The Tsinghua University School Gate in Beijing, China. It is China's most famous university for science and engineering. This university was established in 1911. Photo: iStock

Universities in mainland China have finished just behind the United States in a worldwide survey. China had the second largest number of tertiary institutions taking top positions in 10 subjects, according to a university research rankings scheme released on June 26.

The Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2019 was published by ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, which started publishing the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by academic subjects in 2009.

More than 4,000 universities worldwide were compared as well as 54 subjects related to Natural Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences courses.

Universities from the United States took the top positions in 35 subjects, followed by China, with mainland universities dominating 10 subjects, all in the engineering category.

The Chinese universities and courses included Telecommunication Engineering (Tsinghua University), Instruments Science & Technology (Harbin Institute of Technology), Civil Engineering (Tongji University), Food Science & Technology (Jiangnan University), Aerospace Engineering (Beihang University), Marine/Ocean Engineering (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), Transportation Science & Technology (Beijing Jiaotong University), Remote Sensing (Wuhan University), Mining & Mineral Engineering (Central South University) and Metallurgical Engineering (University of Science and Technology Beijing).

Lin Chenghua, deputy director of the Institute of Science and Technology Management of Zhejiang University Science and Education Strategy Institute, said there was a huge gap in the superiority of the United States which reflected China’s structural shortcomings.

While maintaining and promoting a competitive edge in engineering, China should increase investment in other courses such as Natural Science and Social Sciences, he said.

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