The NWU & U


Please send us your comments, suggestions and any other contributions you would like to make, for instance photographs or news snippets.


We value your opinions and input – after all, the NWU & U belongs to us all.




Next Article

previous article



more info






There are more than 1 400 academic programmes offered at the NWU. Our success rate for contact students in 2019 was 85,75%. For more information about the NWU’s performance, watch the video on the back page of this edition.


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 the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), 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 also 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.


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


These include rankings by the 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


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


The 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 – 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


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.


THE rankings for 2021


The latest ranking by the THE is another feather in the cap for the NWU. This ranking places us among the top six 6 universities in South Africa and between 501 and 600 out of more than 1 500 universities across 93 countries and regions that were evaluated for the 2021 rankings.


Like last year, we achieved our top position in the area of citations – we are ranked among the top 5 universities in South Africa in this area.


THE explains that the citations show how much each university is contributing to the sum of human knowledge. It is therefore an indicator that the value of the NWU's research is recognised in the global scholarly community.

NWU consistently shines in rankings

The 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.


Prof Dan Kgwadi, NWU vice-chancellor and principal.


Let’s celebrate


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.”




NWU & U  |

NWU & U  |