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The best subjects to study at South Africa’s top 13 universities

The University Ranking by Academic Performance has published its field rankings for 2022, indicating the best universities in South Africa based on the subjects they offer.

The URAP ranking system focuses on academic quality, with scores based on a university’s performance over several indicators, including current scientific productivity, research impact, research quality, and international acceptance.

Both quality and quantity of publications and international research collaboration performance are used as indicators.

The subject ranking looks at 79 fields of study across various faculties, including humanities, medical, sciences and technology. 19 South African universities ranked in over 50 fields, and even featuring in the top 100 for some subjects.

The University of Cape Town was ranked in 42 fields, including four where it was the only local university to make the cut.

The University of the Witwatersrand was the second-most ranked university, appearing in 40 subject lists, followed closely by Stellenbosch University, which featured in 39 rankings.

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Aside from UCT’s exclusive subjects, the University of Johannesburg was also uniquely featured in three subject rankings, while the University of Pretoria, the Tshwane University of Technology and the University of KwaZulu Natal were exclusively ranked in one subject each.

South Africa’s universities perform best in subjects relating to public health and infectious diseases, as well as social sciences and anthropology. Other stand-out subjects include zoology and veterinary sciences.

The tables below outline the best-ranked subjects at each of South African universities featured on the URAP. Green subjects are those that ranked within the top 100, globally. Italicised subjects are those where the university was uniquely ranked in South Africa.

University of Cape Town – 42 subjects

University of the Witwatersrand – 40 subjects

Stellenbosch University – 39 subjects

University of Johannesburg – 34 subjects

University of Pretoria – 33 subjects

University of KwaZulu Natal – 32 subjects

North-West University – 22 subjects

University of the Free State – 16 subjects

University of South Africa – 15 subjects

Rhodes University – 11 subjects

University of the Western Cape – 7 subjects

Tshwane University of Technology – 7 subjects

Nelson Mandela University – 7 subjects

The Durban University of Technology, University of Limpopo, Walter Sisulu University, University of Venda, University of Fort Hare and the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University are all ranked in the Health Sciences field, outside the top 1000.

Read: Ranking the 12 best universities in South Africa

Artmotion S.Africa

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