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SU again among leading universities on QS subject rankings
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 12/04/2024

​​​​Stellenbosch University (SU) is once again among the leading higher education institutions globally in the broad subject areas of Life Science and Medicine, Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Management, and Engineering & Technology. This is according to the 2024 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject released on Wednesday (10 April 2024).

For the 2024 edition, 1,559 institutions have been ranked across 55 individual subjects in the abovementioned five broad subject areas.

SU is ranked in the top 250 in Life Science and Medicine, top 350 in Arts and Humanities, top 450 in Natural Sciences, top 400 in Social Sciences and Management, and top 500 in Engineering & Technology.

SU improved in three of the five broad subject areas in South Africa. It occupies the second position in Life Science and Medicine, and Arts and Humanities, the third spot in Natural Sciences, and the fourth place in Engineering & Technology (the same as in 2023) and Social Sciences and Management (the same as in 2023).

SA's best in Agriculture, Theology

As far as specific subject categories are concerned, SU is still the leading tertiary institution in South Africa in Agriculture & Forestry (top 100 globally) and Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies (top 140 in the world). It is also among the top three in Development Studies (top 100), English Language & Literature (top 250), Engineering (Chemical – top 350, Electrical & Electronic – top 530, Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing – top 400), Biological Sciences (top 350), Environmental Sciences (top  250), Mathematics (top 550), Economics & Econometrics (top 400), Education and Law (both in the top 350). Overall, SU improved in four subject categories, kept the same position in seven, and moved down in five.


The QS subject tables use academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, H-index and international research network (IRN) to rank universities. The first two of these are based on global surveys of academics and employers that are used to assess an institution's international reputation in each subject. Research citations per paper measures the average number of citations obtained per publication, and is an estimate of the impact and quality of the scientific work done by universities. The H-index assesses the stability of impact and quality of the work published by an institution's academics. The IRN is a measure a university's efficiency of establishing stable research collaborations in each of the five broad subject areas.

Over the last few years, SU has been consistently ranked among the best tertiary institutions globally on the QS World University Rankings by Subject, the Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings, and the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects.