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Department of Political Science ranks amongst top in SA
Author: Lynne Rippenaar-Moses
Published: 21/09/2020

The Political Science Department at Stellenbosch University was recently ranked amongst the top in South Africa by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) based on the quality of the academic work offered in the department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

“Political Science is a tool used to observe, analyse and interpret the world around us. In these strange times, the discipline assists us in making sense of the socio-economic ramifications of cultural and political actions. We apply the disciple on a global scale to analyse geopolitical trends, but it is as applicable to explain local developments."

“As a result, our graduates range from fulfilling roles in local government, the private sector and large international organisations. The department's alumni has a keen understanding of a changing world and matters related to gender, race, social inequality and international affairs, to mention only a few topics," says Dr Derica Lambrechts, Chair of the Political Science Department.

Other South African universities that ranked high for Political Science on the list are the University of Johannesburg and the University of Cape Town.  Altogether, 400 other universities across the world were ranked for the subject of Political Science including the likes of Harvard University, Stanford University, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Yale University. 

The ARWU ranking list is published each year by the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, an independent organisation focused on research on higher education intelligence and consultation. 

Fifty-four (54) subjects within the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences and Medical Sciences were listed in 2020. Global rankings of academic subjects for 2020 were determined based on the number of research publications published during 2014 to 2018 in a particular subject field. Universities that were ranked had to have published a certain amount of research publications in that time. The amount of research publications is calculated through bibliometric data retrieved via Web of Science and InCites. 

A total of 4 000 universities across the world were ranked for subjects in 2020.

ARWU is also responsible for the overall ranking of 1 800 universities across the world each year, of which the top 1 000 are published. It is considered one of the most noteworthy ranking systems in the world and has a strong focus on research. 

“Our department has worked very hard over the last number of years to increase our post-graduate numbers and research output. We currently have six NRF-rated researchers. We also have a very broad research scope as members of staff have very diverse research interests. This, and maintaining excellent teaching standards, has greatly contributed to expanding the department's reputation nationally and internationally," adds Lambrechts.​