According to official figures of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) released in 2022, SU is among South Africa’s top three research-intensive universities, both per capita and in terms of total research output. SU now boast a total of 20 of A-rated researchers – our highest number to date – having received nine new A-ratings in the 2021 rating round. We host 44 research chairs – 23 as part of the DSI-NRF SARChI programme and 21 endowed or industry-funded chairs. In 2012, that number was 16. Research chairs make a very significant contribution to the research outputs, impact and income of SU as a thriving research-intensive institution.The number of postdoctoral fellows has grown from 154 in 2012 to more than 340 registered postdoctoral research fellows registered at SU in 2022.
SU is cementing its reputation as a world-class institution. According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, SU is one of the top 300 universities in the world, and among the top 20 in BRICS countries. It also features among the world's elite institutions in 10 of the 36 subjects featured in the QS World University Rankings by Subject for 2015. SU was also included in the 2014 CWTS Leiden Ranking, which measures the scientific performance of 750 major universities worldwide.
With 18 research chairs under the NRF South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChi), the University is regarded as a leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research and management, wine biotechnology, animal sciences and mathematical biosciences. Another SARChi chair, in the field of invasion biology, is shared between SU and the University of Venda. This constitutes but one of SU's many partnerships, both local and international. As preferred research partner, SU also participates in various international academic networks.
Faculties and campuses
The main campus in the picturesque university town of Stellenbosch in the heart of the Western Cape winelands is quite an attraction for students. Stellenbosch is situated about 50 km from Cape Town and just 30 km from Cape Town International Airport.
Eight faculties are on the main campus, with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences situated on Tygerberg campus adjacent to the Tygerberg academic hospital, and the Faculty of Military Sciences – the only one of its kind in South Africa and one of only
two in Africa – based at the South African Defence Force Military Academy in Saldanha. The
Stellenbosch Business School
and other postgraduate business and planning programmes of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences are located on the Bellville Park campus.
The fifth SU campus, in Worcester, was officially opened in 2012 with the launch of the Ukwanda Rural Clinical School of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Here, medical and related health sciences students have the opportunity to complete their clinical training on a rural platform. This is yet another example of SU's pioneering work in the field of academic innovation. Each year, the campus also houses a new group of school-leavers who participate in Stellenbosch University's Science and Mathematics bridging programme (SciMathUS). The programme offers students from educationally disadvantaged communities the opportunity to gain access to higher education.
Vibrant student communities
SU is known as a residential campus with an active residential life, which makes residence placement
sough-after among students. As the residence demand far exceeds supply, and in line with new learning needs, SU is in the process of converting its Stellenbosch campus into an integrated learning and living space. Residences and private wards are grouped into clusters, each with its own cluster hub, where residence and day students are able to study, meet and socialise. With the construction of new buildings and the repurposing of existing buildings, student-centred fcilities are created to enable students to conduct group work, study and gain access to the University's electronic networks.
SU's graduates are sough-after in the workplace. However, the University also aims to deliver engaged citizens and responsible leaders, who are willing to use their expertise and skills to serve society. Therefore, students are encouraged to engage with the community through MAD² (Making A Decision 2 Make A Difference) and Matie Community Service as well as service learning and community interaction within their respective disciplines. Further opportunities for self-improvement are offered by MFM 92.6, the University's community radio station; a wide variety of student associations and sporting codes, the Student Representative Council, house committees and the
Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert Institute for Student Leadership Development.