Seoul National University ranked 44th in one of the leading world university rankings this year, up 15 notches from last year.
In the rankings released by in the British weekly Times Higher Education on Wednesday, four Korean universities -- SNU, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (56th), Pohang University of Science and Technology (60th), and Yonsei University (190th) -- joined the world's top 200.
The California Institute of Technology topped the list for the third year running. Harvard University and the University of Oxford tied for second, and Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ranked fourth and fifth. The University of Tokyo (23rd) was the highest-ranking university in Asia.
Many Asian universities found their way on to the list, THE said, but many European universities dropped as investment dwindled due to the global recession.
THE based its evaluation of the world's universities on five categories -- teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook.
In the past, THE released rankings jointly with the rankings firm Quacquarelli Symonds, but since 2010 they have gone their separate ways and published wildly different rankings.