Five Malaysian universities have made the top 400 in the prestigious QS World University Ranking 2014 survey.
The country’s top university, Universiti Malaya (UM), is ranked at number 151, followed by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) at the 259th spot.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), which is based in Johor, is at number 294, improving over 60 places compared to last year.
Meanwhile, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) are ranked 309 and 376 respectively.
All five institutions improved on their rankings compared to last year.
In the survey last year, UM was ranked at 167th while UKM at 269th. UTM and USM were both at 355th and UPM was in the 411-420 ranking.
The criteria used by QS to rank the universities are academic reputation, employer reputation, student to faculty ratio, papers per faculty, citations per paper, internationalisation, and student exchange programmes.
The QS Rankings grades a total of 863 tertiary institutions out of over 3,000 that it assesses.
Universiti Teknologi Mara made the biggest jump, up from the 701-plus level to the 651-700 group.
However, the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) did not improve its position and remained in the 501-550 tier.
In a statement today on the latest QS World University Rankings, QS Quacquarelli Symonds said with the exception of IIUM, all the other universities had improved or remained stable in three out of the six ranking indicators.
The indicators were Academic Reputation, based on 63,676 academic responses and representing 40% of the weight; International Faculty which weights 5%; the research impact indicator; and Citation per Faculty which weights 20%.
“USM is the only institution that has improved across all six indicators,” the organisation that has been ranking universities in the world for a decade said.
However, Malaysian universities are still trailing top regional schools like the National University of Singapore (24th), University of Hong Kong (26th), Australian National University (27th), University of Tokyo (32th) and Seoul University (35th).
In the QS World University Rankings that emphasises high-impact scientific and technological research as the key driver of leadership, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA topped the table again for the third year. It is followed by the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), Imperial College London (UK), Harvard University (US), University of Oxford (UK), UCL (University College London) (UK), Stanford University (US), California Institute of Technology, (US), Princeton University (US) and Yale University (US).
MIT of the United States increased year-on-year citations per faculty by 14% while the University of Cambridge at second place
recorded an 11% increase and third-ranked Imperial College London reported a 14% increase.
The performance of Imperial College in citations per faculty helped it become the biggest climber in the top 10, leapfrogging Harvard University (fourth), Oxford University (fifth) and University College London (sixth) to rank second equal in the world, tied with the University of Cambridge.
The average increase in this dimension amongst the top 10 universities was 7%.
The California Institute of Technology (Caltech), a private research university in Pasadena, California maintained its position as the world’s top university for research citations.
Caltech was eighth in the top 10. Stanford University took seventh place while Princeton University and Yale University were at ninth and 10th place respectively.
Commenting on the ranking results in a statement from London, QS head of research Ben Sowter said: “In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding sources are placing greater emphasis on high-impact research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions.
“Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation. With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine,” he said.
The QS World University Rankings is one of the best-known and respected annual league tables of the top world universities.
It is compiled by the QS Intelligence Unit in close consultation with an international advisory board of leading academics.
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