The University of Cape Town has maintained its upward trend in the annual Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, moving up four places to 141st place for the 2014/2015 ranking cycle. The university was ranked 145 last year. The rankings will be released on 16 September 2014.
QS Rankings compare the top 800 institutions around the globe, looking at criteria related to research, employability of graduates, teaching and international outlook.
UCT's QS ranking has risen steadily over the last five years, achieving the following positions: 161 (2010), 156 (2011), 154 (2012), 145 (2013) and most recently, 141 for 2014/2015.
UCT's faculties have also performed well: the university is ranked in the top 100 in the "Life Sciences and Medicine" area, and just outside the top 100 in "Arts and Humanities".
UCT remains the top-ranked African university in the QS World University Rankings. In June, the QS University Rankings: BRICS 2014 ranked UCT among the top 10 universities in the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).
Similarly, in August this year, the 2014 Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked UCT among the top 300 universities in the world, maintaining its position of top university in Africa. UCT is currently ranked 126th (and again the top university in Africa) in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2013/2014; their 2014/2015 rankings will be released in October.
Professor Danie Visser, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research at UCT, says while UCT continues to perform well in international rankings, it is important to look at their context. "None of the rankings give a perfect view of a university," says Professor Visser. "In particular, they do not take into account some of the crucial roles universities play developing countries. They do not, for instance, measure the extent of a university's social engagement - its responsiveness to the communities around us and in the rest of Southern Africa - or the degree to which a university develops capacity in Africa, growing the next generation of researchers. Both of these are crucial to UCT's mission."
However, a significant common factor in all rankings is the quality of research by an institution. "In this regard, UCT's ranking is indicative of an ongoing track record of research and academic excellence as well as a consistently high international standing and reputation," says Professor Visser. UCT currently has 34 A-rated researchers and more than 450 National Research Foundation rated researchers. The university hosts 33 Chairs awarded by the Department of Science and Technology's South African Research Chairs Initiative. In 2013, UCT published more than 2 000 journal articles, 280 books and chapters in books, and more than 300 peer-reviewed conference proceedings.
Rankings remain important, according to Professor Visser: "A strong performance by UCT, as well as other South African universities, in international rankings helps to send out the message that students can receive a quality education in South Africa and Africa, and that Africa has world-class universities that produce cutting-edge research."
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