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UWC Ranked Among World’s Best Universities (Again): QS World University

When it came time to compile a link of the leading research and teaching universities around the globe, global higher education analysts Quacquarelli Symonds knew one name had to be on it (again): the University of the Western Cape. The latest release of the QS World University Rankings has added UWC among the top 1000 universities worldwide (and ranked it as 139 in BRICS) - again.

“Our placing in these rankings has not happened by chance – it is a testament to the significant strides we have made in terms of our research outputs,” says Professor Tyrone Pretorius, UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

“We have produced world-class research into everything from astrophysics to food security to visual history, and creative students and staff who’ve developed brilliant apps, built successful businesses or written bestselling novels, to name just a few. And we will continue to grow our impact.”

Over 80,000 academics and 40,000 employers contributed to the rankings through the QS global surveys, while QS said it analysed 99 million citations from 10.3 million papers, and 1,000 institutions were ranked. Six indicators are used to score the universities’ ranking: academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), and faculty student ratio (20%), citations per faculty (20%), international students (5%) and international staff (5%).

“UWC’s inclusion in the top 1000 universities worldwide speaks favourably of our growing reputation,” says Prof Pretorius. “Among academics, we are known for our work in a variety of fields. And among external employers, we are well known for the quality of our graduate outcomes, and the way UWC alumni transform industries.”

Eight South African universities made it to the QS top 1000: the University of Cape Town (198); the University of the Witwatersrand (400); Stellenbosch University (427); University of Johannesburg (501-560); University of Pretoria (801-1000); Rhodes University (801-1000); University of KwaZulu-Natal (801-1000); and UWC, naturally (801-1000).

UWC: Recognized International Excellence

UWC’s inclusion among the top 1000 international institutions in the QS World University Rankings 2019/2020 ranking comes on top of the University’s inclusion in the top 1000 in the 2018 URAP ratings, and among the top 800 -and top 200 in emerging economies - in the Times Higher Education rankings.

“As a previously disadvantaged institution, the University of the Western Cape has made significant strides in a very short period of time,” says Prof Pretotrius. “I would like to express a big thank you to all our researchers and academics who are playing a pivotal role in putting UWC on the global map.”  

It’s also the only South African university to have been ranked among the world’s top 200 higher education institutions in the very first Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019, recognizing its academic freedom policies, efforts towards gender equality and taking action against climate change.

“This is not just a proud moment for UWC, but for South Africa as well,” says Prof Pretorius. “From humble origins as a ‘bush university’, UWC has grown to firmly establish itself as one of the world leaders in academic excellence - we welcomed the challenge of transcending the past, and today we have come a long way. UWC's success story is a metaphor for South Africa - and if we can make it, then South Africa can make it.”


Not sure what makes the University of the Western Cape so great? Here are a few UWC numbers you might find interesting:

  • 1: UWC is the only South African university ranked among the world’s top 200 higher education institutions in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019, a pioneering initiative to recognise universities across the world for their social and economic impact.
  • 7: Since 2013, UWC Careers Service has featured consistently in the Top 7 of “Best Careers Service” and “Best Career Fair” categories in the South African Graduate Employers Association (SAGEA) national employer benchmark survey among leading recruiters
  • 20: UWC held just one South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in 2008 - and currently holds 18 of them, providing leadership in research and capacity-building in areas from Astrophysics to Health Systems Governance to Visual History (and more)
  • 22: Out of over 3 000 students from 26 universities in the 2018 GradConnection Top 100 Future Leaders Awards, 22% of the Top 100 were from just one university - the University of the Western Cape.
  • 146%: That’s how much the University of the Western Cape’s DHET-accredited research output grew from 2007 to 2017, as the University took its place as one of Africa’s premier research institutions..
  • 600: The 33-year partnership between UWC and the University of Missouri has seen over 600 academic exchanges between students and staff, strengthening international collaboration and research.
  • 2 500: UWC’sResearch Repository holds over 2 500 open access papers by researchers in a variety of fields, making knowledge accessible to anybody in the world, free of charge.

Looking for more interesting UWC facts? Why not check these out here, by the numbers? And why not find out about five fascinating UWC firsts, while you’re at it?