UP cements top position in teaching and research

Some students in front of the Admin Building on the Hatfield campus at the University of Pretoria.

Some students in front of the Admin Building on the Hatfield campus at the University of Pretoria.

Published Feb 21, 2024


The University of Pretoria (UP) continues to rank among the top higher education institutions in Africa, South Africa and the world, according to the THE Reputation Rankings 2023 and securing notable positions in both teaching and research.

In teaching, UP upheld its second-place position in South Africa, and is ranked in the fourth place in the research category. Globally, UP is ranked 395 in the world, 385 in teaching and 398 in research.

“Our second-place standing in South Africa is not just a number; it symbolises our commitment to fostering an environment that encourages critical thinking, innovation and practical learning experiences,” said Professor Themba Mosia, interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

“This achievement has been made possible through our investment in cutting-edge teaching technologies, continuous professional development for our academic staff, and our innovative curriculum that meets both the current and future needs of our students and society at large,” she said, adding that collaboration between departments, the integration of research with teaching, and UP’s focus on creating a supportive and inclusive campus culture have been key enablers in the University’s journey towards educational excellence.

“As we celebrate this milestone, we are reminded of the importance of our mission to not only educate but to empower our students to make meaningful contributions to the world,” said Mosia.

According to Times Higher Education, the World Reputation Rankings are created using the world’s largest invitation-only academic opinion survey of experienced, published scholars who offer their views on excellence in research and teaching within their disciplines. The 2023 rankings were based on a survey conducted between October 2022 and January 2023 and almost 40 000 academics from 166 countries and regions were asked to name the universities they consider the best in their field, with the top 200 ranked.

Invitees can vote for any number universities up to a maximum of 15 both in teaching and research. Academics are also asked how important various factors, for example, conferences or geographical proximity, are to them when deciding how to vote. One key consideration when computing the ranking is to ensure that the results of the survey are representative of the distribution of scholars globally. The benchmark for this is publicly available data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics. This data gives us the distribution of scholars throughout the world.

“UP’s position in the research category affirms our position as one of the leading research-intensive universities in South Africa and beyond. Despite the competition level in the rankings, securing a rank within the top echelons globally is a testament to our robust research ecosystem, characterised by pioneering innovation, multi- and inter-disciplinary collaboration, and a commitment to addressing global challenges,” said Mosia.

“This achievement is underpinned by our state-of-the-art research facilities, substantial investment in research development, and a strategic focus on attracting and retaining top-tier researchers and scholars. Our university serves as a crucible for ground-breaking research that not only advances academic knowledge but also translates into tangible benefits for society. The support from our network of international partnerships and our commitment to research excellence have been instrumental in enabling this success. As we move forward, UP remains dedicated to enhancing its research capabilities and reinforcing its role as a beacon of knowledge creation and innovation,” said Mosia.

“The university’s performance in the rankings was a testament of the dedication of the UP community to excellence. As we reflect on the University of Pretoria's impressive journey, which marked its 116th anniversary on February 10th, we are filled with immense pride at our latest achievement in this ranking.

Maintaining our third-place ranking overall in South Africa, alongside securing a commendable second place in teaching and fourth place in research, is a testament to the relentless dedication, innovation and hard work of our faculty, students and staff.

“This recognition underscores our unwavering commitment to excellence in teaching, research and community engagement. As we celebrate this milestone, we remain focused on our mission to inspire the leaders and innovators of tomorrow, ensuring that UP continues to be a beacon of knowledge, not just in South Africa, but around the globe. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contributed to our success and look forward to forging new paths of excellence in the years to come,” said Mosia.

Pretoria News