Seoul National University falls out of top 50 world ranking

View of renovated student dormitories at Gwanaksa complex, Seoul National University.

Seoul National University, widely considered the most prestigious higher education institute in Korea, dropped out of the top 50 on Times Higher Education's world reputation ranking for the first time since 2012.

The school plummeted to the 51-60 group this year from No. 26 a year ago on the list, which is based on a survey on 9,794 responses of academics from 142 countries. Experts who participated in the survey included those in the fields of engineering and technology, social science, physical science, clinical subjects, life science, and arts and humanities.

This is another blow to SNU after it dropped six notches to No. 50 on Times Higher Education's world university ranking for 2014-15.

Also, Korea's Yonsei University and KAIST dropped out of the top 100 group.

"While the ranking is by its very nature subjective, a strong global reputation is a vital driver of success -- helping to attract investment and talent into the country," commented Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings.

Meanwhile, the University of Tokyo remained Asia's top performer, although it slid one place to finish at No. 12 overall. Japan's Kyoto University and Osaka University also slipped, with the former falling from No. 19 to No. 27 and the latter falling from the top 100 list.

But China's Tsinghua University rose 10 places to No. 26, becoming the third-highest-ranked university in Asia behind Tokyo University and the National University of Singapore.

Harvard University was named the most prestigious higher education institution in the world, retaining the crown for the fifth straight year since the list's inception in 2011. It was followed by University of Cambridge and University of Oxford, both from the United Kingdom.

The US and the UK were the best-represented countries on this year's top 100 list, with 43 and 12 spots, respectively.