Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Latest Global University Rankings

It's almost two weeks ago when the latest updates on the global university rankings compiled by Shanghai JiaoTung University (SJTU) was released, but I thought it'd still be worth a mention here.

Obviously, as per previous years' compilations, no Malaysian universities made it to the Top 500 list, despite obviously being considered. There has been enough said about it such that I do not think that I want to go into the reasons for it in this post. I've mentioned before that I believe the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) rankings overrates regional universities while the SJTU version overrates Western universities based on their respective methodologies. Hence, in my humble opinion, Universiti Malaya (UM), for example gets overrated in THES rankings (yes, even at 169th) while it's clearly underrated in the SJTU version - I'd like to think that UM should easily get into the Top 500 of the world. For a critique on Malaysia and SJTU rankings, feel free to have a read at Sdr Lim Kit Siang's post.

Anyway, back to the latest rankings table. The methodology employed by the researchers at SJTU dictates that the rankings of the relevant universities are unlikely to be changed by much from year to year. This is simply because the number of new publications as well as new winners of Nobel Prizes are simply miniscule compared to the historical quantities and winners, such that the impact is likely to be minimal to the rankings.

As a result, the only change in Top 20 universities of the world between 2005 and 2006 is Tokyo University and John Hopkins University swapping spots at 19th and 20th respectively.

The next change is actually at position 31st, where Duke University improved by one spot, swapping with Northwestern University.

Overall, the biggest improvement was recorded by Hebrew University Jerusalem, 18 spots to 60th and University Maryland (College Park), 10 spots to 37th. Three universities made it into the Top 100 for the first time - University Iowa (95), Nagoya University (98) and Arizona State University, Tempe (100), all previously ranked 101-150 in the prior year.

The biggest drops within the Top 100 were recorded by Indiana University (Bloomington) by 10 spots to 97th as well as Rochester and Rice University by 9 spots to 74th and 84th placing respectively. Two universities dropped out of the Top 100 rankings - University Vienna and Tufts University from 85th and 100th into the 102-150 bracket.

It is also interesting to note that there are some top universities, both reputable and ranked highly in the THES rankings which were placed out of the Top 100 as well such as Dartmouth, National University of Singapore as well as Sydney University placed within the 102-150 category. As mentioned in the presentation by the SJTU researchers, it was stated that universities established after 1911 had a distinct disadvantage in the rankings system employed.

All in all, not particularly exciting, unlike the THES version of the rankings which obviously stirred a fair bit more controversy for the right or wrong reasons.

Also of note, Newsweek decided to compose their own set of global top 100 universities based on the data and results compiled by both THES as well as SJTU. The SJTU results formed a 50% weightage while the THES version formed 40%. The balance of the 10% comprises of the volume of books in the university's library holdings. (Do we foresee Malaysian universities making a sudden splurge for books in their respective libraries? :-p).

The universities which made it to the Top 20 are:
1. Harvard University
2. Stanford University
3. Yale University
4. California Institute of Technology
5. University of California at Berkeley
6. University of Cambridge
7. Massachusetts Institute Technology
8. Oxford University
9. University of California at San Francisco
10. Columbia University
11. University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
12. University of California at Los Angeles
13. University of Pennsylvania
14. Duke University
15. Princeton Universitty
16. Tokyo University
17. Imperial College London
18. University of Toronto
19. Cornell University
20. University of Chicago
Also in this hybrid list, both Singapore's established universities made it to the top 100 - National University of Singapore at 36 and Nanyang Technological University at 71.

Needless to say, we do not expect any Malaysian universities in this list for the next 5 years or so. If however, we do appear in the Top 100 of any of the above lists (without non-bumiputeras being classified as foreigners) within the next 10 years, then I will actually be very happy indeed.

The new THES rankings table is expected to be released in approximately 2 months time, and we'll get to see if the local Malaysian universities fare any better. At the very least, we won't get the (former) vice-chancellor of our premier university asserting that we "improved" despite dropping 80 spots in rankings :-).


Anonymous said...

Talking about books which are important fodder for the University's students brain, a trip to UM library would likely be like visiting a museum.

The most recent books are not there. The most recent editions too are almost not there.

Do not be surprised if you can still find science and technology books which you read during your undergraduate days THIRTY YEARS ago are still on the racks.

Frankly I think it is not how many number of books the libray has which is important, but the latest copies and editions. In science, a lot of things can happen in FIVE years.

I am appaled to see students bringing books which look like Darwin's original book " Origin of Species" to class.

That is why we sadly see UM only improves in FORM but NOT in SUBSTANCE.

As a reasonable person and realizing how hopeless we are in the international academic scene, we make our own University listings and not to depend on THES and SJTU rankings. They are "biased in their methodology of deciding which universities make the the top 100 or 500.

We in Malaysia can make our own Barisan Nasional Universities Rankings or BNUR which would be more superior than THES or SJTU, after all now we have so MANY universities. Then we will have UM perpetually the number one university in terms of:

1 The most number of Professor Kangkongs, Bayam and Sawi
2 The University with the most number of Bill Boards, Buntings and Banners
3 Faculty Engineering UM with the most number of signs or direction boards
4 The most number of outstanding lecturers such as WS, and KP

Anonymous said...

..3 Degrees ask " when will i see you again ? " re UM in world rankings..

..obviously it's not now ..but can it be ever?

..of course, from a distance..it's easy to talk ..scratching the surface.. but where is the execution?

..the idea of forever wanting a stronger University System is not new..but who what where and how are the execution process?

..really appreciate the fantastic posting..

..gonna re-read this informative educational posting and the leads / links..TQ

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

to anon. 05:11:45,

why ?????!!!!

I think IGS run the CSU, (Aust)MBA & some other postGrad. prog. and is an associate co. of HELP U College.. :)

Anonymous said...

With such poor rankings, it will be a miracle if Malaysia become a education hub with international students wanting to study here...

Maybe those dumber than the Malaysians will swarm here....

Anonymous said...

I met a friend who is a chemist yesterday. He told me he interviewed a few candidates from local universities for the position of a chemist in his company.

He was so dissappointed with the local graduates in chemistry who can't even explain which hole the water for cooling enters the condenser!

What a shame to our education system! Dont our universities teach the students anything? What are the lecturers and professors teaching them?

After 1980 approximately the quality of our education in the universities has gown down the drain! I shudder to think what are education system will be in the future or even those private universities in our countries will be worst.

Come on VCs, Ministers in Education or AAB, please do something...PLEASE! The fiasco between the Jasin MP and the Customs is nothing compared with the tamperings in our education system

Anonymous said...

Too much social engineering and messing with race issues until education standards have taken a back seat.

Anonymous said...

Tony, on your comment that University of Sydney wasn't in the Top 100 of SJTU's rankings bcause it was formed post-1911, you're mistaken there.

The University of Sydney was actually Australia's first university, formed in 1850. Not sure about NUS or Dartmouth's age though.

Btw, I disagree with the rankings placing USYD, NUS and Dartmouth out of the Top 100. These are reputable unis, which should have been ranked higher. Especially Dartmouth.

Incidentally, why is Brown University, an Ivy League university, also not at least in the Top 50?

Anonymous said...

Tony, your blog here is achieving respect and credibility. People look to it for important information and development in the education indistry in the country.

I would appreciate if you can give a full write up on the state of IPSA or private universities and colleges in malaysia esp with respect to the following points:

1 Are their degrees really good and recognised?
2 Like Monash and Nottingham campuses in Malaysia, are really their courses identical to those conducted in Australian camous and UK. Or is it only their paper degrees are identical?
3 How are their facilities and quality of teaching staff? Are they all PhD holders in their own respected fields?
and many many more
4 Are their professional courses such as Archirtecture recognised by RIBA? and PAM?

Anonymous said...

i'm starting to think the degree of biasness when they compile the list. wat happened to the university of melbourne?

Anonymous said...

Current rankings of Malaysian Universities:


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

How shall the China female students' nationals be protected ?

Anonymous said...

@ Apoc

This ranking focuses a lot more on graduate school education. Dartmouth and Brown are very undergraduate-focused, especially Dartmouth which only has a few PhD programs. I'd say Dartmouth is the place to be for undergraduate education because the professors actually teach classes (not teaching assistants), the professors are extremely accessible, students don't have to compete with graduate students for research opportunities, a huge chunk of the school's resources are focused on the undergrads, etc. For example, first-year students in Dartmouth can actually be cast in main theater roles because they do not have to compete with graduate theater students. This is why you don't see liberal arts colleges on the list too; they absolutely do not have graduate programs. Williams, Swarthmore, Amherst, Middlebury, etc. are excellent schools, but they belong to a different ranking with a different methodology. Brown and Dartmouth too.

Anonymous said...

this is the current Malaysian university rankings 2009:
2. UPM
3. USM
4. UM
5. USM
6. UDM
7. UKM

Unknown said...

Hello All,

I am in the process of starting a Design Center in Malaysia focusing on Semiconductor IP Design. I would like to hire recent EE/CS graduates. So far, I have visited UTM in Johor Bahru.

What are some of the Universities in Malaysia that produce good EE/CS graduates? Is there a ranking based on EE/CS curriculum?



Anonymous said...

Are you ranking the university base on your own opinion or a real research??? How come USM appeared twice? And UDM is on the board??

Anonymous said...

According to non biased independent QS World ranking, Malaysian university ranking on faculty of medicine based strictly on merits entry qualification is as follows;
1. Aimst University
3. IMU
4. MU
5. UKM
6. USM
7. UiTM
Aimst entry qualification into 1st degree MBBS is the toughest with only 100+ places available for the more than 800 fighting foundation in science student yearly. Also Aimst has more than 60 JPA scholars selected from top SPM student which must have at least 9A+ in their SPM out of the maximum 10 subjects taken.
Whereas, public universities are definitely deteriorating as they pick up student from mostly easy entry qualification of the malaysian matriculation course. These public universities even absorbed student from government matric with 3Bs only.