Asia University Rankings 2022: playing to strengths

Asia’s major higher education systems still largely focus on the sciences, according to THE data

June 1, 2022
Illustration to represent quantum physics
Source: iStock

View the THE Asia University Rankings 2022 results

The below charts show the subject focus of four major higher education systems in Asia, and their strengths and weaknesses when compared with institutions across the whole of the continent.

The radar charts reveal that China’s system has the greatest subject breadth, with the majority of institutions having sufficient publication and staff numbers in the areas of physical sciences, engineering, computer science, life sciences, business and economics, and social sciences to be ranked in those subjects. In fact, in several of those areas, Chinese universities are over-represented when compared with the global average.

However, as with the other three nations spotlighted, few Chinese universities have significant outputs in arts and humanities, education, psychology or law.

Asia University Rankings 2022: results announced

Elsewhere, India’s higher education institutions are even more concentrated in the areas of engineering and physical sciences, while Japan and Saudi Arabia are more focused on clinical and health subjects than their local and global counterparts.

Asia rankings 2022 radar chart

The heat maps (below) provide a more detailed view of how these subject specialisms play out in terms of performance at the regional level.

China’s universities generally outperform those in the rest of the continent in most subjects, particularly when it comes to their citation impact and industry income. Its main weakness is international outlook, as well as research environment for some arts and social sciences subjects.

India shows the opposite trend, with its universities underperforming regionally in most areas. However, there are a small number of bright spots in the areas of citation impact and teaching environment for certain subjects.

The performances of Japan and Saudi Arabia are more mixed, and the heat maps clearly show how the systems have very different strengths and weaknesses. Japan performs best for teaching and research environment in most subjects, which may reflect the strong reputation of many of its universities. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s main strengths are international outlook and citation impact – two of Japan’s relative weaknesses.

Asia rankings 2022 heatmaps

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