These are the 8 top-ranked universities in South Africa

 ·16 Aug 2023

The ShanghaiRanking Consultancy has published its 2023 Academic Ranking of World Universities,  highlighting what it deems to be the best 1,000 universities in the world – including eight located in South Africa.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) once again remains the best-ranked university in the country and is the only local institute to be ranked within the top 300 globally (201-300).

This is followed by the University of the Witwatersrand (301-400), with Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria in the next ranking range of 401-500.

The University of Johannesburg dropped back into the lower range in 2023 after being the only climber in 2022. It is now ranked 501-600, along with the North-West University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Closing up the rankings is Unisa, within the 901-1000 range. The rankings do not factor in more recent developments in the local university space, such as Unisa potentially being placed under administration.

Instead, the 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.

Globally, Harvard University tops the ranking list for the 21st year, followed by Stanford and MIT.

Other Top 10 universities are Cambridge (4th), Berkeley (5th), Princeton (6th), Oxford (7th), Columbia (8th), Caltech (9th), and Chicago (10th).

In Continental Europe, Paris-Saclay University (15th) rises one position and remains the best, followed by ETH Zurich (20th).

Among Asian universities, Tsinghua University (22nd) moves up four positions and holds the best place in Asia for the first time. The University of Melbourne (35th) tops of other universities in Oceania for thirteen consecutive years since 2011.

Two Chinese universities make their first appearance in ARWU Top 100, namely Central South University (95th) and Nanjing University (96th). There are 35 universities enter into Top 1000 for the first time.

Read: These in-demand jobs in South Africa don’t need a degree

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