NST Infographics
(File pix) Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh. Pix by Fariz Iswadi Ismail
(File pix) UiTM vice-chancellor Professor Emeritus Hassan Said. Pix by Intan Nur Elliana Zakaria

IT’S the dawn of a new era for Malaysian higher education. Malaysian universities continue to improve in their world university rankings based on 46 subjects.

According to the seventh edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject recently released by Quacquarelli Symonds, our local universities now rank in the top 30 for three subjects; they were only ranked in the top 30 once in 2016.

Malaysian universities also made the top 50 12 times; they were only ranked in the top 50 three times in 2016’s edition.

The University of Malaya (UM) continues to be the best-performing institution with six subjects ranked in the top 50 worldwide.

Other local universities with subjects ranked in the top 50 are Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) for four of its courses, while Taylor’s University and International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) have one each.

This means that Malaysia now sees four of its universities offer at least one top-50 subject, compared to two universities in 2016 (see Infographic).

The latest list also shows that Malaysian universities are ranked in the top 100 52 times, which is double 2016’s total of 26 top-100 placements.

In total, 19 Malaysian universities are included at least once in this year’s QS World University Rankings by Subject, and at least one Malaysian university can be found in 36 of the 46 subject tables.

The best-ranked subject for a Malaysian university is 23rd in the world for Electrical and Electronic Engineering, a position which UM shares with Carnegie Mellon University of the United States.

This is the highest-ranked position by subject achieved by a Malaysian university, and an improvement of 14 places from 2016.

The top university for this subject is Massachusetts Institute of Technology, while the top Asian university is Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University in 6th place.

UM also scored impressively for Development Studies, for which it placed 26th.

Topping the rankings for Development Studies is Britain’s University of Sussex, while the top regional university is the Australian National University in 11th place. Flying the flag for Asia is India’s University of Delhi which placed 16th.

Two Malaysian universities made it to the top 50 in Rankings by Subject for Hospitality & Leisure Management, which QS has included in the list for the first time.

Taylor’s University, in 29th place, is also the first private university in Malaysia to have made the rankings.

The other local university is USM, which shares 32nd place with Britain’s Sheffield Hallam University.

At the top for this subject is the University of Nevada-Las Vegas while The Hong Kong Polytechnic University is the highest-ranked Asian university at number three.

Three of UM’s other engineering subjects which also made the top 50 rankings are Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing (33rd), Engineering & Technology (35th) and Chemical Engineering (38th, a position it shares with USM).

USM also made the top 50 for Mineral & Mining Engineering, sharing 35th spot with the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

For Education, UM is ranked 41st worldwide, a position it shares with the University of Texas at Austin.

IIUM made the top 50 for Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies, sharing 46th place with Columbia University of the US.

Finally, USM’s Environmental Sciences managed with make it into the top 50 by sharing 49th place with the University of Minnesota in the US, Britain’s University College London and Monash University of Australia.

Also joining the ranks of the world’s elite universities is Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), which now sees 13 of its subjects included in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

UiTM vice-chancellor Professor Emeritus Hassan Said said that of these, eight were new subjects, namely architecture and built environment, arts and design, chemical engineering, agriculture and forestry, medicine, pharmacy and pharmacology, chemistry, and business management and administration.

“The other previously-listed five subjects, namely accountancy and finance, education, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science and information systems, have also improved their score rankings,” he said.

“We are confident that with special strategy and scheduled monitoring, UiTM can continue to improve its position in the years to come.”

Equally ecstatic, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh congratulated the universities for their “stellar performance” in the latest Rankings by Subject release.

“Having 12 subjects across four universities ranked within the world’s top 50 is a highly commendable improvement from three subjects in 2016.

“Furthermore, Malaysian universities have doubled the number of subjects ranked in the top 100 to 52.

“Congratulations to UM which achieved having six subjects placed in the top 50 and 19 subjects in the top 100. UM has excelled in various engineering fields and for the first time, its education programme is ranked 41st.

“USM has also done us proud with four subjects in the top 50, notably with hospitality and leisure management ranked 32nd and mineral and mining ranked 35th.

“Speaking of firsts, we have a private university ranked in the world’s top 50, namely Taylor’s at 29th place for hospitality and leisure management, while the International Islamic University Malaysia also appears at 46th for theology, divinity and religious studies.

“I am proud that our universities have excelled across diverse areas of knowledge, from engineering to education, hospitality to environmental sciences.

“As the higher education space becomes more connected, accessible, and competitive, the ability to offer high quality education in such subjects will enable our higher education institutions to stand out worldwide and enhances Malaysia’s attractiveness as an international higher education destination.”

The full QS World University Rankings by Subject tables can be accessed at https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/university-subject-r....

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