South African education system is one of the best in Africa with most of South African universities ranking high in the latest release of the top ranking universities in Africa. Some of the best universities in South Africa are well within the first 1000 universities in the world with the first being among the top 500. In as much as it may not sound so encouraging that the first ranking African University struggled to come within the first 500 in a US dominated list, it is still a something to be encouraged about as most universities in South Africa attract foreign students because of higher standards of learning. This ranking is purely based on Webometrics ratings which uses certain parameters including online presence and authority to rank the best universities in Africa and across the world. It is normal for some universities to lag behind using this parameter however, the aim is to facilitate the web presence, research and publishing of universities overall. Answers Africa brings you the latest ranking of the top 10 universities in South Africa.
Best 10 South African Universities
10. North-West University (NWU)
The North West University is a multi-campus university that covers two major South African provinces. The North West University was established on the 1st of January 2004 after the merger of Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education and the University of the North-West which are two universities with very different historical background and cultures. NWU is among the most diverse, best-managed and most innovative universities in South Africa.
The North West University offers students an exceptionally rich range of study choices at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels which span the spectrum of academic disciplines, from agriculture and the arts through to commerce, engineering, education, health, law, the natural sciences and theology.
9. University of Johannesburg
The University of Johannesburg is surely one of the best universities in Africa. The University of Johannesburg (UJ), one of the largest, multi-campus, residential universities in South Africa and seeks to achieve the highest distinction in scholarship and research within the higher education context. The university provides the ideal ground for interdisciplinary research and the university has more than 90 rated researchers. The University fosters ideas that are rooted in African epistemology, but also addresses the needs of South African society and the African continent as it is committed to contribute to sustainable growth and development.
8. University of the Western Cape
Located in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. The University of the Western Cape was established in 1960 by the South African government as a university for Coloured people only. Among academic higher institutions it has been in the vanguard of South Africa’s historic change, playing a distinctive academic role in helping to build an equitable and dynamic nation. University of the Western Cape’s key concerns with access, equity and quality in higher education arise from extensive practical engagement in helping the historically marginalised participate fully in the life of the nation.
7. Rhodes University
Rhodes University is a 104-year old South African institution with a well-established reputation for academic excellence. Located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Rhodes is a small university which enjoys the distinction of having among the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates in South Africa, outstanding postgraduate success rates, and the best research output per academic staff member. This is testimony to the quality of students that Rhodes attracts and of academic provision, and to the commitment of Rhodes staff to student development and success.
6. University of South Africa
The University of South Africa (UNISA) is the largest university in Africa attracting one third of all higher education students in the entire South Africa with a student headcount of over 300,000 students, including African and international students in 130 countries worldwide, making it one of the world’s mega universities. Africa’s leading distance learning institution nurturing inspiring leaders of tomorrow. UNISA is a reputable, comprehensive, flexible and accessible open distance learning institution that is motivating a future generation and offers internationally accredited qualifications with world-class resources.
5. University of Kwazulu Natal
The University of Kwazulu Natal university ranks number 686 in the world and is one of the top universities in South Africa. The University of KwaZulu-Natal was formed on 1 January 2004 as a result of the merger between the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. The new university brings together the rich histories of both the former Universities. The two KwaZulu-Natal universities were among the first batch of South African institutions to merge in 2004 in accordance with the government’s higher educational restructuring plans that will eventually see the number of higher educational institutions in South Africa reduced from 36 to 21.
4. University of the Witwatersrand
University of the Witwatersrand has a reputation built on research and academic excellence. Wits is one of only two universities in Africa ranked in two separate international rankings as a leading institution in the world and is the only university in the country that features in the top 1% in the world in seven defined fields of research according to the 2007 ISI international rankings. University of Witwatersrand is located in Johannesburg, a world class city, with countless opportunities for students and staff to engage with and present solutions.
The University of the Witwatersrand is one of Africa’s premier research universities strives to be innovative, where boundaries of knowledge are pushed and where the focus is on sustaining globally competitive standards of excellence in learning, teaching and research.
3. University of Pretoria
The University of Pretoria started its activities in 1908 with a staff of only four professors and three lecturers. Thirty-two students enrolled for courses at the first campus, Kya Rosa, a house in the centre of the Pretoria. The University of Pretoria became a fully fledged university in 1930. The name Tuks, for the University of Pretoria, derives from the acronym for the College, namely TUC and the Pretoria branch of the Transvaal University College (TUC) was the forerunner of the University of Pretoria.The institution has proven its worth over the years by maintaining a high standard and world class talents.
2. University of Cape Town
The University of Cape Town is ranked number 456 among the best universities in the world. UCT was founded in 1829 and has a proud tradition of academic excellence and effecting social change and development through its pioneering scholarship, faculty and students. It is also renowned for its striking beauty, with its campus located at the foot of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak, with panoramic views of much of Cape Town. UCT aspires to become a premier academic meeting point between South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world. Taking advantage of expanding global networks and a distinct vantage point in Africa, University of Cape Town is committed, through innovative research and scholarship, to grapple with the key issues of our natural and social worlds.
1. Stellenbosch University
The Stellenbosch University is the number 1 university in South Africa and occupies the 400th position in the world in academic excellence, research, innovation and study environment. It takes pride in the fact that it has one of the country’s highest proportions of postgraduate students of which almost ten percent are international students. The University lies in the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley in the heart of the Western Cape Winelands. The earliest roots of the University can be traced back to the 17th century when a beginning was made with regular school instruction.