21 July 2019
Four local universities -- HKU, HKUST, CUHK and CityU -- have made it to the global top 50 on the latest QS list. PolyU is also among the top 100. Photo: HKEJ
Four local universities -- HKU, HKUST, CUHK and CityU -- have made it to the global top 50 on the latest QS list. PolyU is also among the top 100. Photo: HKEJ

Four HK universities in global top 50: QS survey

Up to four Hong Kong universities are in the world top 50 in the latest rankings by London-based higher education consulting firm Quacquarelli Symonds.

Two young local institutions, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), founded in 1991, and the City University of Hong Kong (CityU), founded in 1984, have edged into the world’s elite league, in 30th and 49th spots, respectively.

Other local universities also scored well. University of Hong Kong was ranked 26th worldwide, ahead of several other prestigious rivals such as the University of California, Berkley (27), University of Toronto (31), UCLA (33), London School of Economics and Political Science (35), Peking University (38) and University of Washington (61).

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) came in 46th spot.

And for the first time ever, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University has broken into the global top 100 with a quantum leap of 16 spots to 95th, bringing the total number of Hong Kong institutions in the world top 100 to five.

What is even more impressive is that two of the schools — HKUST and CityU — are under the age of 35.

“This year’s results continue to demonstrate that young, well-run institutions have the capacity and capability to disrupt the status quo. Of Hong Kong’s five top-100 universities, three are under fifty years of age,” said Ben Sowter, Head of Research at QS.

“Six of Hong Kong’s seven universities have improved their scores for QS’s Academic Reputation metric, a measure of teaching and research quality at a particular university.

“HKUST is now one of the world’s top 50 research institutions, according to QS’s Citations per Faculty metric. It scores 87.7/100 for this indicator,” the company said in a press release.

Hong Kong’s success is also based on high recorded levels of internationalization. Every single one of the territory’s seven ranked universities scores above 99/100 for QS’s International Faculty Ratio metric. However, this is predominantly a result of mainland Chinese academics operating in Hong Kong.

QS also found that the division between public and private institutions remains large, in particular in Hong Kong. None of the city’s privately-funded universities are ranked this year once again.

Tsinghua, 25th, is the highest-ranking mainland university. Other major institutions across Asia also appeared in the top 100. They include University of Tokyo (28), Seoul National University (36), University of Sydney (50), and the National Taiwan University (76).

The full table can be viewed here and a guide to the methodology can be found here.

American and European institutions occupied the top 10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology retained its crown as the world’s No.1, followed by Stanford, Harvard, California Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Oxford, University College London, Imperial College London, University of Chicago and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich).

Also, Hong Kong institutions’ rise is somehow overshadowed by the stellar leap of two universities in Singapore. Nanyang Technological University pulled off an upset and came in 11th place, and the National University of Singapore, 15th, has consolidated its lead over HKU.

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