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UJ surges ahead with phenomenal gains in QS World University Rankings – debut in Top 500 and 3rd in South Africa

The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) global standing and academic robustness have been given a significant boost, with a rise of 62 places from last year (2020)’s global ranking position in the latest QS World University Rankings. In the process, UJ has now broken into the top 500 position for the first time, according to the results released on Wednesday, 10 June 2020. The University is now globally at position 439. Not only has the University improved upon its overall score, it is now ranked at 3rd position in South Africa, and 4th in Africa. UJ was the only university in South Africa that climbed the rankings.

This exceptional feat comes fresh on the back of the University’s upward trajectory in the the 2020-21 Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) and the URAP (University Ranking by Academic Performance) Field Rankings, published last week.

In the URAP rankings, released on the 6 June 2020, UJ featured and ranked in 18 of the 61 URAP Field Rankings, three more than last year; holding the top spots in the country for four of the fields: Sociology (187); Commerce, Management, Tourism & Services (370); Chemical Engineering (414); and Materials Engineering (480). Additionally, UJ was ranked in the top 200 in the world in the Philosophy (132) and Anthropology (159) fields.

In the CWUR Rankings, released on Monday 8 June 2020, UJ is the only South African university inside the top ten nationally to have improved and climbed this year from its previous position. The University climbed by a considerable 55 places from last year’s 2019-20 global ranking, retained its excellent position as one of the best universities in the world out of 20 000 universities surveyed.

The QS World University Rankings are based on six performance indicators, related to global academic and employer reputation, research output and quality, internationalisation, and teaching and learning. UJ’s high overall score was achieved, in part, by its increased cohort of international staff and students, which is well above the national average of participating South African universities.

Notably, UJ also improved its performance in the International Students category, with a score increase of 10.5 points from 38.5 to 49.0 – the largest improvement in score among our indicator scores. In this area, UJ is now ranked in the top 300 globally at position 295, a climb of 60 places from 355 – the largest improvement in global rank among our indicator global ranks.

Says Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, UJ: “This is a tremendous accomplishment and recognition for UJ. The latest global rankings reaffirm the fact that our academic programmes remain strong and relevant, as we continue with our mission to position UJ as the international university of choice, anchored in Africa and dynamically shaping the future.”

“These rankings are a wonderful tribute to the sustained work by of our staff and students as we continue to forge ahead and scale new heights.”


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