MIT Tops Rankings for First Time, Indonesian Universities’ Positions Drop

The global standing of Indonesia’s universities has dropped according to the latest world rankings published by Quacquarelli Symonds. The University of Indonesia, remains No. 1 in the country, but is only ranked 273rd globally.

The survey placed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at No. 1 in the world for the first time since QS first published its annual global university rankings in 2005.

The University of Cambridge in Britain, which topped the list in 2010 and 2011, finished second this year, while Harvard University, which topped the list for five consecutive years since 2005, now sits in 3rd place.

US and British universities dominated the top 20 in this year’s list, while ETH Zurich was the only university from a non-English speaking country that landed in top 20.

The University of Hong Kong came in as the best performing university in Asia, securing 23rd place, followed by the National University of Singapore at 25th. The Australian National University was also among best performers in the region, finishing in 24th place.

The University of Indonesia was the only Indonesian institution in the top 300, but fell from 217th from last year to 273rd. The rank is far lower than Malaysia’s Universiti Malaya, which is ranked 156th on the 2012 list.

Indonesia’s Gadjah Mada University (UGM) also slid from 342nd last year to between 401-450th this year, while the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) lingered between 451-500th place (QS did not specify their exact rankings).

By subjects, UI performed better in social sciences and management, arts and humanities, and life sciences and medicine, ranked 122nd, 142nd and 162nd, respectively. UGM’s strength was in life sciences and medicine, finishing 187th in the subject globally.

ITB, meanwhile, performed well in engineering and technology, ranked 109th in the subject globally.

QS said on its website,, that the 2012 rankings illustrate “the rise of tech-schools,” pointing to a “global trend which is seeing technology-focused universities perform increasingly well in the rankings.”

QS Head of Research Ben Sowter has linked the rise of MIT to a more global shift towards science and technology, identifying a “new wave of cutting-edge tech-focused institutions,” especially in Asia.

“This is fantastic news for those considering studying a science or technology subject, meaning [there are a] growing numbers of top-tier tech institutes to choose from in a wider selection of countries,” QS has said.

QS’ annual university rankings are based on a number of assessment criteria, including academic and employer reputations, citations per faculty, international facility and international students.

Top 10 in QS’ 2012 overall rankings:

  1. MIT (US)
  2. University of Cambridge (Britain)
  3. Harvard University (US)
  4. University College London (Britain)
  5. University of Oxford (Britain)
  6. Imperial College London (Britain)
  7. Yale University (US)
  8. University of Chicago (US)
  9. Princeton University (US)
  10. California Institute of Technology (US)