The University of Cape Town continues to be regarded as South Africa's top university, according to an authoritative annual international study. Wits University ranks second and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is third.
However, UCT moved down in the global ranking of the QS World University Ranking for 2021, which is published by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company specialising in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world. The ranking is published annually.
UCT is now at number 220 in the world, a drop of 22 places from its position last year, when it was ranked 198[sup]th[/sup]. Wits University is in 403th position in the world this year, down by three places from last year.
University of Johannesburg bucks the downward trend
While most of our top institutions either dropped down the QS rankings or remained steady, UJ bucked the trend and is now ranked at 439[sup]th[/sup] in the world, which means it is on a consistent upward climb.
For the first time it is now listed on the top 500. For the previous year it was in a band of institutions ranked as 501-510 in the world. The year prior to that it was in the band 551-560.
UJ's climb up the ladder means that Stellenbosch University drops into fourth spot after previously being ranked third in South Africa.
The other SA universities ranked in the world's top 1 000 institutions are University of Pretoria, Rhodes University and University of KZN. The University of the Western Cape was previously listed in the top 1 000 but has now dropped out of the rankings.
MIT is still the best university in the world, says study
In the overall global ranking, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US was named the world's best university for the ninth consecutive year. Three other American institutions follow: Stanford University , Harvard University and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in fourth.
Britain's venerable Oxford University is in 5[sup]th[/sup] spot and ETH Zurich in Switzerland is 6[sup]th[/sup].