What are the Best Courses to Study in South Africa?

university of cape town, uct vula

Choosing a course to study at university can be a tedious task. The course you choose to study can determine the job you’ll do in the future, resulting in how much you’re paid a month.

Are you looking for what and where to study in South Africa?

First of all, it is crucial to know what skills are in demand. Secondly, you need to compare courses based on the institution’s expertise, reputation, and research in a particular field.

In this post, I break down the best courses to study in South Africa.

It is important to note that, most of these are also courses that South Africa’s top universities excel at – ranking among the top 500 courses in the world according to the latest QS World University Rankings.

1. Immunology

Immunology is a top-ranking course in South African Universities. It is a very important branch of the medical and biological sciences that covers the study of immune systems in all organisms.

The Department of Immunology in most SA varsities offers MSc and Ph.D. courses. However, there’re undergraduate courses in basic immunology for medical, dental, nursing students, etc.

It’s an interesting course to study if you’re very enthusiastic about medical and biological sciences.

Medical immunologists typically work in private offices, clinics, or hospitals. They diagnose and treat diseases and conditions with allergic or immunologic causes.

According to SalaryExpert, the average immunologist salary in South Africa is R1,708,713 or an equivalent hourly rate of R821.

So what are the best universities in South Africa to study immunology?

Here are the best universities in South Africa (based on their reputation and research in the field) to study this course.

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • University of KwaZulu Natal
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Pretoria

2. Microbiology

Microbiology is the study of small living things that cannot be seen without the use of a microscope such as microorganisms or microbes.

Microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, microscopic fungi and yeasts, and microscopic algae.

Most graduates in microbiology follow careers like biomedical scientist, scientific laboratory technician, science writer.

Microbiology courses are available at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and diploma level.

Wits University’s School of Molecular and Cell Biology combines Microbiology and Biotechnology which is taken at the third-year level.

The courses provide good basic knowledge of the various groups of microbes, their morphology, metabolism, genetics, and taxonomy.

University of South Africa, Rhodes University offers Microbiology undergraduate degrees.

Before you choose to study this course, study the structure of the various medical schools before you make a decision.

When it comes to the best Universities to study this course, you cannot overlook the University of Cape Town, the University of Pretoria and the University of Witwatersrand.

3. Social work

Social work programs concentrate on teaching students how to help others in need through community programs, counseling sessions, and support groups.

Social workers may spend their time helping families escape the cycle of poverty, supporting individuals as they free themselves of addiction, or counseling people who suffer from mental illness.

UCT offers a four-year program that allows the student to move into other fields such as Social Development, Social Policy, and Management, Probation and Correctional Practice, or Clinical Practice.

Social work is one of the most popular courses in South Africa

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) received approximately 91,000 on-time undergraduate applications this year and the most popular course applied for by prospective students was Social Work where UKZN received 15,804 applications.

Social Work courses are available at Wits, Unisa, Uct, Ukzn, Up, Uj etc.

4. Clinical Medicine

Clinical medicine is a field of medicine that deals primarily with the practice and study of medicine based on the direct examination of the patient.

In clinical medicine, medical practitioners assess patients in order to diagnose, treat, and prevent disease.

Medical may refer to both clinical and research activities within medicine, on the other hand, the term medical may mean non-surgical, and clinical would apply to both.

Here are the top universities in South Africa for clinical medicine according to US News, based on their reputation and research in the field.

These universities have shown strength in producing research related to a variety of medical and biomedical topics.

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of KwaZulu Natal
  • University of Pretoria
  • North West University – South Africa

It is important to note that, for the three medical-related courses in this list (Immunology, microbiology, and clinical medicine), the University of Cape Town and Wits University together have produced 3 Nobel Prize winners in the medical field.

It is not to say that these varsities are the best in this field but to give you an idea of how to choose your medical school.

5. Agricultural Sciences

Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field of biology that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic, and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture.

There are two recommended universities in South Africa to study Agricultural Science. They are;

  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of Pretoria

Careers in this course include agricultural marketing management, agricultural financial analyst, production planner, agricultural meteorologist, researcher, soil chemist.

Payscale estimates that those with Bachelor of Science (BS / BSc), Agriculture Degree earn R483,000 average salary.

6. Plant and Animal Science

The animal and plant sciences differ greatly, but they do share some commonalities.

While Plant Sciences focus on topics such as how to make plants grow and protect them from insects, Animal Sciences focus on animals such as livestock, as well as managing their bodies and systems.

Topics in this course may include plant research, plant pathology, plant nutrition, veterinary medicine, marine and freshwater biology, and zoology.

Top Plant and Animal Science universities in South Africa include;

Students interested in plant and animal science can explore these top-notch universities that have shown strength in producing research related to the field.

7. Space Science

Space science involves all of the scientific disciplines that come with space exploration and study natural phenomena and physical bodies occurring in outer space, such as space medicine and astrobiology.

The major courses offered by South African Universities in the Space Science field are Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Whilst Astronomers view the stars and galaxies, Astrophysicist interprets astronomical data gathered by astronomers and understand how our universe works.

These are exciting programs aimed at future scientists interested in space science.

South Africa is an exciting base for scientists in the fields of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Over the past decade, the South African nation has become increasingly dependent on space-based applications to manage its national resources and to support its safety and security objectives.

There is, therefore, a need for professionals in this field. However, just a small number of universities are offering Space-Time courses. The best of these are;

  • University of Cape Town – Astronomy
  • CPUT – Space science and technology
  • Wits University – Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Unisa – Astronomy

8. Law

Law is one of the best courses you can study in South Africa.

There are several universities offering this course with the aim of developing the next generation of skilled legal professionals who will ensure the maintenance and strengthening of an open, free, and democratic South Africa.

Here are the best-ranked universities in South Africa to study Law.

The average salary of an Attorney/Lawyer is R191,866 according to PayScale.

9. Developmental studies

Development studies is a multidisciplinary branch of social science. It is offered as a specialized master’s degree in a number of reputed universities across the world, and, less commonly, as an undergraduate degree.

Development studies is a critical area for study, teaching, and research for South African students as well as students from the rest of the African continent.

Possible careers for graduates of this course are Research Analyst, Research, Coordinator/Assistant, Public Policy Researcher, Senior Policy Analyst, Development Consultant, Management Consultant, International Aid Worker, etc.

Developmental studies courses are offered in the following SA higher educational institutions.

  • Wits University
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of South Africa
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of Johannesburg
  • North-West University

10. Anthropology/Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of human history through material remains such as stone tools, food residue, rock art, pottery, and settlement plans.

It is an ideal companion major subject for anyone studying History or Anthropology.

Studying Anthropology/Archaeology course in South Africa involves specific research interests into issues related to human evolution; the emergence of modern humans; and the history of hunter-gatherer, pastoralist, and farming communities in southern Africa, as well as the archaeology of more recent colonial settlement.

Three of the best universities where you can study this twin course are;

  • Wits University
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Pretoria.
Previous articleTop 15 Free Online Courses to Study in 2023
Next articleUew Sip Osis: University of Education, Winneba Students Portal
I'm the content manager for africavarsties.com. I'm just another internet enthusiast who likes sharing useful info with university students, and that makes me happy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here