Seoul National University came fourth in Asia, ahead of Beijing University in fifth and the University of Tokyo in ninth.
This is the fifth year the rankings have been released, and Korean universities’ have consistently improved their standing.
This year’s rankings evaluated 457 universities in 16 countries. It is the first time that five Korean universities were placed in the top 20. In 2009, three were included, and four in 2010 to 2012.
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) ranked sixth and seventh, and Yonsei University and Korea University came in 16th and 19th.
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was once again at the top, the same as last year, and National University of Singapore and University of Hong Kong shared second place. The Chinese University of Hong Kong shared seventh place with POSTECH, and Kyoto University was 10th.
Ben Sowter of QS said that the improvement of Korea’s top universities over the last several years along with that of Chinese universities has been “a topic of conversation around the world.”
The average ranking of SNU, KAIST, POSTECH, Yonsei University, and Korea University taken together was 18th in Asia in 2009 but it jumped to 10th this year.
While the global ranking of top Korean universities is soaring, the number of those in 100th to 200th place is dwindling. There were 44 Korean universities in the top 200 in 2009 but only 33 this year. The competitiveness of mid- to upper-middle ranked universities is evidently falling against those in other Asian countries.