Universities With Best Academic Performance in South Africa

Best university in South africa


WitsUS News & World Report have released the 2016/17 edition of the Best Global Universities (BGU) ranking – featuring a list of the top institutions in South Africa.

Each institution was evaluated based on its research performance and its ratings by members of the academic community around the world and in the region.

The methodology is based on data and metrics provided by Thomson Reuters InCitesTM research analytics solutions, and weighs factors that measure a university’s global and regional reputation; academic research performance using bibliometric indicators; and school-level data on faculty and Ph.D. graduates.

In the 2016 rankings, South Africa again dominated the top of the rankings for Africa, with 9 instutions being ranked in the top 20.

The University of Cape Town again ranked top in the country and the continent, having improved its global positioning to 112th in the world, up from 162nd in 2015.

Wits follows UCT, with the University of KwaZulu Natal shooting past Stellenbosch University to be ranked third in the country.

2016 2015 University
112 162 University of Cape Town
222 284 University of the Witwatersrand
346 435 University of KwaZulu Natal
368 407 Stellenbosch University
523 550 University of Pretoria
562 University of Johannesburg
745 University of the Western Cape
826 North West University
900 Rhodes University

The BGU ranking is one of several global university rankings to be published this year. The other rankings can be found here:

Each global ranking uses different indicators with different final score weighting to determine the top institutes, and so reflect different levels of excellence.

Thus, the table below does not reflect the intricacies of each ranking, but serves to provide a “ranking overview” of how south African universities performed.

The index below works on a 10-point score system, where each ranked university is assigned points according to rank, relative to the number of universities listed.

Thus, a university ranked sixth out of six will have a reflectively lower score (1.7 points), compared to a university ranked sixth out of nine (5.5 points).

If a university did not appear in a ranking, it receives 0 points.

URAP BGU QSWUR THE CWUR ARWU Score
1st 2nd 9.3
Wits University
4th 3rd 6.8
7th 5.3
5th 4.2
6th 2.7
9th 2.0
North-West University 8th 1.8
1.7
Unisa 11th 1.0
University of the Free State 10th 0.8
Nelson Mandela Bay University 12th 0.6
Tshwane University of Technology 13th 0.5
Cape Peninsula University of Technology 14th 0.4
University of Limpopo 15th 0.3
Fort Hare University 16th 0.2
Durban University of Technology 17th 0.1


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