QS Rankings position UP among world’s top universities in 20 subject areas

Posted on April 07, 2022

The University of Pretoria (UP) has been ranked among the world’s top universities for the study of 20 subjects (up from 18 in 2021) in the 2022 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject. 

The 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject, released this week, analyses 15 200 individual university programmes offered by 1 543 universities in 88 locations around the world, across five broad disciplines and 51 academic disciplines. 

Four components are used to rank universities: Academic Reputation, Employer Reputation, Research Citations Per Paper, and the H-Index. UP is ranked in four broad subject areas: Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences; Life Sciences and Medicine; and Engineering and Technology. Of the 20 academic disciplines in which UP is ranked this year, 35% improved their positions in the rankings, and 25% maintained their positions as of 2021. A notable accomplishment is UP’s Mineral and Mining Engineering which was ranked at position 33 (48 in 2021), and is among the top 50 worldwide.  

UP’s achievements in various subject areas in both the domestic and global arena are:

Improvements (global rank): 

  • Mineral and Mining Engineering (Top 50)
  • Economics and Econometrics (Top 250)
  • Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering (Top 300)
  • Chemical Engineering (Top 300)
  • Engineering and Technology (Top 350)
  • Life Sciences and Medicine (Top 350)

Improvements (domestic rank): 

  • Economics and Econometrics (2nd in 2021 – 1st in 2022)
  • Engineering – Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing (2nd in 2021 – 1st in 2022)
  • Education (3rd in 2021 – 2nd in 2022)
  • Chemical Engineering (5th in 2021 – 2nd in 2022)

Reclaimed Rank (global rank):

  • Veterinary Science (51-60)
  • Development Studies (101-110)
  • Architecture/Built Environment (151-200)

Ranked first in South Africa (global rank):

  • Veterinary Science (51-60)
  • Accounting and Finance (101-150)
  • Economics and Econometrics (201-250)
  • Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering (251-300)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering (301-350)

Ranked second in South Africa (global rank):

  • Mineral and Mining Engineering (33)
  • Theology, Divinity and Religious Studies (101-130)
  • Agriculture and Forestry (101-150)
  • Law (151-200)
  • Architecture/Built Environment (151-200)
  • Computer Science and Information Systems, Chemical Engineering (251-300)
  • Education (251-300)
  • Social Sciences and Management (323)
  • Engineering and Technology (352)
  • Mathematics (501-520)

Ranked third in South Africa (global rank):

  • Archaeology (201-230)
  • Biological Sciences (351-400)

Ranked fourth in South Africa (global rank):

  • Environmental Sciences (301-350)
  • Medicine (351-400)
  • Arts and Humanities (401-450)

UP’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe noted the reputational importance of global rankings, stating: “Deciding on a study destination and career plan is no easy feat. Therefore, subject rankings can be a deciding factor in a difficult decision-making process.” According to the QS Enrollment Solutions International Student Survey, nearly two in ten respondents said that rankings played an important part in their decision on which country or institution they wished to study at. 

“This ranking can be used as another measure for the culture of excellent teaching and research that is firmly entrenched at UP across all fields of study,” Prof Kupe added. “UP’s committed academics have a multipronged approach to teaching and research to ensure that students with a variety of learning strengths succeed. I am pleased with the rankings, and I thank all our academics for their continued hard work.”

He said UP strives to be a future-focused university. “This is not to push up our international ranking, but to help transform our country, continent and world with high-impact research and innovations. To achieve this, we need to collectively redouble our efforts to attain our strategic goals: student access and success; high-quality research for greater societal impact; global recognition; diversity, equity and inclusion; and institutional sustainability. We will continue to strive to meet our strategic goals for the greater good and benefit of society as a whole.”

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