What Are The Top 10 Best Universities In South Africa?

South Africa is a  household name but it may seem impossible to talk about South Africa without acknowledging the role apartheid has played in shaping the cultural and political landscape of today. Nevertheless, international icons like Nelson Mandela, through hard work and persistence, South Africa has come together to become what we know today as the “Rainbow Nation”.

As an international student traversing any one of South Africa’s many popular student destinations, you will be amazed at how cultural diversity has come together to create a magical national narrative.

Currently, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town are the three capitals of South Africa with each of them having its political responsibility. In addition, the country claims to be Africa’s second-largest economy, thereby making it an attractive location for international business and trade.

The above ranking is not based on academic but Web metrics, using certain parameters such as online presence and authority, availability of research online to rank the best universities in Africa and all over the world. Using these parameters, some academically sound universities can lag nevertheless, the goal is to improve the overall web presence, research, and publishing of universities.

Choosing South Africa as a study destination is one of the best choices you can make as a student because the country prides itself in housing the best higher educational institutions and facilities in the world. 

According to the recent release of the top-ranking universities in Africa, the South African education system is one of the best in Africa with most of its universities ranking top. Do you know that amongst the first 1000 universities in the world, 500 South African universities are among the top?

 Now, if you are considering studying in South Africa, we have listed below the recent ranking of the top 10 universities in South Africa according to web metrics in ascending order.

10. University of South Africa

The tenth university on our list is the UNISA  with a student headcount of over 300,000 students, thereby making it the biggest university in Africa. The school attracts one-third of all higher education students in the whole of South Africa including African and international students in 130 countries all over the world, making it one of the mega universities in the world.

Talking about an institution that is an honourable, comprehensive, flexible, and convenient open distance learning institution, motivating the future generation through offering internationally accredited qualifications with world-class resources, then you must be talking about the UNISA.  

9. North-West University

This university is a multi-campus university that harbors two main South African provinces. After the merger of Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and the University of the North-West which are two universities with very distinct historical backgrounds and cultures, the North-West University was established on the 1st of January 2004. Now you know the reason why it is the most diverse school, though best-managed and most innovative universities in South Africa.

Another interesting fact about the North-West University is that it offers students both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, an exceptionally rich range of study choices at which span the spectrum of academic disciplines, ranging from agriculture, arts, commerce, engineering, education, health, law, the natural sciences, and then theology.

8. University of the Western Cape

This institution is situated in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. Established in 1960 by the South African government, it is known to be a university for only coloured people. Furthermore, it has been in the vanguard of South Africa’s historic change among academic higher institutions, playing a clear academic role in assisting to build an equitable and dynamic nation.

The major concern of the University of the Western Cape is from a heart of extensive practical engagement in assisting the historically marginalized to participate fully in the life of the nation, through access, equity,  and quality in higher education.

7. Rhodes University

The 104-year old South African University is an institution located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa with a well-established reputation for academic excellence. Even though Rhodes is a small university, it boasts of having the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates in South Africa, excellent postgraduate success rates, and one of the best research output per academic staff member.

This is evident in the quality of students that gets admitted into Rhodes, the quality academic provision, and the commitment of Rhodes staff to the development and success of students.

6. University of KwaZulu Natal

Ranking the 686th among the top universities in the world, and of course one of the best South African university is the University of KwaZulu Natal.

Moreover, the merger between the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal gave birth to the University of KwaZulu-Natal on the 1st of January 2004. Little wonder why the new university combines the rich histories of both the former Universities.

In 2004, the South African government set out on its journey of restructuring the higher educational institutions in South Africa thereby reducing the number from 36 to 21, and this step resulted in the two KwaZulu-Natal universities which were among the first batch of South African institutions to merge in 2004.

5. University of Johannesburg

Here comes one of the most prestigious universities in Africa. This institution is notably one of the biggest, multi-campus, residential universities in South Africa aiming to climb the ladder of the highest distinction in scholarship and research within the context of higher education.

Also, the university harbours over 90 rated researchers, thereby providing the most suitable ground for interdisciplinary research. The University not only addresses the needs of South African society, but fosters ideas that are rooted in African epistemology, and is bent on adding to sustainable growth and development.

4. Stellenbosch University

In the world of academic excellence, research, and innovation, Stellenbosch university ranks the number 1 university in South Africa and has earned its spot on the 400th position in the world. Having the highest proportions of postgraduate students in the country, ten percent of them are international students, and it takes pride in that fact.

The earliest roots of the University can be traced back to the 17th century with its location being in the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley at the center of the Western Cape Winelands.

3. University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria kicked off its activities as early as1908 having just four professors and three lecturers as staff with thirty-two students registering for courses at the first campus, named Kya Rosa.

But in 1930, the University of Pretoria kicked off as a fully-fledged independent university. And over the years, the institution has never disappointed, it has continuously maintained a high standard and world-class talents. 

2.  University of the Witwatersrand

The reputation of the University of Witwatersrand was anchored on research and academic excellence.

Interestingly, it is one out of the only two universities in Africa rated in two different international rankings as a leading institution all over the world. The institution is situated in a world-class city known as Johannesburg, with numerous opportunities for students and staff to engage with and proffer solutions.

Furthermore, it is among Africa’s premier research universities that work hard to be innovative, exceed the boundaries of knowledge, and concentrate on maintaining competitive standards of excellence in learning, teaching, and research globally.

1.  University of Cape Town

And number one on our list is the University of Cape Town which is rated number 456 among the best universities in the world. The school was established in 1829 and has successfully effected social change over time through its pioneering scholarship for both the faculty and students.

The campus is situated at the foot of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak having panoramic views of much of Cape Town, thereby making it a beauty to behold. The University of Cape Town strives to become a common ground between South Africa, the rest of Africa, and the world.

The University of Cape Town through innovative research and scholarship, taking advantage of the growing global networks and a distinct vantage point in Africa, the University of Cape Town is committed to tackling the major issues of our natural and social worlds.

Finally, if you are looking at studying in South Africa as an international student, we suggest that you consider one out of the top aforementioned ten universities.

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