This is South Africa’s most globally attractive university

Two South African universities have made it onto the list of the top 200 global tertiary institutions when it comes to their global appeal.

Times Higher Education has published a 2016 list of the world’s most international universities, with the University of Cape Town ranked 114th, and the University of the Witwatersrand 190th.

In the overall rankings, UCT is in the top 120 universities globally, while Wits is ranked in the 201-250 bracket, out of 800 institutions.

“The best universities in the world are truly global institutions – ones that attract students and scholars from all over the world and collaborate with leading departments no matter where they are based,” THE said.

Qatar University has topped a list of the world’s most international institutions, based on data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016.

The Middle Eastern institution, which was ranked in the 601-800 band in the overall rankings, knocked Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) off pole position to fourth place for the first time in six years.

The rest of the top five is filled by the University of Luxembourg, University of Hong Kong, and University of Geneva.

A university’s international outlook matters, said THE. “How can an institution expect to attract the very highest calibre of staff and students if it fails to look beyond its own national borders?”

In order to compile its list, Times Higher Education considers each institution’s percentage of international staff, its international student numbers and the proportion of its research papers published with a co-author from at least one other country.

Top 10 international universities

# Institution Country WUR 2015-16
1 Qatar University Qatar 601–800
2 University of Luxembourg Luxembourg 193
3 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 44
4 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland 31
5 University of Geneva Switzerland 131
6 University of Macau Macao 401–500
7 ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich Switzerland 9
8 University of St Gallen Switzerland 351–400
9 National University of Singapore Singapore 26
10 Imperial College London UK 8

North America dominates the overall THE World University Rankings but is conspicuous by its absence in this list.

Just 22 North American institutions feature in the most international top 200 (compared with 128 in Europe and 31 in Oceania), led by Canada’s University of British Columbia at number 40.

MIT is the top US university in 90th place. Overall, 28 countries are represented in the top 200 list.

The performance indicators are grouped into five areas:

  • Teaching (the learning environment)
  • Research (volume, income and reputation)
  • Citations (research influence)
  • International outlook (staff, students and research)
  • Industry income (knowledge transfer).

For SA based universities, UCT boasts an international student ratio of 18%. Its staff to student ratio is 12.1. It ranks highly for citations, its international outlook, and is in the top 10% in industry income in 2016.

Wits meanwhile, has a student to staff ratio of 18.6, with an international student ratio of 9%. It ranks in the top 10% in industry income in 2016, and also scores well for citations, its international outlook.

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This is South Africa’s most globally attractive university