The best universities in South Africa for science, maths and technology

The 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject has been released, featuring science, maths and technology courses from seven local universities, ranked among the best in the world.

The QS rankings identifies which subjects universities are particularly strong at compared to international competitors, looking specifically at academic reputation and research output.

Research citations, along with the results of major global surveys of employers and academics are also used to rank the tertiary institutions,

The University of Cape Town has emerged as the top institute in most of the 11 science, maths and tech subjects that featured local institutes. UCT ranked top (or tied) in eight subjects.

The exceptions were in the fields of electrical engineering and mathematics, where the University of Pretoria ranked as the top in the country, and mining engineering where Wits took the top position (UCT did not rank).

It’s also in mining engineering where South Africa performed best overall, with Wits and the University of Pretoria ranking within the top 50 universities across the globe – placing 13th and 48th, respectively.

Aside from mining engineering, South Africa’s universities placed outside the top 100 universities in the world in other subjects. For universities outside the top 100, QS only provides placement figures in a narrow range.

South Africa had the most universities ranked in chemical engineering.

This is how local universities fared:


Maths and Engineering

Chemical Engineering
University Rank
University of Cape Town 251-300
University of the Witwatersrand 251-300
Stellenbosch University 301-350
University of Johannesburg 301-350
University of Pretoria 301-350
University of KwaZulu-Natal 351-400
University of South Africa 351-400
Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering
University Rank
University of Cape Town 251-300
Stellenbosch University 301-350
University of Pretoria 301-350
University of the Witwatersrand 351-400
University of Johannesburg 451-500
Electronic and Electrical Engineering
University Rank
University of Pretoria 251-300
Stellenbosch University 351-400
University of Cape Town 351-400
University of the Witwatersrand 451-500
Mathematics
University Rank
University of Pretoria 401-450
Stellenbosch University 451-500
University of Cape Town 451-500
University of the Witwatersrand 451-500
Mineral and Mining Engineering
University Rank
University of the Witwatersrand 13
University of Pretoria 48
Civil and Structural Engineering
University Rank
University of Cape Town 151-200

Science and Technology

Chemistry
University Rank
University of Cape Town 351-400
University of KwaZulu-Natal 401-450
Stellenbosch University 451-500
University of Johannesburg 451-500
University of the Witwatersrand 451-500
University of Pretoria 501-550
Physics and Astronomy
University Rank
University of Cape Town 201-250
University of Johannesburg 401-450
University of the Witwatersrand 401-450
Stellenbosch University 501-550
University of KwaZulu-Natal 501-550
Computer Science and Information Systems
University Rank
University of Cape Town 301-350
University of Pretoria 451-500
Stellenbosch University 601-650
Geophysics
University Rank
University of Cape Town 101-150
University of the Witwatersrand 151-200
Earth and Marine Sciences
University Rank
University of Cape Town 101-150
University of the Witwatersrand 151-200

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