The Best Subjects to Study at South Africa’s top Universities in 2018

US News & World Report has released the 2018 Best Global Universities rankings – which includes a list of the top 11 tertiary learning institutions in South Africa.

The overall rankings evaluate 1,250 universities – up from 1,000 last year – across 74 countries and are the largest and most comprehensive assessment of research universities worldwide, it says.

In addition to rankings of the world’s top 1,250 universities overall and by region and country, the rankings include an examination of the leaders in key academic subject areas. US News used a separate methodology to publish the top global universities in 22 subject areas.

These subject-specific rankings – which are not of academic majors, departments or specific schools at universities, such as business or medical schools – are based on academic research performance in those subjects. US News has used various bibliometric measures, including publications and citations, as well as indicators for global and regional reputation in each specific subject.

The bibliometric indicators are based on data from the Web of Science for the five-year period from 2011-2015. The Web of Science is a web-based research platform that covers more than 18,000 of the most influential and authoritative scholarly journals worldwide in the sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities.

Top Universities in South Africa:

SA # Global # University
1 113 University of Cape Town
2 216 University of Witwatersrand
3 336= University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
4 359= Stellenbosch University
5 453= University of Pretoria
6 457= University of Johannesburg
7 731= University of the Western Cape
8 781= North-West University
9 925= Rhodes University
10 1019= University of the Free State
11 1034= University of South Africa

On a ranking by subject basis, the country’s leading university, UCT, featured in 14 subjects including several medical related courses where it scored well, and Space Science, where it ranks in the top 150 institutions globally.

South Africa’s second placed institution, the University of the Witwatersrand, scored in seven of the report’s 22 subjects, including Social Sciences and Public Health (69th globally) while it also scored favourably in several medical subjects.

Other noticeable performances by local universities included: Stellenbosch University for agricultural related subjects in Agricultural Sciences (90th) and Environment/Ecology (125th), while the University of Pretoria scored well for Plant and Animal Science (63rd).