Wits improves in world rankings

Wits has improved its position in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) that was published
last month.
Wits has been ranked 313 out of 500 of the world’s top universities. This is 50 places up from a ranking of 363 in 2012.
This also makes Wits the second best university in Africa, behind the University of Cape Town that was ranked among the top 300 universities in the world.
The rankings are conducted by researchers at the Centre for World-Class Universities based at the Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. More than 1 000 universities are ranked with only the top 500 being published online.
The improvement in its ranking comes despite Wits having faced some problems such as the loss of academic staff as well as poor academic performance in some faculties.
The ranking system assesses universities on various factors, not just academic performance which only contributes towards 10% of the points. What counted heavily towards the rankings was the research output of
each university.


Ranking Criteria 
Some other categories that were heavily weighted included the quality of education provided at the university that was judged by the number of alumni who had won Nobel prizes or field awards.
Another highly rated category was the quality of university faculties that looked at the number of current university staff members who had won prizes and those who were highly cited researchers across various fields.


Science matters
The amount of work done in the fields of science, medicine, mathematics and economics, to name a few, also improved a university’s chances. Papers published in nature and science, for example, contributed towards 20% of the overall score.
Regardless of all its challenges, Wits has made significant achievements in the fields of archaeology, biology and physics among others.
Wits’s improved ranking is just a step towards the university’s 2022 vision of being ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. It also contributes to the university’s mission to “grow its global stature as a leading research-intensive university” as stated on the university’s website.
Three of the four African universities listed were South African. Other African universities listed include the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Cairo University in Egypt.