UCT up two places in latest world rankings

19 June 2024 | Story Staff writer. Photo Lerato Maduna. Read time 4 min.
UCT remains the best university in Africa, according to the 2025 Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.
UCT remains the best university in Africa, according to the 2025 Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.

Ranked 171st globally by the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2025, the University of Cape Town (UCT) falls just outside the top 10% of all ranked universities. UCT rose two places compared with the previous year. The university was also placed within the top 50 universities globally on three of the nine indicators within the ranking methodology: International Research Networks, Employment Outcomes, and Sustainability.

“UCT is delighted to record yet another positive result in the rankings backed by the university community and the important initiatives supporting this work,” said Vice-Chancellor interim Emeritus Professor Daya Reddy. “It is affirming to be ranked as the continent’s leading and most sustainable university. At UCT, we boast a strong research community that engages effectively, and with significant impact, through our strategic international research partnerships.”

Breaking down the methodology

QS maintained the nine indicators used in the previous year to evaluate universities in this 21st edition of their world rankings. These nine performance indicators (with weightings) are: academic reputation (30%); citations per faculty member (20%); employer reputation (15%); employment outcomes (5%); faculty-to-student ratio (10%); international faculty ratio (5%); international student ratio (5%); international research networks (5%); and sustainability (5%).


“Our performance in the reputation indicator and the academic reputation indicator is a testament to our commitment to academic excellence.”

A total of 1 503 institutions from around the world were ranked, including 11 from South Africa. Climbing 13 positions to 36th globally for the indicator International Research Network, UCT was also placed 46th for Employment Outcomes and 50th in Sustainability (tied with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, University College Dublin and University of Liverpool).

The international research network indicator, introduced in 2023, assesses the richness and diversity of an institution’s international research partnerships. The sustainability indicator evaluates the social and environmental impact of universities as centres of education and research. UCT was ranked top in South Africa in the Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, and Sustainability indicators.

Reflecting on UCT’s performance in some of the indicators, Emeritus Professor Reddy said: “Our performance in the academic and the employer reputation indicators is a testament to our commitment not only to research excellence but also our teaching and learning. This is reflected in the calibre of the competent and innovative graduates we produce every year, graduates who go out into the world to become industry and thought leaders, while contributing towards addressing the complex and critical challenges facing our country, our continent and the world at large.”

UCT’s performance in the reputation indicators showed an improvement of five places in the academic indicator and remained within the top 200 in both reputation indicators.

The employer reputation indicator ranked at 170th position and the academic reputation indicator at 185th position. Both indicators are based on global surveys with the former based on responses from employers asked to identify the institutions from which they source the most competent and innovative graduates, while the latter is a collation of expert opinions in higher education regarding universities’ teaching and research quality.

Leading the QS world rankings for the 13th consecutive year is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States), followed by the Imperial College London and the University of Oxford (both in the United Kingdom).

View the complete QS World University Rankings 2025.

Read more about the methodology used by the QS World University Rankings 2025.

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