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SU improves overall score in QS global rankings
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 05/06/2024

​Stellenbosch University (SU) features in the top 300 tertiary institutions in the world for the second year in a row. This is according to the latest QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings released on Tuesday, 4 June 2024.

As was the case last year, SU performed outstandingly in the citations per faculty category (number of academic citations produced by faculty members) by achieving the highest score (61.9) of all South African universities. This is also an improvement on its previous score of 59.9. Since citations (references to academic work in other scholarly articles or publications) are a well-understood and widely accepted measure of research strength, this indicator assesses the impact and quality of the scientific work produced by universities.

In the 2025 version of the QS world rankings, SU is ranked at number 296. In terms of the latest rankings, SU occupies the third position in South Africa (and in Africa) – the same as last year. Annually more universities participate, which influences the overall placement. Stellenbosch University has, however, improved on its overall score – the sum of the scores for each indicator.

The 21st edition of the QS rankings, which is regarded as one of the three top university ranking systems globally, features 1 503 institutions across 106 locations – 5 663 institutions, including 21 new universities, were evaluated – and is the only ranking of its kind to emphasise employability and sustainability.

SU improved in the categories of academic reputation (global academics' perceptions of an institution's academic excellence), employment outcomes (the employability of graduates), faculty-student ratio (the ratio between the number of academic staff and the number of students), international student ratio (the proportion of international students), and international research network (the richness and diversity of an institution's international research partnership).

For the 2025 edition of the QS rankings, institutions were assessed across nine categories (or indicators): citations per faculty, academic reputation, employment outcomes, faculty-student ratio, international-student ratio, international research network, international faculty (the proportion of faculty members who are international), employer reputation (global employers' perception of which universities provide the most job-ready graduates) and sustainability (the social and environmental impact of universities).

“The fact that SU again attained the highest citation score of South African Universities is a testimony to the continuous, high-level contribution of our researchers to the global scientific pool of knowledge. Research conducted at our institution is world-class with high impact. Tied with improving in a category such as international research networks, it shows that we are indeed progressing in achieving our vision to be Africa's leading research-intensive university," says Prof Hester Klopper, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Strategy, Global and Corporate Affairs at SU.

In April 2024, SU was also among the leading higher education institutions in the world on the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Over the last few years, SU has been consistently ranked among the best tertiary institutions in the world on various global university rankings including the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings.