These are the 8 best universities in South Africa – with one shooting up the global rankings

 ·17 Aug 2022

The ShanghaiRanking Consultancy has this week published its 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) highlighting what it deems to be the best 1,000 universities in the world – including nine located in South Africa.

Harvard University tops the ranking list for the 20th year, beating Stanford University into second place, while Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) rises one position to third. Cambridge (4th), Berkeley (5th), Princeton (6th), Oxford (7th), Columbia (8th), Caltech (9th), and Chicago (10th) complete the top 10.

In Continental Europe, Paris-Saclay University (16th) remains in the best position, followed by ETH Zurich (20th).

Among Asian universities, The University of Tokyo (24th) keeps its leading position. Tsinghua University (26th) moves up two positions, holding on to the second-best place in Asia.

The University of Melbourne (32th) has outranked other universities in Oceania for twelve consecutive years since 2011, ShanghaiRanking Consultancy said.

Four universities move up into the top 50 including Zhejiang University, which ranked 36th, up from 52nd in 2021. The University of Queensland from Australia rises four places to 47th. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (49th) and the University of Maryland, College Park (50th) from the US rise six places.

There are eight new entrants appearing on the top 500 list, and 25 universities entered into the top 1,000 for the first time.

Universities from the United States dominate this year’s top 1,000 list with 39 universities among the Top 100, 127 among the top 500, and 196 among the top 1,000.

The United Kingdom has 63 top 1,000 universities, and 38 of them are listed in the top 500, 8 are listed in the top 100.

China has 186 universities ranked in the top 1,000, including 83 top 500 universities, and 9 top 100 universities. The number of top-ranked universities in the Chinese Mainland continues to grow.

ARWU uses six objective indicators to rank world universities:

  • The number of alumni who win Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals (10%)
  • The number of staff who win Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals (20%)
  • The number of highly cited researchers in 21 broad subject categories (20%)
  • The number of papers published in Nature and Science (20%)
  • The number of papers indexed in the Science Citation Index-expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index (20%)
  • The per capita academic performance of an institution (10%)

More than 2,500 universities are actually ranked by ARWU every year, and the best 1,000 are published.

In July, the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy ranked the top universities based on their subject offerings.

The best universities in South Africa to study these subjects

For South Africa, the rankings have a familiar look, led by the University of Cape Town, which places inside the top 300 institutions globally. The University of the Witwatersrand is second locally, ahead of Stellenbosch, the University of Johannesburg, and the University of Pretoria.

The biggest jump among local universities is seen by UJ, which climbed into the top 401-500 institutions globally in 2022, from the 601 – 700 list.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal also climbed from the 601 – 700 list to the 501-600 list.

Read: Plans to build 2 new universities and more colleges in South Africa

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