Student and Graduate Publishing

The Latest World Top 50 Under 50

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 12:27

The QS World University Rankings has released its latest rankings for the top 50 universities in the world under the age of 50. Despite all being established very recently, many of the universities listed have been making their recent presence known on the world stage, with the top spot being occupied by Nanyang Technological University in Singapore for the past three years. While the purpose of the table is to celebrate the very best of the youngest universities worldwide, it is interesting to note the 2018 edition of the table has a significant prominence of technology based universities as the digital era continues to prevail in the developed world. As seen from the top 10 section of the rankings, the Asia-Pacific region is also increasingly challenging Euro-American dominance on the international university plain. The top 10 for 2018 is as follows:




Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)


The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


KAIST – Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology


City University of Hong Kong


Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea (POSTECH)


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Aalto University, Finland


University of Technology, Sydney, Australia


CentraleSupélec, France


Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

Taking note of NTU’s three-year reign at the top of the 50 under 50 ranks, the university has also recently secured 11th place in the overall world university rankings, a milestone for a university so young in experience. After only being officially established in 1991 since merging with the National University of Singapore in 1980, the institute now has over 33,000 students. Its medical school was also jointly set up by Imperial College London, giving it sound links to reputable European resources and allowing it to keep pace with the best. Particularly keen to forge strong links with western universities, NTU has been recently identified for its strength in commitment to studying abroad as it pushes to keep up with standards of study in the Western world. At present, it maintains one of its key goals to be ensuring 80% of its students have at least one overseas study experience. 

Interestingly this year the British representatives have slipped from 2 to 1 in the top 50 under 50, with Oxford Brookes now the only university making the top 50 at joint 41st place as other British universities surpass 50 years old. Impressively it was only in 1970 that Oxford Brookes officially became the Oxford Polytechnic University, although it has origins that trace back to the founding of the Oxford School of Arts in 1865. Making significant gains in recent years, Brookes boasts one of the largest schools of Architecture in Britain and in 2003 became the first university in the world to be coined with Fairtrade status. Outside of the top 50 and continuing to the top 100, the University of Limerick based in the Republic of Ireland is also of notable footing. In less than 30 years (having been established in 1989) it sits comfortably in the top 100 universities under 50 years old and currently has over 2,400 international students. 

Given that the top six positions are held by universities on the eastern side of the world, it is clear that Asia is on the rise as it reaps the rewards of continued heavy investment in their education systems. This being said, experts have noted the population of Asia-Pacific universities in the top 50 under 50 table may continue to rise as Euro-American universities age beyond the criteria necessary to be considered for this ranking. 

- By Emily Kong