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How do SA universities stack up?

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South African universities are among the world’s best for their expertise in Development Studies, one of 36 disciplines covered in QS World University Rankings by Subject, published this week at topuniversities.com.
South African institutions receive their highest rankings within the new subject of Development Studies, in which University of Cape Town is seventh worldwide, and University of The Witwatersrand ties for 15th.

In that subject, four additional South African institutions are also placed in the global top 100: Stellenbosch University; University of Johannesburg; University of KwaZulu-Natal; and University of Pretoria.

University of Cape Town is also in the top 50 for Geography, tying for 39th, while ranking in the top 100 for six subjects in total. Other stand out performers in the top 100 worldwide are Stellenbosch University for Agriculture & Forestry, and University of The Witwatersrand in Geography.

The University of Cape Town ranks in 23 subjects, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Pretoria both rank in 11 subjects, Stellenbosch University range in 10 subjects, University of KwaZulu-Natal in four, Rhodes University in two and University of Johannesburg in one.

They also cumulatively appear 15 times among the Top 100 across the disciplines ranked.
“These rankings provide a unique opportunity for South African institutions to be recognised for their specialised prowess in certain disciplines, something not seen in overall institutional rankings” says QS head of research Ben Sowter.

The rankings also feature a strong performance from Asian institutions, particularly in the STEM disciplines, with eight universities listed in the top 20 for at least one STEM subject matter, showing that regional strength in those areas of education.

In Asia, STEM institutions continue to flourish with Singapore’s National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) dominate the regional representation within the rankings, placing 1st regionally in 21 out of the 36 subjects. Nine Asian universities rank within the top ten in 16 subjects ranked.

The United States and the United Kingdom continue to dominate the top of tables with traditionally strong institutions, achieving 1st place in 27 and 7 subjects respectively. However, while the tables continue to vastly be led by universities from the UK or US, Switzerland’s ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) was ranked 1st globally for Earth & Marine Sciences, and 5th in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, achieving the status of highest ranking EU based institution in both subjects.