The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been ranked 121st globally – and top in South Africa and on the continent – in the sixth edition of the US News Best Global Universities rankings.
The Best Global Universities rankings differ from most other widely recognised world university rankings because they focus solely on research. The methodology measures a university’s global and regional research reputation and academic research performance, using indicators such as publications, citations (the number of times a publication is referred to) and international collaboration.
Despite a slight improvement in the university’s overall score this year, UCT dropped seven places to 121st position. This is because scores are ranked which means performance is relative; if other institutions show better improvement in their scores, they displace their counterparts downwards in the rankings.
This year, 1 500 universities – up from 1 250 last year – were assessed by US News.
In the Subject rankings, released simultaneously, UCT ranked in the top 100 globally for three subjects: immunology (56th), microbiology (72nd), and social sciences and public health (73rd).
Another nine subjects were ranked in the top 200: clinical medicine (110th), plant and animal science (113th), cardiac and cardiovascular systems (120th), environment/ecology (134th), arts and humanities (165th), geosciences (163rd), psychiatry/psychology (127th), space science (165th), and physics (152nd).
Cardiac and cardiovascular systems – in which UCT was ranked 120th – is one of six new subject areas introduced by US News this year. This brings the total number of subjects they rank to 28.
Each has its own methodology based on academic research performance and reputation, and is tailored to the different publication characteristics of that field.
Rankings of the year
UCT has done very well in global rankings this year. Just last month, the university climbed 20 places to 136th position in the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.
UCT leads in Africa in all the five major world university rankings, the other three being Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings, ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities and the Center for World University Rankings.
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