Wits University ranked top in South Africa in 2016

 ·12 Jul 2016

Wits University has been ranked as the top university in South Africa for the third year in a row in the 2016 Center for World University Rankings (CWUR).

The CWUR list is determined by looking at how many university alumni and faculty members have won international awards, and who currently hold top executive jobs.

Wits again ranked highest on the list for South Africa, at 176th with a score of 48.11. This is down from its position in 2015 (149th), and a far reach from its highest point in 2014 (114th).

The University of Cape Town was ranked second in the country (265th, globally), also down from its performance in 2015 (248th).

The only university in the country to improve its standing in the ranking in 2016 was the University of KwaZulu Natal, which climbed to 467th, from 478th in 2015.

Wits scored the highest points nationally in every assessment category – including alumni employment and quality of education – except for the quality of faculty and publications, which were claimed by UCT.

These are the best universities in the country

2015 Rank 2014 Rank University Score
176 149 University of the Witwatersrand 48.11
265 248 University of Cape Town 46.51
329 306 Stellenbosch University 45.81
467 478 University of KwaZulu Natal 45.04
697 678 University of Pretoria 44.54

The universities are ranked relative to the top university, which scores 100.0 points.

Harvard University was again ranked as the best in the world, followed by Standford and MIT.

Aside from two UK universities – University of Cambridge and Oxford – the top 10 list is dominated by US institutes.

How the universities were ranked

The CWUR claims to be the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education and training of students, as well as the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research, without relying on surveys and university data submissions.

Here is the full breakdown of its indicators:

  • Quality of Education – [25%] – the number of a university’s alumni who have won major international awards, prizes, and medals relative to the university’s size;
  • Alumni Employment – [25%] – the number of a university’s alumni who currently hold CEO positions at the world’s top companies relative to the university’s size;
  • Quality of Faculty – [25%] – the number of academics who have won major international awards, prizes, and medals;
  • Publications – [5%] – the number of research papers appearing in reputable journals;
  • Influence – [5%] – the number of research papers appearing in highly-influential journals;
  • Citations – [5%] – the number of highly-cited research papers;
  • Broad Impact – [5%] – the university’s h-Index;
  • Patents – [5%] – the number of international patent filings.

Other global rankings, such as the QS World University Rankings (QSWUR) look at indicators such as university “reputation”, or at performance in a specific field – the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) singles out citations and research done in the sciences as a headline indicator.

The Times Higher Education (THE) ranking is the only global published listing of universities that gives equal sway to teaching, research and citations – downplaying reputation and alumni industry activity.

The CWUR is the first of five global rankings to be released in 2016, with the rest to follow between now and October.

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