Ruth’s Rankings News Flash! 2018-3: Top News from THE and QS updates

  • Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is THE’s best Young University;
  • Malaysia adds four universities to the QS 2019 World Rankings

(16 June 2018) During the past few weeks, Times Higher Education released updated rankings piecemeal, in preparation for its September to October release of its  2019 world rankings. At the same time, QS rolled out its 2019 World Rankings. For each update, I looked for changes in methodology or any notable changes in rankings.


THE Young Universities 2018

Unlike some of THE’s other rankings, there is at least a guarantee that the rankings will change as young universities become middle aged. We covered the young university rankings in depth in Ruth’s Rankings 25, April 2017.

From 100 in 2012 to 200 in 2017, there are now 250 Young universities ranked in 2018. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is number one for the first time.

Fifty five  countries are represented, up from 48 in 2017. The UK is most represented with 31, but none are in the top 40. Australia leads the Asia-Pacific region with 22 followed by Taiwan with eleven, Japan with nine, South Korean  and Malaysia with seven. Hong Kong  has three, China has two, and Singapore and Thailand each have one. The U.S. has six. Click here for methodology.  See Table 1 for tops in the World and in Asia-Pacific.

The 2018 Young rankings include generational rankings. The leaders in Asia for each generation are:

  • Generation X (1968 – 1985) :  Korea Advanced Institute of Science (KAIST), founded 1971
  • Generation Y (1986 – 1999): Top ranked overall Hong Kong UST, founded 1991
  • Millennials (2000-  ):  Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (Korea), founded 2009 and making its first appearance in these rankings.

On their 51st birthdays, universities are eligible for inclusion in the Golden Age, group, this year from 1945 – 67. The number of ranked Golden agers increased from 100 in 2017 to 200 in 2018. Top ranked is the University of California San Diego followed by Australian National University and Chinese University of Hong Kong as number three. Japan has the largest contingent with 28, followed by the UK with 23.

THE Reputation Rankings 2018

Last June, Ruth’s Rankings 27  analyzed reputation rankings and their impact on overall world rankings.  Little has changed. Nine of the top ten in the world are the same as last year and the top eight are in the same order. Nine of the top ten in the Asia Pacific are also the same with some difference in order. The most noticeable change in reputation is Nanyang Technological University going from the 81 to 90 range to 51 to 60. The most noticeable differences are between the Asian universities’ reputation rankings and their world rankings.  See Table 2. Note the world scores. Number one Harvard has a score of 100 and number 22 ETH Zurich has a score of 16.6. Only the top 50 receive scores.

THE International Student Rankings 2018

I also checked the list of top 200 universities for international students, based on the proportion of international students as reported by the university. 72 of the universities are from the UK.  English speaking countries make up about 75% of the list. Hong Kong has six and Singapore has two. China and Taiwan have one each. Two schools from the UAE are in the top four, the American University of Sharjah, ranked in the range 601-800 in THE’s 2018 World Ranking and the University of Sharjah, ranked 801-1000.  The highest ranked from  East Asia is Hong Kong University.  Both Singaporean Universities and five of the Hong Kong universities are in the top 100.  The United States has 27 universities but only one in the top 50, Carnegie Mellon, which also has a campus in Qatar. Japan is not on the list.  What is notable is that six of the top 10 are Young universities. See Table 3. Table 3

NOTE:  Times Higher Education limits the number of articles that can be read in a month. By registering, you can read a couple more.

QS 2019 World Rankings

The 2019 QS World University rankings  includes 1,000 universities. The methodology has remained the same since 2015. The world’s top 10 are the same as last year, with a couple of changes in order. Seven of the top 10 are the same as in 2004 . Five of the top 10 are from the United States, four from the United Kingdom and one from Switzerland.  See Table 4 for the Top 10 in the world. Table 4

In Asia, National University of Singapore rose from 15 to 11 in 2019 while Nanyang Technological University  dropped from 11 to 12. Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea have two each.  Eight of the top ten are the same as in 2004 as shown in Table 5.

19 Asia-Pacific countries have at least one university in the rankings.  Vietnam made its first appearance. India added five universities with ten in the bottom range of 801-1000. Japan also has 10 in the bottom range. Malaysia gained four with one to the top 100. Singapore and Hong Kong, with a limited number of ranked institutions have the highest percent in the top 100. We talk about the growth of China, and they only have two more universities in the top 200 than in 2004.  Asia-Pac overall has fewer than 20% more universities in the top 200 then 2004. See Table 6.


From the perspective of an author trying to find a story or an institution aspiring to be at the top of the world, there is little room for change at the top of the overall rankings, especially as methodologies have become more stable.  On the other hand, I am suspicious when I see rapid changes year on year and go back to check the underlying scores, and data if it is available.  However, I will keep reporting on the updates.

The next post will be on Reuters updated list of Most Innovative universities. This has taken me into the world of  lists of technologically ready countries and patents and a new feature of U-Multirank.