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Based on web traffic[ii] and estimated online readers (>100 m in 2015), the QS World University Rankings is by far the most popular annual league table of world universities.

The twelfth edition of the QS World University Rankings 2015/16 confirms the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as the world’s top university followed by Harvard (2nd), The University Cambridge and Stanford University (3rd=). ETH Zurich (9th) breaks into the top 10 while the sharpest rise in the top echelon of the table is for the two leading Singaporean universities which make the top 15 for the first time ever. The National University of Singapore (12th) is the leading Asian institution while Nanyang Technological University (13th) takes a quantum leap, nearly closing the gap with its domestic rival. Australian National University (19th) also returns to the top 20.

Global Top 20

2015 2014 Institution Country
1 1 MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT) US
2 4 HARVARD UNIVERSITY US
3= 2= UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE UK
3= 7 STANFORD UNIVERSITY US
5 8 CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CALTECH) US
6 5= UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD UK
7 5= UCL (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON) UK
8 2= IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON UK
9 12 ETH ZURICH (SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY) CH
10 11 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO US
11 9 PRINCETON UNIVERSITY US
12 22 NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (NUS) SG
13 39 NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY (NTU) SG
14 17= ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FÉDÉRALE DE LAUSANNE (EPFL) CH
15 10 YALE UNIVERSITY US
16 14= JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY US
17 19 CORNELL UNIVERSITY US
18 13 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA US
19= 25= AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (ANU) AU
19= 16 KING’S COLLEGE LONDON (KCL) UK
© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2015  www.TopUniversities.com All rights reserved

 
South Africa is the best-represented African nation on this year’s instalment, with nine representatives. The University of Cape Town is their leading university, ranked 171st worldwide. It features two other top-400 universities: Stellenbosch University (302nd), and the University of the Witwatersrand (331st=). Two South African universities are added to the list this year: North West University (701+ band), and the University of the Western Cape (also 701+ band). North West University has taken excellent strides to make its way onto QS’s rankings, having only existed in its current form for eleven years. Adding two members of HESA to the 2015 World University Rankings will be good news for a South African higher education sector looking to increase its relevance on the global scale.

QS World University Rankings 2015/16  – South Africa
2015 2014 Institution Name
  171    141= UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN
  302    390= STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY
  331=   318= UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND
501-550 471-480 UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
501-550 601-650 RHODES UNIVERSITY
551-600 501-550 UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL
601-650 601-650 UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG
  701+ NORTH-WEST UNIVERSITY
  701+ UNIVERSITY OF THE WESTERN CAPE
© QS Quacquarelli Symonds 2004-2015www.TopUniversities.com All rights reserved.