This ‘young’ South African university is among the top 100 in the world

While more established and traditional learning institutions generally sit top of global university rankings – including the likes of Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Princeton – a number of ‘younger’ institutions are beginning to show their worth, especially in the fields of science and technology.

These universities are reflected in a new ranking the Times Higher Education World University, which includes a South African institution among the top 100.

THE’s 2018 Young University Rankings reveal the best universities under 50 years old, assessing them across teaching, research, international outlook and their work with industry.

The top ‘young’ university is Hong Kong’s University of Science and Technology, which has replaced the 2017 winner, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, in Switzerland. The former university was only founded in 1991, making it far newer than say Oxford which is approaching an existence of 1,000 years.

As its name suggests, HKUST focuses heavily on providing students with a high-quality education within the realms of science and technology. Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, also founded in 1991, rounds out the top three.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal is ranked 83rd – having formed in 2004 as a result of the merger between the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal.

The two KwaZulu-Natal universities were among the first batch of South African institutions to merge in 2004 in accordance with the government’s higher educational restructuring plans that will eventually see the number of higher educational institutions in South Africa reduced from 36 to 21. Confirmed by a Cabinet decision in December 2002, the mergers are the culmination of a wide-ranging consultative process on the restructuring of the Higher Education Sector that began in the early 1990s.

The University of Johannesburg is ranked inside the top 150. It came into existence on 1 January 2005 as the result of a merger between the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), the Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR) and the Soweto and East Rand campuses of Vista University.

Top 10 youngest universities

# Institution Country Year
1 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong 1991
2 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 1969
3 Nanyang Technological University Singapore 1991
4 Paris Sciences & Lettres – PSL University France 2010
5 Maastricht University Netherlands 1976
6 Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) South Korea 1971
7 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 1984
8 Pohang University of Science and Technology South Korea 1986
9 Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Italy 1987
10 University of Alabama at Birmingham United States 1969
83 University of Kwazulu-Natal South Africa 2004
101-150 University of Johannesburg South Africa 2005

Read: Only one South African university climbed the latest global rankings

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This ‘young’ South African university is among the top 100 in the world