Seoul National University placed sixth in Asia and top in Korea in Asian university rankings compiled by the Chosun Ilbo and British consulting firm Quacquarelli Symonds.
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) came second at home and 13th Asia-wide, while Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) took third in Korea and 14th in Asia.
The study is the only Asia-wide review of universities and colleges. In its second year, it covered 448 universities in 11 countries -- 80 in Korea and others in China (Hong Kong included), India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
Universities were ranked for competitiveness in quality of research, teaching and internationalization.
The University of Hong Kong was no. 1 in Asia for the second year, followed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. National University of Singapore came third, the Chinese University of Hong Kong fourth and the University of Tokyo fifth.
Japanese universities performed well with 11 in the Asian top 30. Korea, China and Hong Kong had five universities each in the top 30, followed by Singapore with two and Taiwan and Thailand with one each.
The Hong Kong and Singaporean universities in the top 30 fared better in terms of internationalization with a proportion of foreign faculty of 42-65 percent and of international students of 13-35 percent.
Other Korean universities in the top 50 were Yonsei, Korea, Sungkyunkwan, Ewha Womans and Hanyang.
SNU rose from eighth in 2009 to sixth, POSTECH from 17th to 14th, Yonsei from 25th to 19th and Korea University from 33rd to 29th, while KAIST fell from 7th to 13th.
Universities were categorized into four groups to be ranked according to the number of students and whether they have medical schools. Of universities with at least 12,000 students without medical schools, Singapore's Nanyang Technological University took first place in Asia and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies ranked top in Korea. Of those with less than 12,000 students, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology held the top position in Asia, and KAIST came first in Korea.
POSTECH ranked top among specialized universities in Aisa. Among universities with medical schools, the University of Hong Kong came first in Asia and SNU took first place at home.