The North-West University (NWU) has proven itself to be an academic institution where excellence continues to triumph and quality of the highest standard is celebrated. This is evident in its constant good achievements in rankings by various international ranking agencies.

The NWU has continued to climb the rankings ladder after laying good foundations in previous years, celebrating achievements in 2018 and 2019 too. Since the beginning of 2020 the university has had very good showings in respected rankings agencies’ listings.

These include rankings by Shanghai Ranking’s Global Academic Ranking of World Universities in July, the Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) in June, and the Times Higher Education (THE) Emerging Economies University Rankings in February. It was also the first time the NWU was featured in the THE Young University Rankings, which were announced in June.

A first-class institution with quality offerings

18 and 20 February 2020 – The NWU’s quality offerings earned it a top 5 spot among local universities ranked in the Emerging Economies University Rankings of the THE in February.

Overall, the NWU was placed in position 109 out of the 533 universities from 47 countries. Apart from the NWU, nine other South African universities were also ranked.

The rankings take into account: teaching (the learning environment); research (volume, income and reputation); citations (research influence); international outlook (staff, students and research); and industry income (knowledge transfer).

This ranking followed after the NWU had also been placed in the top 5 and top 7 of local universities in the THE World University Rankings for law studies and business economics respectively in November 2019.

NWU among the cream of the crop

8 June 2020 – The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) ranked the NWU in the top 4,7% of 20 000 universities globally. According to the CWUR, the NWU is among the top 922 universities in 61 countries. The NWU also features in the top 7 nationally, and its research performance is ranked at 877. This gives the university an overall score of 70,8, which is a remarkable achievement.

The CWUR’s rankings are unique in that universities are analysed and ranked according to their academic performance. The organisation puts equal emphasis on the learning environment and on research.

The CWUR annually publishes the largest academic rankings of global universities with the aim of improving educational and research outcomes.

A quality player in the young university arena

24 June 2020 – The NWU was ranked among the best 101 to 150 universities out of more than 350 universities in the THE Young University Rankings. It was the first time that the NWU was included in this ranking, which focuses on universities that are 50 years old or younger.

This ranking takes into account teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and the international outlook of universities. The weightings are recalibrated from the THE’s other rankings to reflect the profile and mission of young universities.

Quality subjects equal quality education

The quality subject offerings in the fields of atmospheric science, clinical medicine, education, hospitality and tourism management, and public health at the NWU have elevated the university in global rankings. It is also a great achievement for the NWU to be ranked first in the region for mathematics.

According to the findings of ShanghaiRanking Consultancy’s global Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), which was published at the end of July, the NWU features among the top universities in the above areas of expertise.

The ARWU is a global ranking system that assesses more than 1 800 universities from 90 countries and regions. This is why being placed in the top 500 is a considerable achievement, as subjects are benchmarked against the best of the best. The results are published annually.

The NWU is first on the ranking ladder for mathematics in the national/regional ranking in South Africa. The university is ranked in the top 201 to 300 category of the ARWU’s 2020 subject rankings. The NWU is the only South African university that appears in the top 500 for mathematics. It is a continuation of and impressive improvement on the NWU’s good performance in previous years in the ARWU rankings for this subject. In 2019 the university was ranked in the 301 to 400 category (first in South Africa), and in 2018 it was in the 401 to 500 category (in the top two along with Beni-Suef University of Egypt as number 1).

The NWU is ranked among the top universities in the 151 to 200 category in the areas of atmospheric sciences, clinical medicine, public health and hospitality and tourism management. It was also in the 301 to 400 category in the area of education.

Prof Dan Kgwadi, vice-chancellor and principal of the NWU, emphasised that although ranking is not a goal the university wants to pursue, the university celebrates its achievements in the rankings. “It contributes to the NWU’s dream to be an internationally recognised university in Africa and the world, distinguished for engaged scholarship, social responsiveness and an ethic of care.

“We take these achievements with us on our journey to continued excellence in the higher education sector.”


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