News & Media

Unisa's research excellence confirmed by global ranking

The authoritative and globally referenced source of information on higher education, Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2024 by Subject, reveals that Unisa has improved its research quality through citation impact from 29.3 to 50.5. This achievement is testament to the institution’s commitment to research excellence and that the research it produces has a positive impact through citations. 


Through the information that THE provides on institutions of higher learning, this British publication has, for five decades, been assisting these institutions to achieve excellence by making informed decisions that will define their futures. THE further states that the information it provides assists institutions to attract international students, and helps students to decide on the best institutions to further their studies.

While Unisa is ranked between 1001-1200 globally, the university moved up from 12th to 11th position nationally. Additionally, Unisa’s overall score improved from 24.4-29.7 to 28.3-32.6. With a continental and globally extended footprint, these significant developments reaffirm Unisa's prestige and contribution to the higher education environment on the local, continental and global arena. The ranking further confirms the university’s dedication to continuously enhancing effective and quality teaching and learning practice in the higher education space.

Regarding the THE World University Rankings 2024 by Subject that were announced in late October 2023, these include arts and humanities; business and economics; clinical and health; computer science; education; engineering; law; life sciences; physical sciences; psychology; and social sciences. Most of the subjects offered by Unisa retained their positions, with an improvement in the ranking of physical sciences from 601-800 to 501-600. In addition to physics and astronomy, the study of physical sciences covers several science degrees, including mathematics, chemistry and earth science. The physical sciences subject ranking uses the same trusted and rigorous performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings 2024, but the methodology has been recalibrated to suit the individual fields.

South Africa is one of the six countries that has joined the THE’s diverse top 100 education list; therefore, these improvements demonstrate that Unisa is an essential actor in the promotion of quality lifelong learning. Further, under the leadership of its Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Puleng LenkaBula, Unisa unceasingly contributes meaningfully to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4, which points out the importance of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. These achievements and affirmations come as Unisa celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

Pleased about the improvements, Unisa’s Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa, Vice-Principal of Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation, and Professor Les Labuschagne, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Commercialisation, remark: “We are delighted to see the increase in Unisa’s research quality score. This score is determined by the average number of times a university’s published work is cited by scholars globally.” They add that this means there is a growing interest and uptake of work conducted by Unisa researchers at a global level. 

They conclude: “The citations show our increasing contribution to the sum of human knowledge to expand the boundaries of understanding, irrespective of discipline.”


* Compiled by Nancy Legodi, Acting Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement, analysis by the Research Support Directorate

Publish date: 2023/11/09

Unisa Shop