Two Asian schools recently surpassed Yale University as they jumped to the top of a global college rankings list. The 2015-2016 QS World University Rankings, released Tuesday by British education company Quacquarelli Symonds, again named the Massachusetts Institute of Technology the best university in the world. But they also saw Yale fall to 15th place behind two colleges in Singapore -- the first Asian institutions to enter the list's top 15, Quartz reported.

The National University of Singapore -- the country's oldest university, which has about 38,000 students -- climbed from No. 22 to No. 12 this year. Nanyang Technological University, also a public school with about 33,000 students, rose from No. 39 to No. 13.

Their advances were credited in part to a change in the rankings methodology. Quacquarelli Symonds adjusted its metrics this year so faculty research citations in five fields received equal weight, as opposed to the old system that favored schools focused on life sciences and medicine. This "even[ed] the playing field," allowing the Singaporean universities to move up, the company's head of research, Ben Sowter, told Singapore's the Straits Times. He added that both schools had been improving in recent years.

"It is that balanced approach that has led to a research profile that is not disproportionately geared towards medicine," Sowter said. "This has been revealed with dramatic clarity in this year's QS World University Rankings."


The University of Tokyo, typically recognized as Asia’s top university, came in at No. 39. The two Singaporean schools also beat out Kings College London, which dropped from No. 16 to No. 19 on this year’s list. But the United States and United Kingdom continued to dominate the rankings, with 49 and 30 institutions in the top 200, respectively, according to a news release.

“These latest results reveal more diversity than ever in the distribution of world-class universities at the highest levels,” Sowter said in a statement. “We're providing prospective students with the richest picture yet."