UCT best on the continent

10 June 2020 | Story Lisa Boonzaier. Photo University of Cape Town. Read time 2 min.
UCT has been ranked 220th in the world by the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings 2021.
UCT has been ranked 220th in the world by the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings 2021.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been ranked 220th in the world by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2021. These latest rankings place UCT at the top in the country and on the continent for another year.

Although UCT’s position fell by 22 places compared to last year, it remains the best university in Africa. It is also among the top 19% of universities evaluated by QS.

Of the six indicators that QS uses in its evaluation, academic reputation remains UCT’s strongest performer despite a drop of nine places in the new listing. This indicator contributes the most (40%) to an institution’s overall score and is based on a global survey of experts in higher education regarding universities’ teaching and research quality.

The other five indicators used by QS are employer reputation, faculty-to-student ratio, citations per faculty member, international staff ratio and international student ratio.

As they all rely on quantifiable characteristics, none of the university rankings can give a comprehensive overview of an institution. However, they do give an indication of a university’s competitiveness and standing internationally.

This year, QS published the top 1 000 global institutions, including seven from South Africa. Leading the rankings for the ninth consecutive year is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), followed by Stanford University and Harvard University.

QS subject rankings

Earlier this year, UCT performed well in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020, with a total of seven subjects featuring in the top 100.

UCT’s development studies – ranked 10th in the world – was the best performing. The six other subject areas placed in the top 100 globally were anatomy and physiology, anthropology, archaeology, architecture/built environment, geography, and medicine.

See the QS World University Rankings 2021.

Read about the QS World University Rankings methodology.

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Research & innovation

UCT aspires to become a premier academic meeting point between South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world. Taking advantage of expanding global networks and our distinct vantage point in Africa, we are committed , through innovative research and scholarship, to grapple with the key issues of our natural and social worlds. We are committed both to protecting and encouraging 'curiosity-driven research' and research that has a real impact on our communities and environment.