10 Best Universities in South Africa for International Students 

Written by David on November 28, 2022

9 min read

There are a lot of good arguments in favor of you going to school in South Africa. South Africa is a fantastic place to get an education for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are the fact that it is relatively inexpensive, has a welcoming community, a rich cultural heritage, and a wide range of educational opportunities.

The education system in South Africa is widely regarded as being among the very best in all of Africa, with the vast majority of the country’s educational institutions, including its universities, scoring highly on the most recent list of the continent’s most prestigious educational institutions. The University of South Africa is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the world, and its first university is consistently ranked among the top 500 universities worldwide.

1. University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town now holds the 456th spot on the list of the finest universities across the globe. UCT was established in 1829, and ever since then, it has maintained a proud reputation of academic quality while also contributing to social change and development via the pioneering scholarship of its students, faculty, and alumni.

Teaching, research, and facilities at the Institution of Cape Town (UCT) are all intended to be at the cutting edge of their respective fields. UCT aspires to be an inclusive, research-intensive African university that responds to the challenges of the times. As an educational institution, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is dedicated to the principles of fostering change, exerting maximum effort to ensure the long-term viability of our organization, and pursuing excellence in all that they undertake.

In addition to this, it is well-known for its breathtaking scenery, as the school is situated at the base of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak, allowing students to enjoy breathtaking vistas of the majority of Cape Town. UCT has the ambitious goal of becoming a leading intellectual hub that brings together South Africa, the rest of Africa, and the rest of the world. The University of Cape Town is dedicated to tackling the most pressing problems facing our natural and social worlds through the conduct of cutting-edge research and scholarly work. The university takes advantage of expanding global networks and a distinct vantage point in Africa to achieve this goal.

2. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

The University of Witwatersrand has achieved worldwide renown thanks to its dedication to research and exceptional academic achievement. There are only two universities in all of Africa, and Wits University is one of them because it has been recognized as a top university in the world by two different organizations. According to the international rankings published by the ISI in 2007, it is also the only university in the country to rank within the top 1% in the world in seven distinct areas of research. Johannesburg, South Africa is home to Wits University.

More than 85% of our research has been published in high-quality international journals, so we promote interdisciplinary study and foster connections with top researchers around the globe. Wits University is a leader in a wide range of disciplines and pursuits, such as, but not limited to, unraveling the mysteries of life, solving the difficulties of deep-level mining, discovering the Higgs boson at CERN, and deciphering the nuances of human interaction.

Wits University is the most successful educational institution in South Africa in terms of producing millionaires. Many of our grads have changed the game after leaving us, making significant contributions to many different industries. Contributing to cultural institutions, fighting against injustice, and making their communities more appealing to live in are all outcomes of their engagement in civic life. Through our alumni office, we provide our alums with exclusive benefits and resources. Many benefits come with being a Wits student.

Famous alumnus Nelson Mandela studied law there before becoming South Africa’s president and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 1993. Nadine Gordimer, a novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991, was a student at Wits for a year. In addition, Nobel laureates in chemistry (1982’s Aaron Klug) and medicine (2002’s Sydney Brenner) both attended Wits for their undergraduate education. As a result of its location in Johannesburg, a city of international renown, the University of the Witwatersrand offers its students and faculty a wealth of opportunities to engage with local challenges and contribute viable solutions.

3. Stellenbosch University

When it comes to quality of education, research, and new ideas, Stellenbosch University is not just the top school in South Africa, but also the 400th best in the entire globe. The college takes pride in having one of the highest concentrations of graduate students in the nation; of these, about 10% are international students.

It has grown into a prestigious South African university with aspirations of becoming Africa’s preeminent center of research, gaining international renown as a model of excellence, diversity, and originality, and applying its findings to the betterment of society.

To fulfill its mission of “enriching and transforming communities on a local, continental, and global scale,” Syracuse University is a research-intensive institution that attracts great students, employs bright staff, and provides a world-class environment. Superior facilities, a dedicated faculty, and an international student body all contribute to SU’s reputation as a top university. The University is located in the breathtakingly picturesque Jonkershoek Valley in the heart of the Western Cape Winelands. It was in the 17th century that the initial steps toward building a university were taken, and those stages consisted of establishing a regular school to teach pupils.

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4. Rhodes University

Rhodes University is a public research university located in the South African town of Grahamstown, in the province of Eastern Cape. It has been shown that Rhodes University in South Africa is able to function with a comparatively cheap tuition price.

Undergraduates and graduates have their pick of many different degree programs, as well as the support of faculty and close supervision throughout their time in school. The college or university features six major academic divisions: business, teaching, the humanities, law, pharmacy, and science. Fifty-four different countries are represented among the school’s 20,000 pupils, making up 20% of the total international population. About 30% of the student body is made up of graduate and doctoral level learners.

About half of Rhodes University’s first-year students live in on-campus residence halls. Because of how small the campus is, students can get around on foot and do not need a car. One of the oldest in the area, it was formed in 1904 and is the fifth-oldest university in South Africa. The University of the Free State, which likewise dates back to 1904, comes just after the school in question. Cape Town University was founded in 1929, while Stellenbosch University was founded in 1966, and Witwatersrand University was founded in 1896.

5. University of Pretoria

When the University of Pretoria first opened its doors in 1908, just four professors and three lecturers were on staff. The initial campus, known as Kya Rosa, had 32 students enrolled in classes at a house in the centre of Pretoria.

As one of the largest research universities in South Africa, we are committed to finding solutions to the difficulties that modern society faces. Our excellent facilities attract students from all around the world who want to work and learn alongside our renowned faculty.

The University of the Philippines is home to nine faculties, including the Gordon Institute of Business Science, that collectively provide undergraduate and graduate degrees. Researchers at UP are at the forefront of their fields, conducting groundbreaking work that serves not only the United States but the entire world. To ensure that its research, teaching, and learning remain at the forefront of their fields, UP frequently collaborates with partners that are among the best in the world. The institution heavily employs state-of-the-art technologies in its research, instruction, and service delivery.

6. University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg has earned a reputation as one of Africa’s finest educational institutions. The mission of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is to be internationally recognized as a center of excellence in teaching, research, and service to society. It is a huge residential university with multiple campuses in South Africa.

Over ninety researchers at the university have received positive evaluations from their colleagues, and the setting is ideal for interdisciplinary research.

UJ is home to more than 100 student organizations and societies, so international students have plenty of opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom. Groups like this can have a concentration on a specific country, religion, gaming, sports, or a specific set of rules for conducting themselves as a member. Participation in the UJ choir is a great way to meet new people, see the country, and get involved with student organizations on campus. The audition process is required for participation. Student Buddies and the UJ International Student Society are two groups that facilitate interactions between local and international students for the objectives of learning about one other’s cultures, having fun, and taking trips.

Ideas with roots in African epistemology are nurtured as part of the University’s dedication to contributing to sustainable growth and development. However, it also caters to the necessities of South African culture and the rest of Africa.

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7. University of KwaZulu Natal

The University of KwaZulu Natal is a leading research university in South Africa and now ranks 686th in the world. After a merger on January 1, 2004, the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal became the University of KwaZulu-Natal. KwaZulu-Natal is the site of the brand-new educational facility. The new university is an amalgamation of two illustrious educational institutions.

Because of its progressive curricula, engaging classroom settings, state-of-the-art research facilities, and recognized professional degrees, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has become a leading institution of higher education on the African continent. When it comes to the quality and quantity of research it produces, the University of South Africa is unrivaled among the country’s publicly funded universities. Natural and biological sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences are only few of the areas explored in research.

The organization works to broaden the options available to people from low-income backgrounds in areas such as education and employment. It also promotes shifts and redresses, and works to make learning easy for all students. The purpose of this is to encourage people to broaden their horizons and learn more about the many facets of our complex society, as well as to encourage them to build their own sense of social responsibility and moral compass.

8. Northwest University (NWU)

The North-west University is a multi-campus institution that spans across two of the most important provinces in South Africa. Innovation, community engagement, and NWU’s eight different faculties are all connected. They serve both students who study with us online and those who study with us in person, as well as our primary activities of teaching and research.

The Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and the University of the North-West, which are two universities with very different historical backgrounds and cultures, merged on the first of January, 2004, to form what is now known as the North-West University. This new institution of higher education was established on that date. NWU is one of the universities in South Africa that has the highest level of diversity, the best management, and the most innovative programs.

The North-West University provides students with an exceptionally extensive variety of study options at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. These options span the gamut of academic fields, from agriculture and the arts to commerce, engineering, education, health, law, and the natural sciences as well as theology.

9. University of the Western Cape

Located in the Bellville neighborhood of Cape Town, South Africa. In 1960, the government of South Africa established the University of the Western Cape as a school for persons of color only. In a time of great transition for South Africa, it has played a leading intellectual role in helping to shape the country into one that is both fair and prosperous. Over the past few years, it has been at the front of this shift. UWC’s core concerns on access, equity, and quality in higher education stem from the organization’s considerable practical commitment to ensuring that people who have been historically marginalized are able to take their rightful place in the life of the nation.

When it comes to academic institutions of higher learning, it has been in the vanguard of South Africa’s historic transition, playing a distinctive academic role in the process of helping to establish an egalitarian and dynamic nation.

Western Cape University’s major concerns with access, equity, and quality in higher education stem from the university’s considerable practical participation in helping those who have historically been marginalized to participate fully in the life of the nation.

10. University of South Africa (UNISA)

The University of South Africa (UNISA) is the largest university in Africa, and it draws one-third of all higher education students in South Africa as a whole. With a student headcount of over 300,000 students, the University of South Africa (UNISA) is considered to be one of the world’s mega universities. These students come from Africa as well as 130 other countries around the world.

The motto of the University of South Africa (UNISA), “towards the African university in service to mankind,” serves as motivation for us to find answers to Africa’s educational and developmental problems. Through the establishment of collaborations in both Africa and other parts of the world, the institution strives to help the people of Africa achieve the goals that they have set for themselves. Teaching, research, and involvement in the local community are the three primary focuses of UNISA’s operations.

The preeminent institution for online education in Africa, fostering the development of visionary future leaders. A future generation is being inspired by UNISA, which is a respected university that provides open distance learning that is all-encompassing, flexible, and easily accessible. In addition, UNISA provides internationally accredited qualifications with world-class resources.

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You’ll discover that the majority of colleges in South Africa provide international students with multicultural student communities, high-quality academic facilities, a diverse selection of extracurricular activities and clubs, and strong support systems.

When compared to countries like the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom, the cost of education in South Africa is far lower, making it one of the most attractive aspects of studying there.

2 thoughts on “10 Best Universities in South Africa for International Students 

    1. Hi. We wish good luck. You must understand that you are only at the beginning, but you must study hard in order to achieve this goal.

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