South Africa’s best universities vs BRICS countries

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The 2016 edition of the QS University Rankings: BRICS, features a dedicated ranking of the top 250 universities in the five countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

These five nations exert significant regional influence, and cumulatively account for 42% of the world’s population.

The rankings draw on eight key performance indicators, reflecting global reputation, internationalization, academic staff levels, and research production and impact.

Chinese universities dominate the list, led by Tsinghua University (1st) and Peking University (2nd), China now occupies the top five spots in the ranking, and accounts for almost half (23) of the top 50.

The University of Cape Town is the best SA based university (14th), the same position as in 2015.

For 2016, the ranking has been extended to feature the top 250 BRICS universities  – from 200 previously. This expansion particularly benefits Brazil and India, which now have 54 and 44 entries respectively (compared to 40 and 31 last year).

China still remains the most-represented nation, with 86 entries, followed by Russia (55). South Africa has 11 universities featured.

Three local institutions have climbed the rankings in 2016: University of the Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg, and Rhodes University.

Top SA Universities

2016 University 2015
14 University of Cape Town 14
26 University of the Witwatersrand 28
35 Stellenbosch University 34
49 University of Pretoria 49
66 University of Johannesburg 67
72 University of  Kwa-Zulu Natal 68
75 Rhodes University 79
111-120 University of the Western Cape 100
131-140 University of the Free State 121-130
151-200 North-West University 151-200
151-200 Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 151-200

Top 10 BRICS universities

2016 University 2015
1 Tsinghua University 1
2 Peking University 2
3 Fudan University 3
4 University of Science and Technology of China =6
5 Shanghai Jiao Tong University =6
6 Indian Institute of Science Bangalore 5
7 Lomonosov Moscow State University 4
8 Nanjing University 8
9 Zhejiang University 11
10 Universidade de São Paulo 5

The ranking also reflects the particular success of Chinese and South African institutions in attracting academics from other countries.

Between them, these two nations occupy almost all of the top 20 positions for proportion of international faculty members, along with two Russian institutions.

Meanwhile Russian universities fare notably well when the proportion of international students is considered, with the highest performers on this measure also including South Africa’s Rhodes University and China’s University of International Business and Economics.

Proportion of International Students

# University Country
1 RUDN University Russia
2 Rhodes University SA
3 Tomsk Polytechnic University Russia
4 National University of Science and Technology ‘MISiS’ Russia
5 Tomsk State University Russia
6 University of International Business and Economics China
7 Novosibirsk State University Russia
8 Lomonosov Moscow State University Russia
9 Peking University China
10 University of Cape Town SA

QS said it evaluated 420 universities from the five nations for the 2016 rankings.

According to the QS University ranking methodology, the following weights were applied to determine its ranks:

  1. Academic reputation (30%)
  2. Employer reputation (20%)
  3. Faculty/student ratio (20%)
  4. Staff with a PhD (10%)
  5. Papers per faculty (10%)
  6. Citations per paper (5%)
  7. International faculty (2.5%)
  8. International students (2.5%)

 

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