Nine out of 26 South African universities have made it into the Shanghai Ranking consultancy’s 2021 Academic Ranking of World Universities.
The independent organization on higher education intelligence recently published its list of the top 1000 prestigious academic institutions globally, including nine from South Africa. Since 2003, the rankings have become one of several international league tables that are published throughout the year, assessing more than 2 000 universities on six key measures.
These includes measuring the alumni of an institution winning Nobel Prizes and fields medals, the quality of faculty staff, highly cited researchers, papers published in nature and science.
They are also assessed by measuring the papers indexed in the Science Citation Index-Expanded and Social Science Citation Index and the overall academic performance of an institution.
The scores are determined in each field, weighted, and then valued out of 100, with all subsequent scores being relative to the top university.
While Harvard University, Stanford University and the University of Cambridge took the coveted top three spots globally, South African universities also made their mark on the sought after list.
Coming in at first place for South African university was the University of Cape Town, placed between 201-300 globally, with their best-ranked subjects being environmental science and engineering, oceanography, mining and mineral engineering.
The university’s public health and clinic medicine subjects were also highly cited.
The University of Witwatersrand came in second place in the country and in the 301 to 400 mark, with mining and mineral engineering, public health and clinical medicine being their best-ranked subjects.
The third and fourth spots were a tie between Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria, which both ranked within the 401 to 500 rank globally.
Stellenbosch University’s top two best-ranked subjects were food science and technology and public health, while the University of Pretoria’s top-performing subjects were veterinary sciences and finances.
Other South African universities that made the list include the North-West University, the University of Johannesburg, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and Unisa, tied between the 5th to 8th spots, and placed in the 601 to 700 rank internationally.
The last spot was taken by the University of the Free State, landing it in the 901 to 1000 group of the best ranking universities.
The North-West university’s top two best-ranked subjects were public health and clinical health, while the South African University of Johannesburg shone through its hospitality and tourism management as well as sociology subjects.
Public health and clinical medicine were the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s best subjects, while Unisa only had chemical engineering as their only best-ranked subject.