SA’s top nine universities list on ARWU’s global compilation

a picture of Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Stellenbosch University. File photo.

The Shanghai Ranking Consultancy has released its 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) of top 1000 institutions globally and features nine South African universities. 

Since 2003, ARWU has been presenting the world’s top universities annually based on a set of objective indicators and third-party data. 

Universities are ranked by academic and research performance, alumni and staff winning Nobel prizes, highly cited researchers, published papers in Nature and Science, papers indexed in major citation indices, and the per capita academic performance of an institution.

Harvard University tops the ranking list for the 18th year. Stanford University and the University of Cambridge remain in second and third, respectively.

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For South Africa, Wits topped the local ranking and closely matched across all categories with the University of Cape Town. However, Wits doubled UCT’s score in the category of highly-cited research.

Stellenbosch University ranks as third best university in the country, pushing past the University of Pretoria.

This year, of the eight universities ranked in 2019, half had improved their scores. Wits, Stellenbosch University, the University of Johannesburg and North West University have seen improvements.

Meanwhile, UCT, UP, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Unisa saw a drop in scores. Rhodes University grabs the ninth spot.