrow down each university’s individual subject strengths. NTU is the leader for four out of the five broad subject areas included in the rankings, ranking only five places behind HKUST for social sciences & management, at 29th to HKUST’s 24th.

The table below lets you see how NTU and HKUST directly compare for each discipline.

NTU vs HKUST in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018

 

NTU

HKUST

Accounting & finance

26th

16th

Anthropology

--

51-100

Art & design

=40th

--

Biological sciences

51-100  

101-150

Business & management

40th

16th

Chemistry

11th

23rd

Communication & media studies

12th

--

Computer science & information systems

16th

=14th

Earth & marine sciences

51-100

151-200

Economics

51-100

28th

Education & training

16th

251-300

Engineering (chemical)

=14th

30th

Engineering (civil)

=21st

=24th

Engineering (electrical)

12th

23rd

Engineering (mechanical)

=14th

24th

English language & literature

51-100

--

Environmental sciences

18th

51-100

Geography

--

151-200

History

101-150

151-200

Hospitality & leisure management

25th

--

Law

101-150

--

Library & information management

18th

--

Linguistics

48th

--

Materials science

3rd

22nd

Mathematics

43rd

41st

Modern languages

51-100

--

Philosophy

--

--

Physics & astronomy

38th

51-100

Politics

51-100

--

Psychology

51-100

--

Social policy & administration

51-100

--

Sociology

101-150

--

Sports-related subjects

51-100

 

Statistics

=43rd

26th


HKUST

Location

Both these rival Asian universities are in huge, bustling cities, both of which are considered expensive to live in but offer great economic prosperity and job opportunities. NTU is found in the West Region of Singapore, adjacent to the town of Jurong West, and boasts the largest university campus in the city at 490 acres. HKUST meanwhile is set in the attractive Clear Water Bay area on a 150-acre campus less than 30 minutes’ drive from central Hong Kong.

Looking at the QS Best Student Cities 2018, Hong Kong has a slight lead, ranked 12th while Singapore is ranked 15th. When you consider the indicators used to compile the rankings, Singapore beats Hong Kong for desirability and employer activity, whereas Hong Kong achieves a much higher score for affordability (and a slightly stronger score for ‘student view’).

Rent in Hong Kong is often considered extortionate but traveling and eating out can be done at a low cost. Singapore was also ranked as the world’s most expensive city in The Economist's Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2018. This might sound alarming, but if you take tuition fees into account, both Singapore and Hong Kong are still more affordable than other popular study destinations. Both are also highly multicultural, with Hong Kong branded as "Asia's World City", so you should adapt easily to living here no matter where you’re from originally.

Student community

NTU has around 31,800 students, of which 8,074 are postgraduates, while HKUST is much smaller, with less than half the number of students NTU has at approximately 14,807 students (roughly two-thirds of whom are undergraduates). There’s no data for the number of international students at NTU, but at HKUST there were 5,060 as of September 2017, which is 34 percent of the total number, and the university also receives a stronger score than NTU for its percentage of international students.

Tuition fees

Tuition fees at both NTU and HKUST vary depending on your study level, subject and other factors – at NTU, fees are affected by whether students are in receipt of the MOE Tuition Grant. These grants, offered by the Ministry of Education, can help both domestic and international students cover a significant amount of their tuition costs, in exchange for agreeing to work for a Singaporean company for at least three years after graduating (or five or six years for medicine and dentistry graduates). The table below gives you an idea of how the most recent figures for tuition fees at each university compare.

Annual international tuition fees at NTU and HKUST in the 2018/2019 academic year

 

NTU

 

HKUST

 

Undergraduate (without the MOE Grant)

S$31,970-36,830 (~US$23,665-27,260) for most courses.

HK$140,000 (~US$17,840) for most courses.

Undergraduate (with the MOE Grant)

S$17,550-20,100 (~US$13,000-14,900) for most subjects.

N/A: no MOE Grant in Hong Kong

Graduate

MOE-Grant master’s degree fees range from S$19,250 (~US$14,260) up to S$33,600

 (~US$24,900) for most subjects.

Graduate students without the MOE Grant pay at least S$30,100 (~US$22,430) per year.

Varies between subjects, for example:

MSc in Electrical Engineering: HK$140,000 (~US$17,840)

MA in Social Science: HK$115,000 (~US$14,650).

Financial aid

NTU and HKUST each offer a range of financial aid options to help students fund their studies. For example, at NTU, loans, bursaries and scholarships are available, and the university has a calculator which students can use to determine their annual financial need. Scholarships offered by NTU include the Nanyang Scholarship for outstanding undergraduate students of any nationality, the Nanyang President's Graduate Scholarship, which seeks to encourage graduates to study a PhD at NTU, and the NTU Research Scholarship for prospective local or international PhD students.

Meanwhile, HKUST’s Scholarships and Financial Aid Office (SFAO) should be students’ main port of call in searching for financial assistance at the university, with a range of scholarships, bursaries and loans available. Students can use the university’s scholarship search tool to find scholarship options relating to their subject and study level, with 145 available at the time of writing. Students could also research their eligibility for a HKSAR Government Scholarship – 86 of these were awarded in the 2016/17 academic year. PhD students could apply for the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS).

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This article was originally published in September 2014. It was last updated in June 2018 to incorporate the latest ranking results.

Asya Y, Grace C & 47 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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