News Releases

The UWI soars to the top in latest global universities rankings

For Release Upon Receipt - September 23, 2021


The UWI Regional Headquarters, Jamaica. W.I. Thursday, September 23, 2021.— Since 2016 when the management of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) took the strategic decision to prepare and position the institution for global competitive rankings, its performance results have been steadily progressive. The choice to engage the Times Higher Education (THE) ranking system was based on its standing as the most reputable and independently quality assured. Its annual rankings have become a standard measuring tool in the comparative performances of the best global universities. 

The ranking results for 2022, released by the THE in early September 2021 show that The UWI has soared within the scales, moving up a very impressive 94 places. From the global field of some 30,000 universities and elite research institutes, The UWI now stands in the top 1.5%, up from 3% in the prior year. 

“This is a spectacular performance,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Hilary Beckles noted. “While we have maintained our number one position in the Caribbean, and top 1% of the best in Latin America and the Caribbean, the surge to the top 1.5% in the world gives us a considerable degree of professional satisfaction as a management and leadership team,” Sir Hilary added. “The top global tier is where we set out to position our university and we have reached there,” he concluded. 

Pro Vice-Chancellor for Strategic Planning, and Principal of the Five Islands Campus, Professor Densil A. Williams, who has guided the global ranking engagement noted that, “the impressive performance of the university is rooted in the work of Faculties and Research Institutes. Campus principals and their leadership teams along with faculty and staff should also be commended for embracing the vision embedded in the Triple A Strategic Plan which laid the foundation for this ranking engagement since 2018.” 

In the current World University rankings, only 1,668 universities from 99 countries satisfied the eligibility criteria of the THE. This is up from 1,500 across 93 countries last year. The UWI rising is therefore within the context of a significantly expanded field of participants, which makes the performance even more impressive. 

Number of Qualified Universities by Region [Source: 2022 THE World University Rankings]. 

Western Europe


East Asia, Pacific


East Europe, Central Asia


North America


Middle East, North Africa


Latin America


South Asia


Sub-Saharan Africa


West Africa


East Africa






These 1,668 elite universities are ranked under five pillars of excellence: [1] teaching and learning; [2] research; [3] scholarly and professional citations; [4] industry income; and [5] international outlook and participation. Results are validated by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). 

The UWI’s robust comparative performance was driven by improved results in teaching and learning, research and professional citations, and global outlook and participation. This result places The UWI alongside the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. It also locates The UWI in the elite band of BRICS universities in Brazil, Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa with 3.2 billion people compared to the 6.2 million in the English-speaking Caribbean. 

Areas of concern which are red flagged, and identified for improvement remain constant—insufficient private sector investment in research, and volatility in government funding that raises questions with respect to the enterprise’s financial sustainability. These areas are placed at the centre of strategic planning for the next five-year period. 

In general, these results are particularly satisfying to management given the headwinds faced by the university in recent years, resulting from escalating regional fiscal challenges, economic impact of hurricanes, and financial devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under the stellar leadership of Vice-Chancellor Beckles, management remained steadfast and unflinching in its effort to deliver high quality services to students and other stakeholders. While participating in public discourses about the specific roles and relevance of the university, management maintained its focus on the objective of delivering measurable performance outcomes that will enhance the development of the region. 


About The UWI

The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region. 

From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hill in Barbados, Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda and its Open Campus, and 10 global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe

The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world. 

Ranked among the top universities in the world, by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education, The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists. In 2020, it earned ‘Triple 1st’ rankings—topping the Caribbean; and in the top in the tables for Latin America and the Caribbean, and global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the top universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action. 

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(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)