UCT remains top in Africa

17 June 2022 | Story Staff writer. Photo Robin Thuynsma. Read time 3 min.
UCT is the best university in Africa, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings 2023.
UCT is the best university in Africa, according to the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings 2023.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been ranked top in Africa and 237th in the world by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2023. UCT shares the position with King Saud University (Saudi Arabia) and the University of Ottawa (Canada).

“UCT is pleased to continue to be recognised as a top-tier and globally competitive university,” said UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation Professor Sue Harrison.

“Although rankings cannot offer us a complete measure of the quality of a university, they are a way to highlight the excellent research and teaching being done in the country and on the continent.”

UCT remains the best university in Africa, according to QS, moving up 0.7 percentage points to be within the top 16.7% internationally. This is despite a slight drop of 11 places compared with last year’s rankings. This is due to the relative nature of rankings and the increase in the number of universities rated by QS this year: 1 422 institutions from around the world, 124 more than last year, were ranked, including nine from South Africa.


“UCT is pleased to continue to be recognised as a top-tier and globally competitive university.”

This year, QS used its usual six weighted performance indicators and two new unweighted indicators to evaluate universities in its world rankings. The six weighted performance indicators are: academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), citations per faculty member (20%), faculty-to-student ratio (20%), international staff ratio (5%) and international student ratio (5%). The two new unweighted indicators are international research network and employment outcomes.

The international research network indicator reflects the ability of institutions to diversify the geography of their international research network by establishing sustainable research partnerships with other institutions. The employment outcomes metric combines the graduate employment rate (proportion of graduates not pursuing further study in employment within 12 months of graduation) and the alumni outcomes index (graduate alma maters from over 150 high-achiever lists).

UCT scored above 90% for these new indicators and ranked 64th and 53rd in the world, respectively.

UCT’s next best performance was for the employer reputation indicator, which jumped up 61 places from the previous year to 166th. UCT’s performance in the academic reputation indicator remained steady, moving down just four places to 190th.

Both reputation indicators are based on global surveys: the employer reputation indicator is based on responses from employers asked to identify the institutions from which they source the most competent and innovative graduates, and the academic indicator is a collation of expert opinions in higher education regarding universities’ teaching and research quality.

Leading the QS world rankings for the 11th consecutive year is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States), followed by the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) and Stanford University (United States).

UCT’s development studies is 9th worldwide

UCT continues to perform well in the QS World University Rankings by Subject. In the most recent rankings, released earlier this year, development studies at UCT was ranked ninth in the world and a further four subjects featured in the top 100. These were anthropology, architecture/built environment, geography and medicine. An additional 10 subjects ranked in the 101–150 range.

View the complete QS World University Rankings 2023.

Read more about the methodology used by the QS World University Rankings.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.

Highlights from 2022


As we look back on 2022, we celebrate some of the stories that were popular with readers of the UCT News website during the year.

Vision 2030 Logo