South Africa has a new number-one ‘young’ university

 ·14 May 2024

The University of Johannesburg has rocketed up the Times Higher Education Young University rankings to become the best university in South Africa younger than 50 years.

According to the ranking, five South African universities qualified, with UJ leading the University of KwaZulu Natal, North-West University, University of Venda and Durban University of Technology.

The Times Higher Education Young University Rankings are based on the same performance indicators as the flagship THE World University Rankings, but the weightings have been adjusted to give less weight to reputation.

The universities are judged across all their core missions – teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook – to provide the most comprehensive and balanced comparisons available.

The 2024 ranking included 673 universities, up from 605 in 2023.

The University of Johannesburg ranked 60th overall, a leap from its 2023 position of ranking in the 151-200 band.

This also puts it above UKZN, which was the top-ranked university in South Africa in 2023. UKZN dropped in the ranking by three places.

Durban University of Tehcnology also dropped in the rankings, quite significantly, moving from the 151-200 band to the 401-500 band.

However, the University of Venda improved its standing, moving into the 351-400 band. The Tshwane University of Technology dropped out of the rankings in 2024.

The table below outlines how South Africa’s universities performed.

60151-200University of Johannesburg
8481University of KwaZulu Natal
183151-200North-West University
351-400401-500University of Venda
401-500151-200Durban University of Technology

Global Universities

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore topped the league table for the second year in a row.

“Hong Kong continues to have a strong presence in the top 10, but it’s a mixed picture in terms of individual university performance,” the THE said.

“The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has slipped from second to third place and Hong Kong Polytechnic University from fourth to seventh, but City University of Hong Kong has risen two places to fourth.”

Meanwhile, France’s top institutions all improved. Paris Sciences et Lettres—PSL Research University Paris, its top performer, is now second, up from third last year.

Turkey has the highest number of institutions ranked, at 58, followed by India with 55 and Iran with 46.

The number of territories featured in the table rises to 79, one more than in 2023. Ghana and Peru both make their debut.

Read: The 13 best universities in South Africa – with four among the top 500 in the world

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