The University of Cape Town (UCT) has claimed the number one spot as Africa’s top ranked university, taking over from the University of Witwatersrand (Wits). Wits University was ranked the number one university in Africa for four consecutive years.

Last year, UCT was ranked the 259th best university in the world, and has now moved up to 223rd place.

The university made its way into the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) due to a changed methodology, which now makes use of research contribution to account for 70% of the total score. UCT has constantly strived to improve its research performance and therefore scores well in all research-related indicators, and also continues to increase its publications and citations year-on-year.

Speaking to DestinyConnect, UCT Media Liaison and Monitoring Officer, Aamirah Sonday, said that the university is proud and pleased to be ranked the top university in the country (and continent).

“While we regard our positions in international ranking systems with a measure of caution, we are happy to be counted as a leading university in South Africa and Africa and will continue to work with our partners across the continent in developing the expertise and capacity to solve Africa-specific problems and strengthen the continent’s voice in global debates,” said Sonday.

There are seven South African universities on this year’s rankings, and these include University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University, University of Johannesburg, North West University, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

The top universities in the world include Harvard University, which has been ranked at number one for seven consecutive years, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Cambridge and University of Oxford.

CWUR ranks universities according to seven factors, including quality of teaching, alumni employment, quality of faculty, quality of publications, influence, citations and research output.

The USA has eight representatives in the top 10, which has been the case since the rankings started in 2012, and 213 in the top 1 000. Some 108 Chinese universities made the top 1 000 this year, up from 97 in 2017 and 90 in 2016.

Below illustrates how South Africa’s universities rank on a global scale:

2018 Rank 2017 Rank University Score
223 259 University of Cape Town 77.9
230 181 University of Witwatersrand 77.7
402 445 University of KwaZulu-Natal 74.9
438 726 University of Pretoria 74.5
448 330 Stellenbosch University 74.3
790 951 University of Johannesburg 71.2

Picture: Pixabay

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Lucinda is a lifestyle writer with a hard news edge, and recent journalism graduate. She enjoys reading travel blogs and loves animals.