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Top Universities in South Africa (2019 Update)

by Samia Tasnim

Top Universities in South Africa are not only top-ranked in South Africa but also in world universities top raking. So, best universities in South Africa are quite in a big number. If you are willing to study in South Africa, there is no shortage of choice. But first, you need to know about those Universities and make the best decision where do you prefer to study.

World University Rankings 2018 & South Africa

ranking World Rank University Presence Rank Impact Rank Openness Rank Excellence Rank
1 290 University of Cape Town 500 413 234 265
2 455 University of the Witwatersrand 1163 745 422 394
3 480 Stellenbosch University 657 693 557 466
4 516 University of Pretoria 179 715 495 543
5 641 University of Kwazulu Natal 986 1301 584 496
6 919 University of Johannesburg 1856 2290 593 709
7 938 University of the Western Cape 2104 1093 1106 1058
8 1122 Rhodes University 1622 1327 1069 1350
9 1188 North-West University 1255 2370 1138 1018
10 1323 University of the Free State 1516 1564 1454 1535

Source: QS World University Rankings 2018

Top Universities in South Africa 2018

University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town has taken 19th in this year’s BRICS and 290th place in the world rankings. It has been consistently ranked number 1 among the top universities in South Africa. The University of Cape Town is the oldest university in South Africa that was founded in 1829 as the South African College. The campus view is very beautiful and impressive. The University of Cape Town is Africa’s leading research university and it has been ranking for its research work and result. This large university has about 29,000 students.The University of Cape Town has a large number of foreign students who come from outside of South Africa and this university has already gained the 13th place for the international students in this year’s BRICS.

The University of Cape Town has already taken its place in the QS World University Rankings by Subject to 35 subjects out of about 46 subjects. The University of Cape Town has achieved the places based on the subjects as mentioned below,

  • 10th place for development studies
  • 47th place for geography
  • In the top 100 for the subjects like English language and literature, law studies, anatomy, architecture, physiology, and also sports-related subjects.

University of the Witwatersrand

The University of the Witwatersrand is in number second on the top universities in South Africa. The University of the Witwatersrand has taken 36th in this year’s BRICS and also 455th place in the world rankings. The University of the Witwatersrand is also known as Wits University. The university was founded in 1896 and now it has around 33,700 students. The University of the Witwatersrand has the strongest rank among South African universities for its number of international faculties and students. Many of the Nobel Prize winners including Nelson Mandela has been the alumni of this great University.
The university started its footstep as a mining school first. And already the University of the Witwatersrand has been ranked in the QS World University Rankings by Subject-

  • In the top 50 international universities for mineral & mining engineering
  • 18th for development studies
  • The world’s best for other 22 subjects

Related: Best Universities in Australia 2018 on the Basis of Departments

Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is ranked 47th in BRICS and 480th in the world rankings at the same time. It was founded in 1918 in Stellenbosch which is a town in the Western Cape of South Africa. This is another largest universities in South Africa and has 30,850 students including 4,000 foreign students. Like Wits, it has gained a very high rank for its international faculties that is the fourth in the BRICS ranking and this is awesome!
Stellenbosch University is in the ranking of,

  • The world’s best for 18 subjects
  • Has been in the top 100 for development studies, agriculture theology, divinity and religious studies.

University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria has been in 11 places this year and has taken the ranking of 38th in BRICS and the 516th in the world rankings. It is also one of the largest South African universities with a proud number of about 50,000 students. This university belongs to seven campuses. This university is popular for being the leading research university. It is the only university in South Africa with a veterinary science faculty. It offers more than 1,800 programs. In 1949, it launched the first MBA program after North America.
The University of Pretoria is internationally ranked for,

  • 16 subjects including the top 150 for the law, and agriculture, theology, divinity & religious studies

University of KwaZulu-Natal

The University of KwaZulu-Natal is in the place of 80th in BRICS and 641 in the world rankings. The University of KwaZulu-Natal is pretty younger among the South African universities. The university is made up of five campuses in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The scientists of this university play an important role in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis and have been working with the Center for AIDS Research in South Africa (CAPRISA) which is located on the university’s medical school campus.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal is already in the ranking among,

  • The world’s best for six subjects
  • The top South African universities to be in the place of top 100 for development studies

University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg is ranked 58th in this year’s BRICS and is also currently ranked 919th in the world rankings. This is the youngest of these top universities in South Africa. The University of Johannesburg was formed in 2005 and within these few years, it’s already now a large institution of over 50,000 students. This university belongs more than 3,000 international students from over 80 countries.
The University of Johannesburg is Ranked,

  • Among the world’s best for four subjects
  • It is in the top 100 for development studies

University of the Western Cape

The University of the Western Cape is ranked 146th in BRICS and 938th in the world rankings. The University of the Western Cape (UWC) was founded in 1959 in the Bellville suburb of Cape Town. It played a key role during the struggle against racial discrimination in South African history. It played the strong role in helping to build a fair nation. UWC has made itself as one of the most exceptional universities in the country and has built strong relationships with other universities in South Africa.

Rhodes University

The Rhodes University is in the ranking of 138th in BRICS and 1122nd in the world rankings. The Rhodes University was established in 1904 at Grahamstown in Eastern Cape Province. Though it is not that large campus, the university owns over 8,000 students. The Rhodes gets the highest score among all the South African universities for its huge number of international students. About 18% of international students study here.
Rhodes University is currently ranked,

  • In the global top 250 for communication and media studies, and English language and literature

North-West University

North-West University is ranked 181-190 in BRICS and in the 1188th of the world rankings. The university now has three campuses with more than 64,000 students. It has achieved the three QS Stars with a five-star score for innovation. This university has not still got the rankings by the subjects though.

University of the Free State

The University of the Free State is ranked 161st in BRICS this year and 1323rd in the world university rankings. The University of the Free State (UFS) is a public university with a multi-campus in Bloemfontein in the province of the Free State. It was established in 1904 as Grey College first and UFS now has around 39,440 students in seven faculties and three campuses. It has 221 percent research output since 2010 and also has 18 international research partnerships.

Top Universities in South Africa based on Subjects

Those Universities were the top ranked Universities in South Africa. South African Universities for Engineering, Business, Law, Medicine, Art, Psychology, and others also have already got their fame around the world. Now I am going to give some information about the Universities that are the best on the basis of different subjects.

Top Universities in South Africa for Medicine

If you are willing to start your career in medicine or medical school, you can give it a try to know about the Medical Universities of South Africa. The best ranked Medical Universities in South Africa are-

  • The University of Cape Town
  • The University of the Witwatersrand
  • The University of Pretoria
  • Stellenbosch University
  • The University of Johannesburg
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Rhodes University
  • University of the Western Cape

Top Universities in South Africa for Engineering

Universities of South Africa have shown strength in a variety of Engineering topics. For instance, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering are the top. Maths and Science are the main facts about those Engineering subjects. The following Universities are the top Universities in South Africa for Engineering.

  • The University of Pretoria
  • The University of the Witwatersrand
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • The University of Cape Town
  • Stellenbosch University
  • The University of Johannesburg
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Rhodes University
  • University of the Western Cape

Top Universities in South Africa for Law

The list of top universities in South Africa for Law is,

  • The University of Cape Town
  • Stellenbosch University
  • The University of Pretoria
  • The University of the Witwatersrand
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • The University of Johannesburg
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Rhodes University
  • University of the Western Cape

Top Universities in South Africa for Business

  • Stellenbosch University
  • Rhodes University
  • Henley Business School
  • The University of Cape Town
  • The University of Pretoria
  • The University of the Witwatersrand
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • The University of Johannesburg
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of the Western Cape

Top Universities in South Africa for Psychology

  • The University of Cape Town
  • Stellenbosch University
  • The University of Pretoria
  • The University of the Witwatersrand
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • The University of Johannesburg
  • The University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Rhodes University
  • University of the Western Cape

The best Universities in South Africa have taken places in World University Ranking. For studying in abroad or for higher studies, South Africa can be on your list. South Africa’s different Universities’ different departments and are making the best results and becoming the top every year. If your dream is to study in South Africa then get yourself prepared for the perfect University that you can afford for.

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