Johannesburg – South Africa’s universities rank in the top 100 places in the world according to academics and employers, says the sixth edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, released Tuesday.
Published on TopUniversities.com, the rankings feature a record-breaking 42 disciplines, making it the largest-ever world subject rankings.
Four South African universities are in the top 50, while the University of Cape Town ranks in the top 10 for Development Studies.
South Africa’s universities take 21 top-100 places in these tables, six more than in last year’s edition.
The expert opinion of 76 798 academics and 44 426 employers informed the results, alongside the analysis of 28.5 million research papers and over 113 million citations sourced from the Scopus/Elsevier bibliometric database.
Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) continue to dominate, leading in 24 subjects between them. Each takes 12 leading positions.
South Africa’s highest finish is achieved by the University of Cape Town in Development Studies (joint 9th).
The University of the Witwatersrand follows close behind in the same subject, rising from 15th to joint 14th.
The same university comes 26th in QS’s inaugural Archaeology rankings, while UCT ranks joint 46th for Geography. Between them, these two universities take 17 of South Africa’s 21 top-100 places across the 42 subject tables.
South African universities are also acknowledged by QS as having improved their research impact.
The average score for South African universities in both of the the two metrics used to measure this indicator of university performance – citations per faculty and h-index -has increased year-on-year.
The average employer reputation score of South Africa’s universities also increases by nearly two percentage points, while the average academic reputation score increases by a fraction of a percentage point.