The University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) School of Engineering – Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) – has been ranked first in South Africa and Africa according to the 2020 US News and World Report Rankings of the Best Global Universities for Engineering.
“The EBIT Faculty is proud of its recent achievement and this is largely owing to the tremendous effort of the leadership in the various departments, our committed lecturers and dedicated students through the wonderful support of our alumni, government and industry partners,” says faculty dean Professor Sunil Maharaj.
EBIT was established in 1956 and has grown from having 64 students enrolled to more than 8 000 undergraduate students.
Over the years, the School of Engineering has experienced remarkable growth and development, producing about 28% of graduate engineers in the country in 2019.
In 1971, it became the largest school of engineering in the country.
UP’s School of Engineering is one of the four schools in the faculty and comprises chemical, civil, electrical, electronic and computer, materials science and metallurgical, mining, mechanical and aeronautical and industrial and systems engineering departments.
While the number-one rating is a remarkable achievement celebrated with great pride, it does not come as a surprise as the school was cited in the International Science Index, Web of Science, among the top 1% of engineering schools worldwide in 2016.
Since 2001, the School of Engineering’s nine undergraduate programmes have been subject to internationally recognised accreditation processes by the Engineering Council of South Africa, which takes place every five years.
Accreditation is granted in terms of the prescribed standards of the Washington Accord, which is used to assess the education of professional engineers in 17 countries across the world.
This confirms that the faculty is highly ranked globally, and its undergraduate programmes are accredited by both national and international statutory bodies.
The EBIT faculty’s research activities have been gaining momentum since the mid-70s. Through its various research focus areas, the School of Engineering continues to contribute to high-quality research, making UP a leading research-intensive university in Africa and beyond.
It has 19 externally funded research chairs and 13 institutes and centres that attract high-quality students and staff.
In order to be a globally competitive leader, the faculty actively collaborates with international universities and other innovative institutions around the world such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in the US.
The school prides itself on outstanding world-class facilities, including a Mining Virtual Reality Centre, a Mining Industry Engineering Study Centre, which is designed and equipped to support the on-campus study needs of engineering students in a computer laboratory and also provide facilities for individual and group work.
It has over 800 individual study cubicles and 30 discussion rooms which students can book for their group discussions.
The latest addition to the school is Engineering 4.0, which was developed in collaboration with the South African National Roads Agency. This facility provides a space for innovative solutions to the challenges of future transportation and smart cities through a transdisciplinary approach.
The proximity of this hub to the N4 highway is unique, as adjacent to the facility is an active test lane on the N4 highway, which is a first for Africa, where the faculty will collect real-time data to measure and model transport systems using big data analytics, design and test Internet of Things sensors and devices, and work on future automotive engineering and railway systems.