NUS and NTU are top two Asian universities again in subject rankings

NUS had 14 subjects ranked in the top 10 and 40 in the top 50 in the ranking, while NTU had five subjects in the top 10.

Sandra Davie

Sandra Davie

The Straits Times


The National University of Singapore had 14 subjects ranked in the top 10 and 40 in the top 50, while the Nanyang Technological University had five subjects in the top 10. PHOTOS: ST FILE

March 24, 2023

SINGAPORE – The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have again emerged as the top universities in Asia based on global rankings by subjects.

The 2023 instalment of the QS World University Rankings by Subject ranked 91 programmes at five Singaporean universities. The league tables were released on Wednesday.

NUS had 14 subjects ranked in the top 10 and 40 in the top 50. Among the subjects in the top 10 were history of art, civil and structural engineering, and geography.

NTU had five subjects in the top 10, including materials science, communications and media studies, and three engineering disciplines.

In the 2022 subject rankings, NUS and NTU had 23 courses – 16 from NUS and seven from NTU – that made it to the global top 10 lists.

Singapore Management University (SMU) achieved two top 50 rankings – business and management studies (ranked 43) and accounting (49).

The Singapore University of Technology and Design was ranked for three subjects. Architecture and art and design were both placed in the 151-200 band.

The rankings, compiled by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, are based on an analysis of more than 15,700 individual academic programmes at  1,594 universities in 93 countries and territories, including 388 universities in Asia.

In a repeat of the 2022 rankings, NUS and NTU ranked higher than Chinese, Japanese and Hong Kong universities, in terms of the number of top 10 programmes.

However, QS cautioned Singapore universities on the decline in rankings for 49 of their 91 programmes that were evaluated.

QS senior vice-president Ben Sowter said: “Singapore’s universities have become used to operating at the very top of the global higher education ecosystem, which is both a testament to its success but also exposes it to the same vulnerabilities faced by well-established elite tertiary education sectors the world over – that of maintaining exceptional quality in the face of rising global competition – often posed by emergent economies looking to follow in its footsteps.”

Globally, universities in the United States had the highest number of top 10 programmes (256), followed by the United Kingdom with 145 and Switzerland with 32.

Universities in the United States took the top spot in 32 subjects, with Harvard University ranking first in 14, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology claiming the lead in 11.

British universities topped 14 subject tables, with Oxford and Cambridge leading in four and two subjects, respectively.

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