News & Media

Unisa in top 1 000+ global list

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, released on 2 September 2020, has revealed the world’s top universities. They include more than 1 500 universities across 93 countries and regions, making them the largest and most diverse university rankings to date. Eleven South African universities are listed among them, including Unisa.

The table is based on 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

This year’s ranking analysed more than 80 million citations across over 13 million research publications and included survey responses from 22 000 scholars globally.

The University of Cape Town and Wits University topped the local rankings in the THE methodology. Unisa remains in the 1001+ ranking, which makes it 11th in South Africa and 57th on the continent.

Trusted worldwide by students, teachers, governments and industry experts, this year’s league table provides great insight into the shifting balance of power in global higher education.

A UK institution has taken the top spot: the University of Oxford. There is now a new world number two, with Stanford University climbing two places from last year. The US claims a record eight places in the top 10, after the University of California, Berkeley, climbed six places to seventh, but US universities outside the top 200 show signs of decline.

Meanwhile, there are 141 first-time entrants in the rankings this year, topped by France’s recently merged Paris-Saclay University (joint 178th). India has the highest number of new entries (14) and, as a result, boasts a record number of ranked institutions (63).


How are the scores calculated?

The THE Impact Rankings include metrics based on all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals across three broad areas: research, outreach and stewardship.

Universities can submit data on as many of the SDGs as they are able. SDG 17 is the only compulsory SDG for inclusion in the overall table.

A university’s final score in the overall table is calculated by combining its score in SDG 17 with its top three scores out of the remaining 16 SDGs. SDG 17 accounts for 22 per cent of the overall score, while the other SDGs each carry a weighting of 26 per cent. This means that different universities are scored based on a different set of SDGs, depending on their focus.

The score from each SDG is scaled so that the highest score in each SDG in the overall calculation is 100.

Universities must submit their own institutional data to be ranked. Bibliometric data come from Elsevier.

* Compiled by Sharon Farrell, Editor, Department of Institutional Advancement

Unisa scores in THE Emerging Economies University Rankings 2020

Publish date: 2020/09/16