Stellenbosch University
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Times Higher Education Subject ranking confirms SU’s world-class academic offering
Author: Corporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking
Published: 27/10/2023

​Stellenbosch University (SU) can hold its own among the best universities in the world in the subject areas of Law, Clinical and Health, Education, Arts and Humanities as well as Life Sciences and Social Sciences.

This has been confirmed by the latest Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (WUR) by Subject released on Thursday (26 October 2023).

According to the 2024 version, SU ranks among the top 150 in Law, 175 in Clinical and Health, 200 in Education and 300 in Arts and Humanities, Life Sciences and Social Sciences. In Law, Education, Business and Economics and Social Sciences, the institution improved on its position from last year. In Psychology, SU made it into the top 400, while achieving a top 500 spot in Computer Science, Physical Sciences, and Engineering. For the third year in a row, SU is also the best university in Computer Science in South Africa. Overall, the institution features among the best 300 universities in the world in six of the 11 subject categories on the THE WUR list.

Commenting on the improvement in the Law score, Prof Nicola Smit, Dean of the Faculty of Law, said, “We were quite surprised by this achievement not only because we don't focus on rankings, but also because we are a small Faculty of Law in terms of number of staff and students. At the same time, we are very pleased about this outcome as it highlights the high quality of legal education, research, and social impact that the Faculty undertakes.

“Such performance is only possible with individual commitment to a group effort where the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and this is the approach and mindset that we encourage at Maties Law," added Smit.

The Dean of the Faculty of Education, Prof Mbulungeni Madiba, noted that they are thrilled with their latest achievement. “This remarkable accomplishment underscores our unwavering dedication to our vision of becoming a premier research-intensive education faculty, renowned for our excellence, inclusivity, and innovation. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our exceptional staff and dedicated students whose continuous commitment and hard work have made this recognition possible. Together, we are shaping the future of education."

For Prof Anthony Leysens, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, the recognition they received confirms the faculty's strategy to position itself as one of the best humanities faculties globally. “Our focus on continuous academic renewal, relevance, and innovation in teaching and research and our recognised impact outside the University over several years, have contributed to this result and confirm the quality offering at Stellenbosch University to which we contribute. Congratulations and a word of sincere thanks to my colleagues. It is because of their hard work and dedication, that we can celebrate this achievement."


The subject tables employ the same range of 13 performance indicators used in the overall THE World University Rankings 2024. These are then combined to provide scores under the five categories of teaching (the learning environment), research (volume, income, and reputation), citations (research influence), international outlook (staff, students, and research), and industry income (innovation).

However, the overall methodology is carefully recalibrated for each subject, with the weightings changed to suit the individual fields.

Prof. Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs, says that the continued general improvement on the THE World University Rankings by Subject is further testimony of the University's reputation as one of the leading research-intensive universities in the world and to the institution's vision of being Africa's leading research-intensive university, globally recognised as excellent, inclusive and innovative, where we advance knowledge in service of society."  

Continued excellence

Earlier this year, SU ranked among the best higher education institutions on the  Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject. It has featured regularly on this ranking as well as the Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings, and the Shanghai Ranking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects. These rankings all use different methodologies and indicators to determine universities' position on their ranking.