Best Universities in South Africa to Study Business, Accounting and Law


The latest edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject has been released, ranking South African universities with some of the best courses in the world.

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

Research citations, as well as results from major global employer and academic surveys are also used to rank universities.

Looking specifically at the fields of accounting, finance, business, and law, five South African universities stand out for having some of the best courses in the world for these subjects.

The University of Cape Town carries the distinction of being top ranked in all but one area, with the University of Pretoria ahead of UCT as having the best course in accounting and finance.

South African universities show the best performance in the field of development studies in the QS rankings, with the University of Cape Town having the ninth best course in the world.

Wits University also stands out in this area, ranking 22nd overall, with Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu Natal ranking in the top 100.

UCT further holds the distinction of being the only South African university to be ranked among the best in the world for its courses in politics and social policy and administration.

Accounting and finance

Local University Global
1 University of Pretoria 101-150
2 University of Cape Town 151-200
3 University of the Witwatersrand 251-300

Business and management studies

Local University Global
1 University of Cape Town 301-350
2 University of Stellenbosch 351-400
3 University of the Witwatersrand 451-500

Economics and econometrics

Local University Global
1 University of Cape Town 201-250
2 University of Pretoria 201-250
3 University of Stellenbosch 351-400
4 University of Johannesburg 351-400
5 University of the Witwatersrand 351-400

Law and legal studies

Local University Global
1 University of Cape Town 101-150
2 University of Pretoria 151-200
3 University of the Witwatersrand 251-300
4 University of Stellenbosch 301-350

Development studies

Local University Global
1 University of Cape Town 9
2 University of the Witwatersrand 22
3 University of Stellenbosch 51-100
4 University of KwaZulu-Natal 51-100
5 University of the Western Cape 51-100
6 University of Pretoria 101-110

General classification

Nine of South Africa’s universities are ranked in the QS World Rankings for 2022, led by the University of Cape Town, which ranks 226th overall.

UCT ranked well ahead of the University of the Witwatersrand, while the University of Johannesburg moved up the rankings, pushing the University of Stellenbosch into third place.

University Ranking 2022 Ranking 2021
University of Cape Town 226 220
University of the Witwatersrand 424 403
University of Johannesburg 434 439
University of Stellenbosch 482 456
University of Pretoria 601-650 561-570
Rhodes University 801-1000 801-1000
University of KwaZulu-Natal 801-1000 801-1000
Northwestern University 1001-1200 1001+
University of the Western Cape 1001-1200 1001+


The QS Ranking is based on a mix of survey responses and hard data across six indicators, compiled and weighted to formulate a final score.

More than 80,000 academics and 40,000 employers contributed to the rankings through QS’s global surveys, while QS said it analyzed 99 million citations from 10.3 million papers and 1,000 institutions were ranked.

The main ranking indicator, representing 40% of the total score, is based on academic reputation.

Academic reputation is measured using a global survey, in which scholars were asked to identify institutions where they believe the best work is currently taking place in their area of ​​expertise.

The indicators and scores are:

  • Academic reputation (40%)
  • Employer reputation (10%)
  • Student-faculty ratio (20%)
  • Citations by faculty (20%)
  • International faculty ratio (5%)
  • Rate of international students (5%)

Read: Here’s how many university students are planning to leave South Africa for work


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