The National University of Singapore has held on to its place as the leading academic institution in Asia for a third consecutive year.

The university fought off competition from over 350 institutions after improving its teaching and research environments, achieving a higher citation impact and securing higher levels of income.

Asia University Rankings 2018
Image: Times Higher Education

That is according to the Times Higher Education (THE) Asia University Rankings 2018, which assesses institutions on 13 performance indicators, including their research influence, gender split and international outlook.

Two students from the National University of Singapore.
Image: REUTERS/Edgar Su

Meanwhile, several Chinese universities have risen up this year’s rankings, with Tsinghua University overtaking Peking University to claim second position overall.

According to THE, Tsinghua University’s improved performance is thanks largely to its superior publication output in comparison to Peking University.

In total, China boasts 63 universities in the Asia rankings. Hong Kong, which is designated as a special administrative region in China, counts three universities in the top 10, including the University of Hong Kong (4th), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (=5th), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (7th).

However, it is Japan that boasts the largest number of universities in the table, with an impressive 89 institutions making the list. Highest-placed among these is the University of Tokyo, which fell one place to 8th.

And while Kyoto University falls just outside the top 10, in 11th place, its world ranking is up from joint 91st in 2017 to joint 74th this year.

Elsewhere in the Asia rankings, South Korea is represented by Seoul National University in 9th place and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in 10th.

On the world stage

Although a number of Asian institutions rank highly in THE’s World University Rankings 2018, none makes the top 20.

Interestingly, in the world rankings Peking University (=27th) remains ahead of Tsinghua (30th), which THE attributes to performance indicators being “recalibrated” for the Asia-specific table.

The United Kingdom is home to the two best universities in the world: the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, respectively.

Asia University Rankings 2018
Image: Times Higher Education

However, the United States dominates the global list, with six of its universities placed in the top 10. Of these, the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University were both ranked third overall, while the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was 5th.