These are South Africa’s top universities based on their performance in 37 subjects

The Informatics Institute recently published its Universal Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) for subjects, listing the world’s top universities according to how they excel in various fields of study.

The ranking lists the top 1,000 universities in the world across 61 fields of study (some rankings are limited to top 500 or top 200, depending on how narrow the field is), with 13 South African universities ranked in 37 of them.

The University of Cape Town is by far the best-performing South African university, being ranked in 30 subjects. Three UCT subjects are ranked within the top 100 in the world, while more than half are within the top 200.

The University of Stellenbosch ranks second locally, with 23 subjects ranked among the top in the world, followed by Wits University and the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Pretoria all tied for third with 22 subjects.

However, Wits stands out for having one of the highest ranked subjects in the world – Anthropology, which is third out of the 1,000 universities assessed – as well as having the most subjects within the top 100 (four).

Other South African universities to make the URAP ranking include the University of Johannesburg (15 subjects), North-West University (11 subjects), the University of the Free State (6 subjects), the University of the Western Cape (4 subjects), Rhodes (3 Subjects) and Nelson Mandela University, the Tshwane University of Technology and Unisa with one subject each.

The key focus of the URAP is on academic performance, which is measured on six academic performance indicators.

Since URAP is an academic performance based ranking, publications constitute the basis of the ranking methodology, it said. Both quality and quantity of publications and international research collaboration performance are used as indicators.

The overall score of each university is based on its performance over several indicators, including current scientific productivity, research impact, research quality and international acceptance.

This is how South Africa’s universities performed.


University of Cape Town

University of Cape Town

Subject Ranking
Anthropology 25
Human Movement & Sports Sciences 47
Marine Sciences & Technology 92
Studies in Human Society 110
Veterinary Sciences 112
Philosophy 115
Psychology 141
Earth Sciences 145
Medical and Health Sciences 150
Zoology 150
Archeology 152
Astronomy & Astrophysics 156
Agriculture 162
Urban Planning 162
Biological Sciences 165
Sociology 196
Geology 197
Psychology & Cognitive Sciences 204
Language, Communication & Culture 205
Education 222
Pharmacology 246
Economics 257
Environmental Engineering 274
Neurosciences 319
Molecular Biology & Genetics 376
Physical Sciences 380
Technology 508
Mathematical Sciences 639
Engineering 691
Chemical Sciences 826

Stellenbosch University

Subject Ranking
History 28
Zoology 97
Philosophy 126
Food Engineering 130
Agriculture 132
Biological Sciences 217
Language, Communication & Culture 246
Psychology 253
Education 274
Economics 289
Studies in Human Society 308
Medical & Health Sciences 322
Psychology & Cognitive Sciences 329
Geology 341
Earth Sciences 343
Molecular Biology & Genetics 432
Pharmacology 495
Engineering 547
Mathematical Sciences 578
Technology 628
Information & Computing Sciences 739
Chemical Sciences 790
Physical Sciences 842

Wits University

Wits

Subject Ranking
Anthropology 3
Studies in Human Society 73
Archeology 92
History 100
Zoology 122
Language, Communication & Culture 175
Geology 179
Earth Sciences 199
Medical & Health Sciences 211
Education 273
Biological Sciences 305
Economics 309
Psychology 336
Agriculture 366
Psychology & Cognitive Sciences 399
Pharmacology 443
Mathematical Sciences 499
Physical Sciences 555
Technology 597
Engineering 666
Electrical & Electronic Engineering 699
Chemical Sciences 954

University of Pretoria

Subject Ranking
Veterinary Sciences 48
Zoology 54
Language, Communication & Culture 142
Agriculture 146
Anthropology 183
Biological Sciences 233
Economics 366
Commerce, Management, Tourism & Services 381
Studies in Human Society 385
Engineering 424
Molecular Biology & Genetics 439
Earth Sciences 478
Geology 484
Medical & Health Sciences 487
Mechanical Engineering 496
Information & Computing Sciences 540
Technology 574
Mathematical Sciences 584
Electrical & Electronic Engineering 653
Psychology & Cognitive Sciences 719
Chemical Sciences 872
Physical Sciences 988

University of KwaZulu Natal

Subject Ranking
Zoology 127
Astronomy & Astrophysics 143
Philosophy 152
Physical Sciences 241
Biological Sciences 267
Agriculture 270
Environmental Engineering 282
Education 289
Pharmacology 297
Economics 311
Medical & Health Sciences 312
Chemical Sciences 342
Studies in Human Society 352
Geology 367
Earth Sciences 388
Chemical Engineering 449
Engineering 468
Molecular Biology & Genetics 497
Psychology & Cognitive Sciences 509
Mathematical Sciences 580
Technology 687
Electrical & Electronic Engineering 692

University of Johannesburg

Subject Ranking
Philosophy 114
Studies in Human Society 241
Geology 279
Education 285
Economics 323
Earth Sciences 336
Commerce, Management, Tourism & Services 370
Chemical Engineering 424
Chemical Sciences 444
Materials Engineering 497
Physical Sciences 551
Engineering 672
Mathematical Sciences 681
Biological Sciences 787
Technology 839

North-West University

Subject Ranking
Zoology 190
Economics 202
Education 249
Psychology 386
Studies in Human Society 470
Pharmacology 472
Psychology & Cognitive Sciences 510
Medical & Health Sciences 577
Physical Sciences 752
Biological Sciences 756
Chemical Sciences 823

University of the Free State

Subject Ranking
History 181
Economics 347
Physical Sciences 761
Biological Sciences 877
Technology 944
Chemical Sciences 948

University of the Western Cape

Subject Ranking
Astronomy & Astrophysics 157
Economics 383
Physical Sciences 470
Medical & Health Sciences 844

Rhodes University

Subject Ranking
Agriculture 490
Physical Sciences 616
Biological Sciences 688

Nelson Mandela University

Subject Ranking
Biological Sciences 697

University of South Africa

Subject Ranking
Economics 370

Tshwane University of Technology

Subject Ranking
Engineering 978

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These are South Africa’s top universities based on their performance in 37 subjects