Initiatives, research projects, scholarships help universities up their rankings
Consumer science major Lee Hye-won never knew she had to study computer coding. The Sungkyunkwan University student was told it was an essential skill nowadays to land a job in marketing, her desired industry.
Lee couldn’t find coding on her course curriculum. That didn’t surprise her.
But luckily, she was able to join a so-called Digital Transformation program provided by her university for students in humanities and social sciences, which had free coding classes.
“The coding terminology was all new to me at first so it wasn’t easy, but I got used to it,” said Lee. “I’m hoping to get a coding certificate based on what I’ve learned throughout the program.”
Digital Transformation is just one among numerous initiatives run by Sungkyunkwan University to help its students improve their career prospects after graduation, an effort that the school believes helped raise its student employment rate.
In this year’s JoongAng Ilbo college rankings, Sungkyunkwan University ranked first in the “pure employment rate” category for social sciences students and third in the pure employment rate category for students in humanities.
Unlike employment rates, pure employment rates do not take into account students who are in the military serving their mandatory service or those who go on to study at postgraduate schools.
The pure employment rate was one of 33 categories across four major areas that the JoongAng Ilbo used for its university rankings this year.
In the JoongAng Ilbo’s comprehensive assessment, which took into account all 33 categories and looked at 45 four-year comprehensive universities across the nation that offer degrees in at least four of six major fields — humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, medicine and arts and physical education — all top 10 schools were located in Seoul.
Seoul National University came first for the seventh straight year. It was followed by Yonsei University, Sungkyunkwan University, Hanyang University, Korea University, Ewha Womans University, Konkuk University, Kyung Hee University, Dongguk University and Chung-Ang University.
KAIST in Daejeon and Postech in Pohang, North Gyeongsang, both highly prestigious schools, were not included in the comprehensive assessment because they specialize in science and technology. They were included in the assessments of natural sciences and technology fields.
In the engineering assessment, which ranked 47 schools, Postech topped the list and was followed by KAIST, Hanyang University, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul National University, Unist, Yonsei University, Korea University, GIST and Kyung Hee University. Sungkyunkwan University and Hanyang University received the same score.
In the natural sciences assessment, which ranked 39 schools, KAIST topped the list and was followed by Postech, Sungkyunkwan University, Unist, Korea University, Seoul National University, Yonsei University, Hanyang University, Konkuk University and Kyung Hee University.
In the humanities assessment, which looked at 37 schools, Seoul National University came first and was followed by Korea University, Yonsei University, Sungkyunkwan University, Ewha Womans University, Hanyang University, Konkuk University, Chung-Ang University, Dongguk University and Sogang University. Dongguk and Chung-Ang received the same score.
In the social sciences assessment, which looked at 44 schools, Hanyang University was No. 1 and followed by Seoul National University, Sungkyunkwan University, Yonsei University, Korea University, Chung-Ang University, Konkuk University, Kyung Hee University, Ewha Womans University and the University of Seoul. Konkuk University and Kyung Hee University received the same score.
Dongguk University, which had the seventh-highest pure employment rate for its humanities students and ranked eighth on the JoongAng Ilbo’s humanities assessment, attributed the high scores to its “virtual mentoring” program, which links its graduates working at 55 major companies with undergraduates hoping to find employment at those businesses.
More than 3,500 students have joined the program to date, said the school.
In September, the university invited over 300 companies to its job fair and saw some 2,700 students attend to receive employment consultations.
Unist in Ulsan scored high on the JoongAng Ilbo’s natural sciences and engineering rankings thanks largely to faculty research. Research conducted in its so-called UNIST Nano Fabrication Cleanroom has been published in numerous journals, including a paper by Shin Hyeon-suk, a chemistry professor whose team developed a new material that’s expected to pave the way for miniaturizing semiconductors.
Shin’s work was published in Nature last June.
In the category for number of citations per article in international journals, Unist ranked No. 1 in natural sciences and No. 2 in engineering. In the same category, KAIST ranked third in natural sciences and sixth in engineering.
KAIST topped the category of the technology transfer revenues per science and technology professor and ranked second in the category of industrial cooperation revenues per science and technology professor.
Postech, which ranked first in industrial cooperation revenues per science and technology professor, has joint research centers with various companies and uses corporate sponsorships to fund student research. Plask, an AI motion capture tool developed by a Postech computer engineering undergraduate in 2020, was showcased at this year’s CES and funded by Naver and Smilegate Investment.
GIST in Gwangju received top marks in the area of educational environment in engineering and natural sciences, due in part to the fact that all its freshmen receive state scholarships. Undergraduate students in other grades have nearly two-thirds of their tuition covered by scholarships.
BY SHIN HYE-YEON, LEE SUNG-EUN [firstname.lastname@example.org]