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Wits University shines in global academic rankings


Wits University has achieved remarkable improvement in its position in the prestigious Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2016-2017, announced on 21 September 2016.

The University has, for the first time, broken into the top 200 of the THE ranking. Wits University is ranked 182 and UCT 148.

The THE ranking method takes the following into account:

  • Teaching – makes up 30% of the score
  • Research – 30%
  • Citations – 30%
  • International outlook – 7,5%
  • Industry income – 2,5%

Wits scored 82.9 for citations. (Oxford University, ranked first overall, scored 99.2 for citations.) Wits has increased its research output by 37% since 2012 and this research is mainly in journals with high impact. 

Industry income looks at research income earned from industry and compares it with the number of academic staff. According to the THE, this category “suggests the extent to which businesses are willing to pay for research and a university’s ability to attract funding in the commercial marketplace – useful indicators of institutional quality.” Wits received the highest possible score of 100.  The California Institute of Technology, placed second overall, scored 90.8 here and MIT (fifth overall) scored 88.4. Oxford scored 62.5.

In its report on the rankings, the THE remarked that, “The University of the Witwatersrand … has had its highest ever rankings placement at 182. Not only does this make it the only non-European institution on the list of debutants [in the top 200], but it also marks the first time ever that Africa has had two universities in the top 200. The Johannesburg-based institution also closes the gap on the University of Cape Town, consistently South Africa’s highest-ranked university, to just 32 places, its narrowest ever gap.”

Recently Wits was ranked as the best research university in Africa in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016-2017. Wits is in 203rd place followed by UCT in 226th place.

Wits was also ranked highest among South African universities in 2016 by the Centre for World University Rankings at 176 and UCT at 265. Wits was placed 79th in the world for quality of education.

For the first time since the inception of the THE subject rankings in 2010-2011, Wits has entered the Top 100 (at 77th place) in the Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health (i.e. Medicine) subject area. The University of Cape Town has been present in the Top 100 for this ranking for the past five years and is currently in 61st position.

Wits Business School: “the comeback kid”

The Financial Mail’s annual Ranking the MBAs survey reports that Wits Business School has tied first with GIBS for reputation among employers. “Wits, after nearly a decade of internal turmoil, is the comeback kid.”

It adds: “Wits also holds its own [in second place] when employers name their best MBA/MBL programme.”