Home Education Higher Education Universities in South Africa
Last update on May 22, 2020

If you want to study in South Africa, here is a guide to higher education options, including information on the various universities in South Africa.

If you want to study in South Africa, you will find institutions for higher education in South Africa that offer undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees. There are 23 state-funded institutions: 11 traditional, 6 technical and 6 comprehensive universities, as well as approximately 100 other private institutions. Local and international students can find educational training on a global level, as classes are offered not only in local languages like Afrikaans but also in English. Listed below are some of the most well-known accredited South African Universities.

Universities in South Africa

Universities in South Africa

Traditional universities in South Africa generally offer more theoretical-based training.

The University of Cape Town was founded in 1829 and can be considered an international university, as its staff members and students come from around 100 foreign countries. The university consists of seven departments: Centre for Higher Education Development, Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science.

The University of Pretoria is one of the best research institutions in South Africa and it offers approximately 1800 academic programs in both English and Afrikaans. The university consists of the Gordon Institute of Business Science and 9 faculties: Economic and Management Sciences, Education, Engineering, Built Environment, Information Technology, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Theology and Veterinary Science.

The University of Stellenbosch sits among the top research universities in South Africa with around 24,000 students and 800 staff members. The well-recognized institution offers similar programs to the ones offered in the Universities of Pretoria and Cape Town, but also has a faculty of Military Sciences.

The University of the Witwatersrand, situated in Johannesburg, offers its prospective students a high level of training in diverse spheres like Health Sciences, Humanities, Science,  Engineering and the Built Environment, Commerce Law and Management.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal was found in 2004 after the union of the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. It has a college model structure and its five campuses are located in the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg.

Rhodes University offers not only a high level of education but also a very exciting campus and social life for its students. With more than 70 clubs and societies, the university encourages its students to develop a diverse set of intellectual skills in leadership, philosophy, arts, sports, and more.

Technical universities in South Africa

Study at university in South Africa

Universities of technology in South Africa are called technikons and offer their students vocational-oriented programs.

The Tshwane University of Technology, founded in 2004, accepts approximately 60,000 students every year. It is generally engaged with the social and economic development of the South African region. The institution offers 170 academic programs in seven different faculties: Engineering and the Built Environment, Science, Humanities, Information and Communication Technology, Arts, Economics and Finance.

> The Central University of Technology is currently the only technical university in South Africa to be a member of the National Medical Device Innovation Platform (MDIP). It also offers selected academic programs at regional learning centers for people who do not have the opportunity to study full-time on the main campus.

The Durban University of Technology is part of the International Association of Universities and offers high quality of teaching, research and student life. The institutions consist of seven faculties: Business Studies Unit, Accounting and Informatics, Applied Science, Arts, Engineering and the Built Environment, Health Sciences, and Management Sciences.

Combined universities in South Africa

Comprehensive universities in South Africa combine both types of training that technical and traditional universities offer.

> The University of South Africa was founded in 1873 and is one of the largest universities in the world, with approximately 300,000 enrolled students. It is one of the leading distance academic institutions in South Africa, consisting of five different colleges, one Graduate School of Business Leadership, and an Institute for African Renaissance Studies.

> The University of Johannesburg is among the biggest and most outstanding research institutions in South Africa and is largely based in African epistemology. It strongly engages with the needs of the African society, and its sustainable development and future growth. It offers a variety of programs in Art, Design, Architecture, Economics, Humanities, Law, Management and Engineering.

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is situated in the city of Port Elisabeth and attracts many international students every year, because of the good quality of its professional and academic training. The university offers academic programs in seven different faculties: Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Business and Economic Sciences, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Information Technology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Science.

In addition, there are a large number of private colleges and universities in South Africa. Further information can be found at www.dhet.gov.za.