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University Rankings South Africa

Universities are ranked according to six different metrics which are combined to accurately capture the overall performance of the university. These metrics include the following:


  • Academic reputation
  • Employer Reputation
  • Faculty/Student Ratio
  • Citations per faculty
  • International Faculty Ratio
  • International Student Ratio


The rankings you see below are internationally-based, but do give a clear picture as to which universities are performing well in the country and how they are performing when compared to international institutions. 

The rankings of universities also include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as measurements. These sustainable development goals are in place to address the challenges that the world faces including poverty, inequality, peace, and justice. Because universities are hubs of innovation and futurism, it makes sense that these sustainable development goals are metrics to measure them by. 

Many of the universities listed on this site are working towards achieving these or similar goals, with a focus on how these can be achieved in an African and Southern African context. Some are making significant strides towards achieving these goals, especially in terms of research and technology. Southern Africa is fast becoming a hub for technological innovation, and this is helping to improve the rankings of the universities across the country. 

Looking at a university’s ranking will help prospective students to choose an establishment that is right for their needs and will show them which institutions are active in their communities and the world at large. There are many institutions and colleges who are delivering stellar results, with alumni who are forging ahead and making real changes in the world. 

The rankings do change each year based on the data gathered and analysed using the six metrics mentioned above. 

The Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings ranked the top South African universities as follows in the 2018 edition.

SA RankWorld RankUniversity
1171University of Cape Town
2251-300University of the Witwatersrand
3351–400Stellenbosch University
4401-500University of KwaZulu-Natal
5601–800University of Pretoria
6601-800University of Johannesburg
7601-800University of the Western Cape
8801-1000University of South Africa