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Top Three Universities for Engineering and Technology

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Updated Mar 05, 2016
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TopUniversities.com reveals three of the world’s most exciting universities for engineering and technology subjects – and no, they’re not in the US or UK.

Admittedly, the subject rankings for engineering and technology continue to be dominated by universities in the US and UK – as do all the categories in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

But, these two higher education heavyweights aside, the top entries in this year’s engineering and technology tables go to institutions in Switzerland, Singapore and Japan.

Spotlight on... Japan’s University of Tokyo

The most striking movement at the top of the civil and structural engineering ranking is the University of Tokyo’s leap from eighth to second place.

This is the highest position reached by any university outside of the US and UK in any of the subjects ranked this year. (The closest any other comes is the National University of Singapore, which is third for both pharmacy and media studies.)

In fact, the University of Tokyo is now in the world top ten for all four of the fields of engineering ranked – civil, chemical, mechanical and electrical.

Fellow Japanese institution, Kyoto University, is also on the rise. It’s now ninth in civil engineering, 15th in chemical engineering, and 14th in mechanical engineering.

But while Tokyo and Kyoto are leading the way, they’re certainly not the only emerging Japanese contenders in this field. Across the four engineering subjects, Japan has between nine and twelve entries in each top 200.

Across all of these, there is only one instance where a Japanese university has not gone up in the ranking (in electrical engineering, Kyoto University has fallen from joint 42nd to 44th).

Spotlight on... Switzerland’s ETH Zurich

Another rare top-five entry from outside the US and UK appears in the chemical engineering table, where Switzerland’s ETH Zurich has climbed from 11th to fourth.

ETH Zurich has a strong focus on the ‘STEM’ subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), and scores well across all these fields.

It makes the world top ten for mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics, environmental science and computer science, and is just outside the top ten for mathematics, materials science and civil engineering.

Anders Hagström, ETH Zurich’s director of international educational affairs, says that while the largest number of world-leading universities is still in the US, the higher education landscape is certainly changing – with developments in Asia among the most anticipated.

His advice for prospective science and technology students is that university rankings are useful – but it pays to do your own research too. “There are many factors to consider regarding the university (size, cost, resources, infrastructure, faculty), the location (language, culture, environment), and prospects after graduation (economy, employment prospects).

Spotlight on... Singapore’s National University of Singapore

The third ‘one to watch’ this year in engineering and technology subjects is the National University of Singapore (NUS). In computer science, NUS has climbed to ninth place, in chemical engineering to seventh, and in civil engineering to fifth.

It’s also fifth in mechanical engineering, and just one place outside the top ten for electrical engineering.

Just as Japan’s University of Tokyo is closely followed by Kyoto University, ETH Zurich and NUS each have a country-mate close behind them in the engineering and technology rankings.

For Switzerland, this ‘dream-team’ pairing is completed by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and for Singapore by Nanyang Technological University – which was ranked fourth in the new QS Top 50 Under 50 this year.

Whereas Switzerland and Japan have been established leaders in higher education for some time, Singapore is one of the world’s new and emerging HE hubs.

The strong performance of NUS and NTU in 2012’s subject rankings suggests that high levels of government investment are continuing to pay off – bringing the nation one step closer to its aim of becoming a ‘global schoolhouse’.

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