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Top 10 Universities in Asia Under 50 Years Old

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The largest and most populous continent on Earth, Asia unsurprisingly has a large number of universities to choose from, with many included in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017. While many prestigious Asian universities date back to the 19th or early 20th century (if not before!), the region is also home to many fast-rising young institutions.

In fact, Asia boasts six uninterrupted places at the top of the QS Top 50 Under 50 2016-2017, which showcases the world’s top universities under 50 years old.

A total of 20 young universities in Asia are included in the Top 50 Under 50, more than any other region. This includes universities from countries to the far west of Asia – IsraelSaudi Arabia and Qatar. Out of all the Asian countries featured, Hong Kong and Malaysia each have the most entries (four each), with all of Hong Kong’s representatives appearing in the top 20.

Read on for an overview of the top 10 young universities in Asia this year, plus a quick look at the other Asian universities featured in the Top 50 Under 50...

1. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

 Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Ranked 1st in the Top 50 Under 50 for the third time in a row this year, Nanyang Technological University is also the highest ranked of these young Asian universities in the overall QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017, at 13th – just one place behind its older rival, National University of Singapore (NUS). Founded in 1991, NTU holds the largest university campus in Singapore. A research-intensive university, it’s considered particularly strong for its engineering programs.

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

 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST)

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) occupies second place in the Top 50 Under 50 this year. Like NTU, it was established in 1991, and has built up a strong reputation for innovation in its short period of operation. HKUST features at 36th in the 2016-2017 edition of the World University Rankings. Around 13,700 students are enrolled at HKUST, including over 4,700 from outside of Hong Kong.

Trying to decide between NTU and HKUST? Read a comparison of the two top young universities in Asia.

3. KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

 KAIST

Heading to South Korea for the next of the top young universities in Asia, KAIST - Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology is ranked 3rd in the QS Top 50 Under 50 and joint 46th in the overall QS World University Rankings. A public research university, KAIST was founded in 1971 and has more than 10,000 students. Its main campus is located in Daejeon in the city’s science and research hub, Daedeok Innopolis, a contender for the nickname ‘Asia’s Silicon Valley’.

4. City University of Hong Kong

 City University of Hong Kong

Ranked 4th in the Top 50 Under 50 and 55th in the world in the QS World University Rankings, the City University of Hong Kong was founded in 1984 (originally called the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong), and now has just over 20,000 students in 25 academic departments, including 5,300 international students. The university has a strong reputation for research, and for the pioneering work of its business school.

5. Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH)

 POSTECH

The South Korean Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) is ranked 5th in the Top 50 Under 50 and 83rd in the world this year. Established in 1986, it celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and in 2010 was the first South Korean institution to be officially labeled a bilingual campus. The university’s vast 378-acre ‘smart campus’ includes 72 state-of-the-art research centers, including the country’s only synchrotron radiation facility.

6. Hong Kong Polytechnic University

 Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The final of the uninterrupted run of Asian universities at the top of this year’s Top 50 Under 50 ranking, Hong Kong Polytechnic University is also ranked 111th in the world overall. Although it dates back to 1934 (when it was known as the ‘Government Trade School’) it didn’t gain full university status until 1994. It now has just under 30,000 students, and has developed 255 global connections with exchange partners across the world.

7. University of Tsukuba

 University of Tsukuba

Japan’s sole representative in the Top 50 Under 50, at 13th place, the University of Tsukuba is also featured at 225th in the overall world rankings. Founded in its current form in 1973, the university actually has roots going back to 1872. It’s located in the city of Tsukuba in the Ibaraki prefecture, which has its own Science City. It has a strong focus on internationalization, with over 300 global inter-university agreements.

8. National Taiwan University of Science and Technology

 National Taiwan University of Science and Technology

The highest-ranked university in Taiwan to appear in the Top 50 Under 50 (at 14th), the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (also called Taiwan Tech), has its main campus in capital city Taipei and was established in 1974. Another research-intensive university, it has four other campuses around Taiwan and around 9,860 students enrolled. Taiwan Tech is also featured at 243rd in the overall world rankings, up 17 places from the previous year.

9. Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

 Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)

Also featured among the top 10 young universities in Asia is Malaysia’s Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), ranked 17th in the Top 50 Under 50 this year. It made a good leap of 61 places in the latest QS World University Rankings, now featuring at 270th. Founded in its present form in 1973, UPM has a history going back to 1931, when it originated as a school of agriculture. It now has around 24,300 students, 4,686 of whom come from outside Malaysia.

10. Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)

 Hong Kong Baptist University

The final of the top 10 young Asian universities is another Hong Kong entrant, the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU), which features at 19th in the Top 50 Under 50 and joint 278th in the world in 2016-2017. HKBU is a publically funded university with a Christian heritage, and has its roots in the Hong Kong Baptist College (founded in 1956). It gained both its current name and full university status in 1994.

Other top young Asian universities

In addition to the universities listed above, a further 10 Asian institutions are featured in the QS Top 50 Under 50 2016-2017. Malaysia has three more entries, of which the highest-ranked is Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) at 25th. Also featured are Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz University (KAU, 23rd), Israel’s Ben Gurion University of The Negev (31st), Kazakhstan’s L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University (37th) and Qatar’s Qatar University (49th). 

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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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