These are the 9 best universities in South Africa

Times Higher Education has released its world university rankings for 2019, which includes 9 South African universities.

While the local ranking of South Africa’s top universities has remained mostly unchanged from the 2018 version, the country’s leading universities saw their global rankings improve.

The University of Cape Town climbed from 171st to 156th, while the University of Witwatersrand climbed from the 251-300 general bracket – breaking into the top 250 universities in the world. Stellenbosch University also moved into a higher placement range.

The 2019 ranking also saw the Tshwane University of Technology enter into the top 1000 – even climbing above the University of South Africa (Unisa) which actually fell out of the top 1000.

The other ranked universities – UKZN, UJ, UP and UWC – all remained within their placement range.

Name 2018 ranking 2019 ranking
University of Cape Town 171 156
University of the Witwatersrand 251-300 201-250
Stellenbosch University 351-400 301-350
University of KwaZulu-Natal 401-500 401-500
University of Johannesburg 601-800 601-800
University of Pretoria 601-800 601-800
University of the Western Cape 601-800 601-800
Tshwane University of Technology 801-1000
University of South Africa 800-1000 1001+

Global rankings

This year’s list is led by the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge for the second year in a row.

Yale University is the only newcomer to the top 10 – joining at eighth place – up from 12th.

Meanwhile, Switzerland’s ETH Zurich has fallen out of this elite group, dropping from joint 10th to 11th place.

Tsinghua University is now the top university in Asia, after rising eight places to 22nd, becoming the first Chinese institution to lead the continent under the current methodology (since 2011). China as a whole has increased its standing, driven by improvements in citation impact.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan has overtaken the UK as the second most-represented nation in the world, with 103 institutions (the UK has 98).

There is also good news for France, which has a top 50 university for the first time since 2011, while several leading universities in Italy, Spain and Canada have risen.

Overall, 86 countries are represented, including Iraq, Jamaica, Nepal, Tanzania and Kazakhstan for the first time.

Rank Name Country
1 University of Oxford United Kingdom
2 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
3 Stanford University United States
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
5 California Institute of Technology United States
6 Harvard University United States
7 Princeton University United States
8 Yale University United States
9 Imperial College United Kingdom
10 University of Chicago United States


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These are the 9 best universities in South Africa