The new year always comes with many activities as high school graduates and other scholars seek to enroll in higher learning institutions to advance their studies. In case you are one of these graduates, it is likely that you are hunting for the top universities in South Africa for 2020. Lucky for you, we here bring you the best South African universities that offer exemplary academic qualifications. Remember, you want to pick an institution that has a globally recognized degree or other qualifications.
Where do you find the best universities in the world? The task of compiling the best universities globally is done by a number of organizations such as the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), which releases its ranking according to the standards of education, research quality, training quality, and the prestige of the members of faculties. Other organizations and rankings include the Academic Ranking of World Universities and the A3 Top 500 Global Universities among others.
READ ALSO: UNISA payment methods and fees 2019
University rankings in South Africa 2020
The test of time has proven that the best learning systems are now closer than you thought. Long gone is the narrative that the best curriculums are found overseas. Recent global rankings of the best universities have reaffirmed this finding, with several South African institutions featuring in the indexing. The first 7 institutions made it to best 1000 worldwide as per the 2018-2019 CWUR international indexing
Top universities in South Africa
What is the best university in South Africa? Times Higher Education ranking 2020 now recognizes South Africa as the leading academic destination for both local and international learners, given its robust education system that is not found anywhere else on the planet. This South African university rankings were entirely based on the quality of research and training, as well as the prestige enjoyed by faculty members. Below are the top 10 in South Africa 2020
1. University of Cape Town
Where is UCT ranked in the world? Most of the rankings out there confirm that the University of Cape Town is the top university in South Africa. In fact, it has maintained the top spot for a number of years now in a row. The learning institution continues to move higher against other colleges in the global ranking map. It is for this reason that UCT has the highest enrollment of interstate learners of about thirty thousand.
In 2019 - 2020, the CWUR ranked this higher education institution in the 252nd position globally.
2. University of the Witwatersrand
Wits University is situated at the heart of Johannesburg, where it runs as a giant academic center that has a significant influence across South Africa. In 2019-2020, it ranked 254 worldwide according to CWUR. Established in 1896 as a mining school, it has about 33,700 scholars from within and outside South Africa. To this day, it has held on to those roots by being among the top 50 institutions in the world in teaching mineral & mining engineering.
3. Stellenbosch University
Placed at the 381 position globally by the CWUR and third in South Africa in 2019-2020, Stellenbosch University was established in 1918. Located in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape Province, it has around 30,850 students from within and outside the country. Just like Witwatersrand, its international faculty is highly ranked in the nation. Some of its top disciplines include Divinity & Religious Studies, Development Studies, Agriculture, and Theology.
4. University of KwaZulu-Natal
The University of KwaZulu-Natal is one of the top ones in South Africa 2020 despite its young age. It was actually formed in 2004 by the merger of two institutions: the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. Based on the 2019-2020 rankings by CWUR, it was in the 424th position worldwide and fourth in the nation. This institution, which is located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, hosts the Center for AIDS Research in South Africa.
5. University of Johannesburg
Interestingly, the University of Jo'burg ranks as one of South Africa’s top institutions despite its recent establishment in 2005. The high ranking can be explained by the fact that it was formed through a merger of three universities: the Rank Afrikaans University, a section of Vista University, and Technikon Witwatersrand. This young higher education institution is among the top 100 in the world for Development Studies, and it ranked 761 globally in 2019-2020 as per the CWUR rankings.
6. University of Pretoria
The University of Pretoria has at least 53,000 students, which makes it one of the biggest institutions in South Africa. It turned 112 in February 2020, and it is the only institution in South Africa to have a faculty of veterinary science. Aside from that, you can choose from at least 1,800 study programs in both English and Afrikaans. Some of its famed courses include Theology, Law, Agriculture, and Divinity & Religious Studies. Recent CWUR ranking places it at 556 globally.
7. North-West University
Just like the University of Johannesburg, the University of North-West is a successful merger of a couple of institutions. The merger happened in 2004 and involved two universities: the University of North-West and Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. Presently, it has 3 campuses and at least 64,000 students, which makes it one of the largest higher learning institutions in South Africa. The three campuses are located at Vanderbijlpark, Mahikeng, and Potchefstroom. It has one of the highest scores for innovation, and it ranks 869 worldwide as per the recent CWUR ranking.
8. University of the Western Cape
Founded in 1959, the University of the Western Cape (UWC) is located in the Bellville suburb in Cape Town. UWC holds a soft spot among the people of South Africa because of the vital role it played in the fight against racism. It helped out academically in building the great nation that South Africa is today. In terms of its student base, it has one of the most diverse groups in South Africa due to its good relationships with other local and international institutions. It ranks 1034 internationally and 8th locally according to the 2019-2020 CWUR ranking.
9. Rhodes University
Rhodes University is situated in Grahamstown, which is in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Established in 1904, this learning institution has a small number of students of around 8,000 with 18% of this number coming from 40 other countries. Of the total population, postgraduates account for 26% while undergraduates make up to 20%. Rhodes University ranks highly in two subjects in the world: English Language and Literature and Communication and Media Studies. It ranks 1224 globally according to the latest CWUR ranking.
10. University of the Free State
Abbreviated as UFS, this public higher learning institution has been operating since its establishment back in 1904 when it was established as Grey College. Today, it has about 39,440 students distributed across its three campuses and seven faculties. Located in Bloemfontein in Free State Province, it boasts of a number of respectable alumni such as Wayde van Niekerk, P.W. Botha, Susan Vosloo, and other personalities. It ranks 1183 globally as per the CWUR findings.
Other top universities in South Africa
There are several other top institutions in South Africa for you to choose from. Obviously, not everyone is going to fit into the above institutions. Here is a list of universities in South Africa that did not make it to the top 10 SA universities, but they are still some of the best learning institutions.
- University of South Africa - 1417 globally
- The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University - 1620 globally
- The Tshwane University of Technology -1926 globally
- The University of Fort Hare
- The Cape Peninsula University of Technology
- The Vaal University of Technology
- The Central University of Technology
- Universiteit van die Vrystaat
- The Central University of Technology
- Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
- The Mangosuthu University of Technology
- The University of Zululand
- Walter Sisulu University
- The Durban University of Technology
- The University of Limpopo
- The University of Mpumalanga
READ ALSO: UNISA registration 2019: dates and requirements
The list of top universities in South Africa 2020 is surprisingly long, but only the best have crossed our borders. The above institutions qualify among the top universities in Africa based on their rankings in the world. With this comprehensive list of the top universities in South Africa 2020, you surely have an option for undertaking your higher education studies. Find out if there are ongoing admissions to join the institutions and be a part of the candidates from globally recognized institutions that will improve your place in the job market. Happy learning!
- List of UNISA courses 2019
- UNISA qualifications and modules guide
- UNISA exam timetable and results 2019
- Inspiring Nelson Mandela quotes on education, leadership and life
- UJ Online application, Registration, Form and Status 2019