UCT’s development studies rank 12th in the world

23 March 2023 | Story Staff writer. Photo Je’nine May. Read time 2 min.
UCT is one of the best places in the world for development studies, according to the latest subject rankings from Quacquarelli Symonds.
UCT is one of the best places in the world for development studies, according to the latest subject rankings from Quacquarelli Symonds.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been placed in 12th position for development studies and has three further subjects in the global top 100, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject 2023, released on 22 March 2023.

“UCT is proud that we continue to shine internationally in fields of study that address the continent’s most pressing problems,” said Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation Professor Sue Harrison.

“While rankings such as these rely on metrics that cannot capture comprehensively the complex realities on the ground, it is important that research and teaching from the continent are recognised internationally, giving African-centred knowledge a global voice.”

This year, QS analysed information of 1 594 institutions across 54 subjects and UCT was ranked 32.

UCT’s four subjects ranked in the top 100 are as follows:

  • development studies (12th)
  • anthropology (51–100 range)
  • geography (51–100 range)
  • medicine (tied 94th).

An additional nine subjects ranked in the 101–150 range: agriculture and forestry; archaeology; architecture / built environment; earth and marine sciences; English language and literature; environmental sciences; geology; geophysics, and history.

In the five broad subject areas identified by QS (into which all the subjects are divided), UCT ranked as follows:

  • arts and humanities (tied 192nd)
  • engineering and technology (tied 270th)
  • life sciences and medicine (tied 113th)
  • natural sciences (tied 215th)
  • social sciences and management (tied 180th).

UCT’s strongest broad subject area is life sciences and medicine, at 113th position, followed by social sciences and management and then arts and humanities, both in the top 200 worldwide.

To produce these rankings, QS combines information from five sources: two global surveys of academics and employers to assess global reputation; two indicators (research citations per paper and h-index in the relevant subject) to estimate the impact and quality of scientific work; and the international research network indicator, which is a measure of the efficiency of establishing stable research collaborations. These are weighted differently depending on the discipline.

UCT’s other leading subjects

In October 2022, Times Higher Education (THE) released their latest subject rankings and UCT’s best-performing subject was clinical and health, tied 77th place globally. Four additional subjects at UCT ranked in the top 200: education, law, life sciences, and social sciences.

In the US News & World Report Best Global Universities Subject Rankings 2022–2023 published in November last year, UCT had five subjects in the top 100. Infectious diseases was the top-ranked subject in 24th position worldwide. The other four subjects were immunology; public, environmental and occupational health; social sciences; and public health and psychiatry/psychology.  

Review the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.

Read more about the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023 methodology.

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