News & Media

Unisa continues its march up the rankings ladder

As a mega-university that invented open distance learning, Unisa continues to prove its exceptional academic stature globally. In its latest Best Global Universities rankings, authoritative publication US News & World Report has placed it among the top 10 higher education institutions in South Africa, and the top 900 globally. This achievement comes as the university prepares to celebrate its 150th year of existence in 2023.

US News & World Report recently released its latest Best Global Universities rankings. Unisa continues to thrive and is not looking back as it has moved from 851 (2021) to 821 (2022) in the global rankings, with a global score of 42.5.

According to US News and World Report, the primary focus of the rankings is on universities’ academic research and reputation overall and not on their separate undergraduate or graduate programmes. Among others, the indicators and weighting used were global research reputation, publications, normalised citation impact, number of publications that are among the 10% most cited, and international collaboration.

Related to this ranking, the 2023 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings' league table reveals how the global higher education landscape is shifting. Unisa scored in the upper half globally for teaching (marginally below the top 25%), research (close to the top 25%), international outlook (just above the median), and is positioned at 1 002. In Africa, Unisa scored close to the top for teaching and research. THE also placed Unisa’s engineering disciplines across the board in joint first place in South Africa.

These rankings indicate that the university continues to improve its research, teaching and learning position, as well as its global impact.

What it means for Unisa

For Prof Zodwa Motsa Madikane, Unisa's Vice-Principal: Teaching, Learning, Community Engagement and Student Support, the improved rankings are a major achievement for the institution, and a moment of absolute delight and pride. She says: "These rankings mark a major milestone for our institution, especially considering that such strides are always predicated by hard work behind the scenes." She adds: "The quality work done by our academics is testament to this. Through their research, they have contributed their new knowledge and added value globally."

Motsa Madikane says that knowledge relevance is key to producing graduates who are fit for purpose. She also maintains that this milestone indicates that Unisa is a university of choice, with scholars who make a mark in world rankings. "Therefore," she remarks, "we applaud our scholars who continue to reflect that research is a pillar of excellence in any university. Our university contributes to substantial economic benefit to society."

Motsa Madikane says that she congratulates the institution’s scholars who continue to juggle several hats in teaching, supervision, community engagement and producing world-class research. She states that these scholars help build the institution and its brand – paving the way for strategic partnerships, locally and globally.

She encourages Unisans to continue to contribute to research as it enriches the institution’s teaching and learning, and enhances meaningful knowledge to its curriculum and syllabus. "Additionally, beyond the university, research betters our community, which is an integral part of the three pillars of our university," notes Motsa Madikane. "Congratulations, colleagues," she concludes, "we are indeed serving the community and continuing to shape futures."

* By Nancy Legodi, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2022/11/07