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The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) beat the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to become the city’s top tertiary education institute.

The 2015 QS World University Rankings, published by British education company Quacquarelli Symonds, ranked HKUST at 28 – two spots ahead of HKU (30).

HKUST climbed 12 places from last year’s 40th to 28th, while HKU fell from 28th to 30th. Both schools were the only from Hong Kong to crack the top 50 on the ranking.

HKU had been slipping in the rank since 2011, sliding from 22 to 23 in 2012 and then to 26 in 2013.

Researchers measured universities in five areas including academic reputation,  employer reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, proportions of international faculty and proportions of international students constituted.

This year researchers added a new indicator, citations per faculty, which measures schools’ influence on academic research.

ALSO READ: CUHK graduates most popular among Hong Kong employers

“HKUST is very pleased that it rose 12 places higher to being ranked No 28 in the QS World University Rankings 2015-16 and also to be ranked the first in Hong Kong,” she said.

Ben Sowter, QS head of research told The Standard that HKUST outperforms HKU in international students, but the main change emerges from our newly balanced citations per faculty measure.

“In previous years, the existence of a medical school was a major advantage in our evaluation of research output versus medical research freely attracts high citation volumes.” he said.

Sowter also brushed aside speculation that HKU fell in the ranking because some of its faculty supports the Occupy Central movement.

Other universities in the city saw a rise in the ranking.

City University of Hong Kong improved significantly from 108th to 57th, while the The Hong Kong Polytechnic University rose from 162nd to 116th. The Hong Kong Baptist University climbed from 318th to 281st.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US was the top university in the world, followed by Harvard University. The University of Cambridge and Stanford University shared the third place.

Two Singaporean universities are the best in Asia, breaking into the top 15 for the first time.  National University of Singapore, ranked 12th worldwide and Nanyang Technological University was 13th.

Tsinghua University in Beijing is Asia’s third best at 25th.

An HKUST spokeswoman said the school’s dedication to excellence in education and research as an international university has gained global recognition.

The QS top 20 world universities:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

2. Harvard University

3. University of Cambridge

3. Stanford University

5. California Institute of Technology (CALTECH)

6. University of Oxford

7. UCL (University College London)

8. Imperial College London

9. Eth Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

10. University of Chicago

11. Princeton University

12. National University of Singapore (NUS)

13. Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

14. École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

15. Yale University

16. Johns Hopkins University

17. Cornell University

18. University of Pennsylvania

19  Australian National University (ANU)

19  Kings College London (KCL)

View the complete ranking: Top 800 universities


Image: Shutterstock

Are your Compensation & Benefits packages still competitive?
Hear from HR Leaders and senior Comp & Ben Specialists at Employee Benefits Asia

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