Young Asian Universities Shine in QS Top 50 Under 50 | Top Universities

Young Asian Universities Shine in QS Top 50 Under 50

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated September 21, 2016 Updated September 21, 2016

This year’s QS Top 50 Under 50, published today, is headed by Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for the third consecutive year. NTU is immediately followed by five more young Asian universities – an unbroken sequence which testifies to the region’s success in developing world-leading institutions at high speed.

First developed in 2012, this annual list celebrates the world’s highest-performing universities under 50 years old, based on the latest edition of the QS World University Rankings®. It spotlights dynamic young institutions making rapid progress in the international league tables – and challenging those which have spent centuries cementing their positions at the top.

As well as providing a showcase for Asia’s fast-rising young universities, the list is also notable for a high concentration of institutions with a focus on science and technology. This is apparent within the top 10, and also further down the list. Australia’s RMIT University and Queensland University of Technology are both in the top 20, while Finland’s Tampere University of Technology climbs 18 places this year to place 30th, and South Korea’s Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology debuts in 35th.


Top Universities Under 50 Years Old

Based on the QS Top 50 Under 50 2016-2017


Institution Name

Country/ Territory

Position in QS World University Rankings®


Nanyang Technological University (NTU)




Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

Hong Kong



KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

South Korea



City University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong



Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)

South Korea



The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Hong Kong



Maastricht University

The Netherlands



University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)




Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona




University of Antwerp




Beyond the top 10, young Asian universities continue to feature prominently throughout the list. Malaysia and Hong Kong have four representatives each, while South Korea and Taiwan each make three appearances.

The most-featured country, however, is Australia, which claims 10 of the top-50 positions. Europe collectively accounts for 18 entries, including five Spanish universities, and two each for the UK and Finland. There are also representatives from Japan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Israel, Kazakhstan, Qatar and the US – showing a truly global spread of successful young institutions, in both established and emerging education hubs.

Alongside the Top 50 Under 50, the Next 50 Under 50 highlights the next set of ‘ones to watch’, ranked in groups of 10. New entrants this year include Singapore Management University (in the 51-60 band), Australia’s Central Queensland University (81-90), and Malaysia’s Universiti Teknologi Petronas (91-100).


The full results of both the Top 50 and Next 50 Under 50 are published online, and can be sorted to show each institution’s year of establishment and position in the latest QS World University Rankings. Additional information and direct comparisons of featured universities are available using the new comparison tool on the table; to access this function, simply register for free site membership.

This article was originally published in September 2016 .

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Written by

The former editor of, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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