The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been ranked among the top 100 universities in five subject areas by ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects (GRAS) 2022. The top-ranking subjects are environmental science and engineering, oceanography, clinical medicine, mining and mineral engineering, and public health.

Once again UCT performed best in environmental science and engineering, placing 24th in the world, just one place down from last year. This retains the significant jump up that took place two years ago, compared with prior years, as a result of a prestigious award within this research field that was conferred on Dr Jackie King.

In 2019, Dr King (now retired from UCT) won the Stockholm Water Prize, regarded as the ‘Nobel’ prize of water. Highly prestigious honours such as this are weighted heavily in the ShanghaiRanking’s GRAS.

“UCT is deeply proud of the contributions our academics make towards meeting the great challenges of our time and on our continent.”

“Dr Jackie King has been a significant contributor to ground-breaking research into water systems with national and global influence, so it is fitting that her work continues to elevate our ranking in this important field,” said Professor Sue Harrison, the deputy vice-chancellor for Research and Internationalisation. “Research into sustainable water systems now largely takes place within the Future Water Institute, where it is a great and constantly growing strength of UCT.”

Significant impact

More than 1 800 out of 5 000 universities across 96 countries and regions were ranked in 54 subjects across natural sciences, engineering, life sciences, medical sciences and social sciences. UCT was ranked in 21 of these subject areas.

The other UCT subjects in the top 100 are:

  • oceanography (ranked between 51–75)
  • clinical medicine (76–100)
  • public health (76-100)
  • mining and mineral engineering (76–100).

“It is notable that these are all areas where our research contributes significant impact that speaks directly to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” said Professor Harrison. “UCT is deeply proud of the contributions our academics make towards meeting the great challenges of our time and on our continent.”

The 2022 GRAS list from ShanghaiRanking evaluates institutions according to five indicators (different weights are allocated to the indicators for different subjects). These are:

  • the number of papers published in first quartile journals by journal impact factor
  • citations (compared to the world average)
  • international collaboration
  • papers in top journals and conferences
  • staff winning significant awards.

Earlier this year, UCT also performed well in the 2022 Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings by Subject. UCT’s development studies was ranked 9th in the world and a further four subjects featured in the 51–100 range. These were anthropology, architecture/built environment, geography and medicine.

See the full ShanghaiRanking’s GRAS 2022 listing.

Read more about ShanghaiRanking’s GRAS 2022 methodology.