Six Malaysian universities made it to the world’s Top 50 in the 2020 edition of the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject announced last week.
Universiti Malaya (UM) continued to maintain its position by having its Library and Information Science ranked at 38th, Electrical & Electronic Engineering at 46th and Development Studies at 49th.
Taylor’s University scored the highest achievement, taking 16th position in Hospitality and Leisure Management.
The Management and Science University (MSU) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) hit milestones by becoming first-time entrants in the same subject. MSU was ranked at 28th while UiTM was at 31st.
Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies offered at the International Islamic University of Malaysia rose to 37th place from the 51-100 band last year.
Others in the top 50 subjects was Universiti Teknologi Petronas’ Mineral and Mining Engineering at No. 42 — also a new entrant.
The 10th edition of the rankings evaluated 48 subjects, with 13,138 programmes taken by students at 1,368 universities in 83 locations across the world.
QS uses four key metrics to compile the rankings — Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Citations per Paper and the H-Index (measuring the productivity of an institution’s research faculty).
According to QS spokesperson Jack Moran, the strategic focus on transnational education had enabled Malaysian universities, particularly those in the Top 50, to forge transformational global partnerships and enhance their institutional profiles across the world.
However, he said Malaysian universities needed to improve on their graduates’ employability.
UM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Abdul Rahim Hashim attributed the university’s performance to the 2016-2020 UM Strategic Plan, which produced great results in research, teaching and learning.
“UM is now formulating the next phase of its Strategic Plan for 2021-2025,” he said.
Taylor’s University vice-chancellor and president, Professor Michael Driscoll, said being listed in the top 20 in Hospitality and Leisure Management was a testimony of the university’s international reach.
“Our employer partners have strongly signalled their approval of the direction Taylor’s is taking and the outcome of this transformation, reflected in the new rankings, is the result of a massive team effort and close engagement with employers,” he said.
MSU president Professor Tan Sri Dr Mohd Shukri Ab Yajid said the university’s hospitality studies curriculum gave it an advantage.
“This accomplishment has set a benchmark for us, showing that the university is on a par internationally and acts as an indication that we are doing it right,” he said.
For UiTM, the latest ranking was evidence that the industry and academic peers were recognising its students’ competency and capability.
“We strongly believe that this ranking will open doors for more collaborations, hence creating career opportunities for our graduates,” said vice-chancellor Emeritus Professor Datuk Ir Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim.
Meanwhile IIUM rector Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak said the university will continue to provide supportive climate/ecosystem that would inspire academics to do more community-orientated responsible research, publishing, teaching-learning whereby Theology, Religion and Islamic Studies are not only discussed in classes and seminar, but also applied and practice in the drive to fulfil a higher purpose of education.
UTP vice-chancellor Professor Dr Mohamed Ibrahim Abdul Mutalib said being listed in the top 50 rankings for Mineral and Mining Engineering reflected the view of the industry towards its graduates.
“The most significant improvement was the reputation score, especially Employer Reputation that contributed 37 per cent of the overall score, indicating the satisfaction of employers towards our students’ capabilities and skills,” he said.
In total, 175 programmes offered by 22 local higher-learning institutions were ranked. A total of 21 programmes saw an improvement, 30 saw a decline while 102 were unchanged.
Universiti Malaya had the most-ranked subjects, with 34 out of 48 it offered.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States was the best university for a dozen subjects — more than any other university.
It was closely followed by Harvard University and the University of Oxford, which were ranked best in the world for 11 and eight subjects, respectively.