UPDATED: Wits University has drops five places in overall gloal university rankings.

Wits University has dropped five places to rank third in Africa on the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject report which was released on February 28.

This year Wits is ranked 364th out of about 950 universities globally and third out of 18 in Africa. In 2017, the university was ranked 359th.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) took the top position in Africa with an overall ranking of 191, placing it in the top 200 globally. Stellenbosch University was ranked slightly ahead of Wits in 361st position.

South African universities dominate the top 10 for Africa with the University of Pretoria placing 6th, followed by the University of Johannesburg (7th), Rhodes University, (9th) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (10th).

According to the Top Universities’ website, the QS World University Rankings by Subject report is compiled yearly to help prospective students find the leading universities in a particular subject.

Research citations, results of major global surveys of employers and academics are used to rank the universities. However, Wits did relatively well when it came to individual subject rankings.

Two subjects taught at Wits were ranked in the top 20 of the world, and one in the top 50. Mining engineering has been ranked 15 out of 50, moving up seven places from last year’s 22nd position and development studies has been ranked 19 out of 100, moving one place up.

Senior lecturer at the School of Mining Engineering, Kelello Chabedi, said, “The high ranking is an endorsement of the quality of our teaching and research which puts our students in good stead with potential employers.”

Fouth-year BSc Mining Engineering student Tefo Mokhine said, “This recognition inspires us to look for job opportunities beyond our borders, especially now at a time when the unemployment rate of the mining engineering graduates is high in South Africa.”

Archaeology which was ranked 38th has move up significantly from 2017. Senior lecturer in Archaeology, Dr Alex Schoeman told Wits Vuvuzela that it was all thanks to the work they had put in.

“Having a reward for hard work and getting international recognition is a bit of good news in quite a harsh climate for tertiary education institutions in South Africa. Even though we might not be as well-resourced as Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard and our students come from much more challenging environments, we are still able to meet those international standards,” she said. Three subjects were ranked in the top 200: Geography, English Language and Literature, and Medicine.

Generally, there has been a slide by Wits in these QS rankings over the last five years. In 2014 the university occupied 313th position, 318 in 2015 and 331 in 2016. Wits has criticised the rankings in the past.

The 2018 rankings continue the trend of the domination of American universities, with four claiming the top four spots, followed by four in the United Kingdom. Rounding up the top 10 is a fifth US university while 10th position is taken by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.