The first decade of the new millennium has brought with it some dramatic changes in global education. Asia’s emergence as a global economic power and advances in technology and the internet has seen the popularity of Asian universities rocket among both Asian and international students.

Economic development in Asia has brought with it more jobs, more prosperity and an insatiable thirst for knowledge among young people. For decades, students from all over Asia have been traveling in their thousands to the USA and Europe in search of a better education. Today, more and more Asian students are staying at home as they know they can get an excellent level of education in their home countries.

In fact, in many ways the situation has reversed. Asian universities are becoming an increasingly attractive option for students from other parts of the world. There are many reasons for this. Not least, Asia offers lower living costs and favorable tuition fee than many other parts of the world. Also, the emergence of Asia as a major power in the global economy means that the need to understand Asia, both culturally and economically, has never been greater. 

Asian universities continue to climb the global university rankings each year. Here is our list of 10 of the top international universities in Asia.





Yeungnam University, South Korea
Yeungnam University is a major educational hub in South Korea. Its main campus is in the city of Gyeongsan (a major college town), with satellites in nearby Daegu. More than 25,000 students are enrolled here, accounting for more than one out of five university students in Gyeongsan.  Beyond its academic offerings, YU is also well-known for the Yeungnam University Museum, which explores the cultures of ancient Korea. Its folklore park and garden, complete with seven traditional houses, is as much a draw for tourists as for students and their families. 

National Chengchi University, Taiwan

National Chengchi University is a prestigious academic institute in Taiwan. It’s well known for its liberal arts and social science departments as well as its on-the-job MBA programs. In keeping with its motto of “Humanism, Innovation, Globalization”, the university is well-networked and boasts several international affiliates and bilateral programs.  More than 15,000 students study here today, a little over half of whom are at the undergraduate level. The university continues to garner international praise and is increasingly seen as one of the leading institutes in Asia for studying business administration. 

National University of Singapore

Whether calculated by enrollment or courses offered, the National University of Singapore is the largest university in the country. It’s also the oldest, and it consistently ranks among the best educational institutions in all of Asia. Today, the National University of Singapore welcomes more than 30,000 students representing 100 countries. The central campus is at Kent Ridge, located south of central Singapore, where it carries out important research and applies a unique Asian perspective to traditional and cutting-edge courses of study. 

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

In its earliest days, Nanyang Technological University was launched in a bid to provide young Chinese in Singapore with access to higher education, but it quickly grew into a multi-faceted, research-intensive university that caters for an astonishingly diverse student body.  Located on Singapore’s Yunnan Garden campus, Nanyang Technological University hosts nearly 29,000 students and operates the biggest on-campus housing program in Singapore. Today, NTU is benefiting from its ties to other universities across the world, and it’s stepping out as a global leader in science and technology fields.

University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines (UP) is the only national university in the Philippines, and it has more ‘Centers of Excellence and Development’ than any other Philippines university. More than 50,000 students are enrolled in the network of UP programs, with roughly half of them on the flagship campus at Diliman. The university enjoys solid international standing as a member of the ASEAN-European University Network (ASEA UNINET), and it’s one of only two universities in the archipelago that belongs to the ASEAN University Network.

Mahidol University, Thailand

Mahidol University is one of the most prestigious institutes of higher education in Thailand. It was founded well over a century ago and has gone on to be a leading school of medicine that enjoys plenty of patronage from the royal family. Taken together, the university’s three faculties of medicine produce upwards of 1,000 medical doctors each year. The university has much more than medical sciences on offer today, including comprehensive faculties of liberal arts and social sciences along with an expanding international school that garners more accolades each year. 

National Taiwan University, Taiwan

National Taiwan University (NTU) is a national co-educational university located in Taipei City, Taiwan. Its main campus is set upon 1,086,167 square meters in Taipei’s Da’an District. In addition, the university has six other campuses in Taiwan, occupying a total of 345,830,000 square meters. Currently the University consists of 11 colleges, 54 departments, 96 graduate institutes and four research centers, and offers diplomas in over 100 fields of study such as Liberal Arts, Science, Social Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Bio-Resources and Agriculture, Management, College of Public Health, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Law, Life Science, Veterinary Medicine and Dentistry . 

Yonsei University, South Korea

First established in 1885 by Christian missionaries, Yonsei University is the oldest private university in Korea and is widely regarded as one of the top three comprehensive universities in the country. Yonsei’s main campus is spacious and picturesque, located minutes away from the economic, political, and cultural centres of Seoul’s metropolitan downtown. Yonsei has 3,500 distinguished faculty members who are conducting cutting-edge research across all academic disciplines. There are 18 graduate schools, 22 colleges and 133 subsidiary institutions hosting a selective pool of students from around the world.

University of Hong Kong

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) is the oldest tertiary institution in Hong Kong. HKU has nurtured the largest number of research postgraduate students in HK, making up approximately 10 percent of the total student population. All 10 faculties and departments provide teaching and supervision for research (MPhil and PhD) students with administration undertaken by the Graduate School. Due to this emphasis on research, including successful efforts during the SARS crisis in 2003, many of the university’s laboratories have earned the status of “State Key Laboratory”.

Seoul National University, South Korea

Seoul National University (SNU) was founded in 1946 and, as the first national university in South Korea, it served as a model for the many national and public universities in the country. SNU has been recognized for its leading role in Korean academia, and entry into the university is viewed as a ticket to success. Throughout its history, SNU has been seen as the most eminent of all post-secondary educational institutions in South Korea. Regarded as the ‘most renowned’ university by the general public, it recruits the cream of high school students.