South Africa now has 2 universities ranked among the world’s top 200

Times Higher Education has published its annual ranking of the world’s top universities for 2020, listing 10 South African universities among them.

Notably, South Africa has two universities ranked among the top 200, with both the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) ranked in this bracket.

UCT continued its climb back up the rankings, after hitting its lowest point (171st) in 2018. It is now ranked 136th on the 2020 list.

Wits, meanwhile, has also seen a similar climb, ranking 194th in worth – but is still off from its highest ranking (182nd) which it achieved in 2017.

These top two are followed by Stellenbosch University, the University of KwaZulu Natal and the North-West University, which made its debut on the 2020 ranking, falling into the 501-600 bracket.

Other South African universities ranked by the THE include the University of Johannesburg, University of Pretoria, University of the Western Cape, Tshwane University of Technology and the University of South Africa (Unisa).

University 2019 ranking 2020 ranking
University of Cape Town 156 136
University of the Witwatersrand 201-250 194
Stellenbosch University 301-350 251-300
University of KwaZulu-Natal 401-500 401-500
North-West University 501-600
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 801-1000
University of South Africa 1001+ 1001+

The Times Higher Education World University Ranking is a global performance ranking that judges research-intensive universities across all core missions universities.

It assesses 13 performance indicators to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons. These are grouped into five areas: Teaching (the learning environment); Research (volume, income and reputation); Citations (research influence); International outlook (staff, students and research); and Industry Income (knowledge transfer).

The results of the rankings are independently audited by PwC.

Global ranking

For the fourth year in a row, the University of Oxford leads the rankings, while the University of Cambridge falls to third.

The California Institute of Technology rises three places to second, while Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Imperial College London all appear in the top 10.

Mainland China now provides both of Asia’s top two universities, with Tsinghua and Peking universities finishing at 23rd and 24th place respectively. The country’s universities have continued to expand their influence and presence on the world stage.

The US is, once again, extremely well-represented among the global elite, while Canada’s top universities have risen up the table.

In Europe, Italy’s top institutions all make headway among the elite top 200 and German representation remains strong. However, the UK faces declines.

Elsewhere, Iran has 11 more ranked universities to take its representation up to 40 institutions, while Latin America struggles in a competitive global market – although Brazil adds several more institutions to the list.

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

Read: How much it costs South Africans to study at Harvard and other top US universities

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South Africa now has 2 universities ranked among the world’s top 200