Six Malaysian universities, a record amount, are now included in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings’ top 500.
Universiti Malaya continued to hold the top spot as the nation’s best institution, rising from the 351-400 band in the 2018 rankings to the 251-300 band in the 2024 edition.
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, which shifted from the 401-500 band to the 301-350 band, is just behind.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) are the other four universities in the top 500.
While the other institutions moved up from the 601-800 band, UUM remained in the 401-500 range.
According to THE’s chief global affairs officer Phil Baty, nearly all of the top 10 institutions improved significantly, while Malaysian universities had considerable increases in the 2024 THE World University Rankings.
“The country, impressively, now has six universities in the top 500. Malaysian universities’ rapid trajectory up the rankings over the last five years has really captured international attention.
“Recently, Malaysian universities have been keen to build their international student and staff numbers to enhance their global footprint and build their global reputation, which is likely to result in even further improved performances in the rankings over the coming years. Malaysia is cementing its status as a major global education hub,” he added.
Twelve Malaysian institutions witnessed an improvement in their ranks, seven kept their positions, and one newcomer entered right into the top 1,500 band out of the 23 Malaysian universities that were ranked, up from 22 last year.
Universiti Putra Malaysia (501-600), Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Sunway University, and Universiti Tenaga Nasional (601-800), as well as Universiti Malaysia Sarawak and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (1,001-1,200), are the other Malaysian institutions that saw an improvement in their rankings.
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (1,001–1,200), Multimedia University, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (1,201–1,500), as well as Universiti Teknologi Mara and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (1501+), continue to hold their respective positions in addition to UUM.
Universiti Malaysia Perlis and newcomer Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (1,201-1,500), as well as Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (1,501+), also make the 20th year of the rankings.
18 performance factors, up from 13 last year, were used to evaluate research-intensive colleges for the rankings, which were broken down into five categories: education, research quality, research environment, international view, and industry.
Three of the four indicators investigated the calibre of the research, while one looked at the number of patents in the industrial pillar.
Malaysian universities performed well in both the studying abroad measure and the student-staff ratio categories.
Malaysian universities outperformed the global average in the international pillar, and their performance has been steadily increasing since 2021. Their performance has improved over time in the teaching and research pillars, but it has deteriorated in the industrial pillar.
In the 2024 edition, a record 1,904 universities from 108 different nations and regions were ranked.
For the eighth year in a row, Oxford University in the UK has held the top spot globally. Stanford University, the top-ranked university in the United States, came in second, followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, also in the US, in third.
China has the highest ranked institutions in Asia, which is the most represented continent with 737 participating universities. Additionally, it is the continent where education and research standards are rising the fastest.