top 10 universities in SA 2020

Source: UP Gallery

This article will rank the local top 10 universities based the THE University Rankings that are available online, this article however will give you more information on what metrics give that university that particular ranking and how you should analyze the findings. Remember these rankings are not indicative of where you should study, you should always look at your career goals first then based on that select the university that gives you the best chance of achieving those goals. For example, when I was looking for an engineering school I looked for a university that had a good repuation for engineers, and this was confirmed to me by the large faculty, the investments they have made into their labs and facilities, and also the engineering companies that are close to the university. However, the university was not ranked first on the rankings, but for my career goals it turned out to be a better choice. To find out more about how to select a universitity, read our Complete Guide to Choosing a Univerisity 2020.

Top 10 South African Universities 2020 (The World rank)

Each university is judged in five categories covering the core missions of all world-class, global universities: Teaching, Research, Citations (research influence), Industry Income and International Outlook as described on the image below.

Source: THE University Rankings

 

1. University of Cape Town (136)

Interesting facts:

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is the oldest university in South Africa, located in Western Cape province with a student population of about 29 000 and is the leading research intensive university in Africa. Some notable alumni include Mark Shuttleworth Inventor and  first South African to Space, David Fenning Emmy award producer, Max Theiler Nobel prize winner, Ludwick marishane inventor of Dribath and many others which can be found here.

Score

Teaching (How well the material is presented): 33.2/100

Research (output and quality of research): 42.29100

Industry income (Alumni income in industry): 85.3/100

Citations (How often their researchers are cited): 90.3/100

International Outlook (WHat international students think of the university): 81.8/100

Has the highest rank for the faculty of pre-clinical, clinical and health, with a rating of 43.5 on Research and 42 on Teaching.

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2. University of the Witwatersrand (194)

Interesting facts:

The university of mining, politics and business. The University of the Witwatersrand also known as Wits, is situated in the most industrialized and vibrant city in in the country, Johannesburg. Wits was started as a mining school during the Apartheid era, but has evolved to become an important academic institution in South Africa having many notable political and business leaders. Wits also has one of 2 football clubs playing in the premeir league of South Africa. Wits acquired the Sterkfontein and Swartkrans sites in the 1960s, both of which were rich in fossil remains of early hominids. In 1999, the area was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as the Cradle of Humankind. Some notable alumni include Benedict Vilakazi, the first black South African to receive a Phd, Ferial Hafajee M&G editor, Gary Barber former CEO and Chairman of Metro-Goldwyn, Adrian Gore CEO of Discovery, Nelson Mandela also attended here but never graduated, read the full list here.

Score:

Teaching (How well the material is presented): 31.2/100

Research (Output and quality of research): 43.2/100

Industry income (Alumni income in industry): 100/100

Citations (How often their researchers are cited): 78.8/100

International Outlook (What international students think of the university): 73.7/100

Has the highest rank for the faculty of pre-clinical, clinical and health, with a rating of 41.4 on Research and 34.3 on Teaching.

3. Stellenbosch University (251-300)

Interesting facts:

The Law and business university. The university is second oldest university in the country and one of few universities that are predominantly Afrikaans. The business school is ranked as one of the top 100 in the world. Koos Bekker of Naspers is also an alumni there, Christo Wiese of Pepkor, Beyers Naude, Markus Jooste from Steinhoof, Johan Rupert of Richemont, Jan smuts and many more prominent alumni mostly from the Apartheid era.

Score:

Teaching (How well the material is presented): 29.5/100

Research (Output and quality of research): 34.6/100

Industry income (Alumni income in industry): 59.1/100

Citations (How often their researchers are cited): 74.4/100

International Outlook (What international students think of the university): 54.8/100

Has the highest rank for the faculty of pre-clinical, clinical and health, with a rating of 37.6 on Research and 25.8 on Teaching.

4. University of KwaZulu-Natal (401-500)

Interesting facts:

It was formed on 1 January 2004 after the merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. So it is quite impressive to even be on the list, it also known for its strong engineering and science departments one of the best in the world. Some notable Alumni include Steve Biko anti-Apartheid activist, Alan Paton author, Gerald Pillay VC of Liverpool Hope University. 

Score:

Teaching (How well the material is presented): 25.4/100

Research (output and quality of research): 28.7/100

Industry income (Alumni income in the industry): 36.8/100

Citations (How often their researchers are cited): 90.3/100

International Outlook (WHat international students think of the university): 55/100

Has the highest rank for the faculty of pre-clinical, clinical and health, with a rating of 27.1 on Research and 22.2 on Teaching. They also have a good engineering faculty.

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5. North-West University (501-600)

Interesting facts:

It is actually the biggest fulltime student university in South Africa, second biggest in terms of overall students, the first is one is UNISA.  They are good with rugby and netball, they also offer postgraduate distance studies for nurses even in remote locations. Some of the most notable Alumni are Katlego Moswane and Demi leigh peters who was the Miss universe and Miss south africa 2017. 

Score:

Teaching (How well the material is presented): 20.1/100

Research (Output and quality of research): 17.1/100

Industry income (Alumni income in the industry): 41.1/100

Citations (How often their researchers are cited): 69.9/100

International Outlook (What international students think of the university): 43.3/100

6. University of Johannesburg (601-800)

There is no data from THE on the UJ output, but we can safely say they doing well because they are on the list. 

UJ is another vibrant university in the heart of johannesburg alongside Wits, and one of the most popular universities in SA. In prides itself as being diverse, vibrant and a forward-thinking university with a strong focus on technology or as they currently put it, the fourth industrial revolution. It has four main campuses which make it easy for students who live in different parts of the city to study, it is also multicultural with a great mix race, gender and international students. The University of Johannesburg is also ranked high in terms of engineering and technology (THE) and QS rankings ranks it high in the subjects Development studies, Geography and Law.

Although it has the highest reseachers working in the faculty of sciences than other faculties. UJ is one of the few universities with a broad range of sports and state of the art sport facilities and athletes who participate in the Olympics. Some notable alumni are Francois pienaar, Zibusiso founder of Avatar, and Bonang Matheba.

7. University of Pretoria (601-800)

Interesting facts:

UP as it is commonly called is one of the most prestigious universities and former Afrikaans university but it is slowly transforming into a more diversified university in terms of culture and race. The university is situated in the capital city of South Africa Pretoria, and the most preferred choice between those who prefer Pretoria over Johannesburg. The university has several campuses one of which is in Mamelodi township, which makes convenient for students who reside in townships just like the Soweto campus by UJ. The university also has one the best engineering faculty especially the mechanical engineering department with state of the art facilities and having affiliations with one of the best universities such as MIT. The university also has an independent postgraduate business unit offering GIBS which has the highest ranked MBA in Africa ranked 60th overall in the world. Some notable Alumni include CEO’s of fortune 500 campanies and JSE Top 40 such as Anton Rupert, Marius Kloppers, Meyer Khan, Caster Semenya thlete, Oscar Pretorius athlete, and four former Springboks captain including Victor Matfield. 

Score:

Teaching (How well the material is presented): 25.1/100

Research (Output and quality of research): 30.1/100

Industry income (Alumni income in the industry): 41.1/100

Citations (How often their researchers are cited): 33/100

International Outlook (What international students think of the university): 52/100

8.University of the Western Cape

Interesting facts:

It is one of the less popular universities in South Africa, but one of the significant university in the transformation of the country. Initially the goverment created it for colored people during apartheid years but has developed to be a world class academic institution. The university is fairly small compared to other universities in the country and can be seen as competing in the same city with UCT, just like UJ and Wits are in the same city. The university has 7 faculties; Education, Natural Science, Business , Arts, Economic & Management, Comunity & Health, and also Dentistry.

9. Tshwane University of Technology

One of the most popular universities in South Africa, especially technical graduates. Contrary to popular belief TUT is actually a good university in spite of political unrest in recent years, for the fact that it was only established in 2004, the university is not doing bad at all with nine campuses spread across the country which makes it accessible to many students in the country. It can also be viewed as technical college as it has a lot of academic programmes that are practical and technical in nature which gives students many options to choose from based on their skills.

10. University of South Africa

UNISA, as it is mostly referred to, is mostly a distance learning university where people can study online or through remote locations all over the country. It is also the largest university in the country with most graduates than any other university. From its annual student intake of over 370 000 students, Unisa produces approximately 50% of South African teachers and social workers, while the College of Law accounts for a significant number of the country’s law graduates. The university is also a great choice for those who want to study part-time an undergraduate degree or those who can’t afford to study full time due to work commitments. 

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