What are the Largest Universities in South Africa?

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Universities in south africa students population

South Africa has 26 public universities that are distributed within all nine provinces of South Africa.

Each province has at least one university, with Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape provinces having just acquired its own institutions during 2014/2015.

Pretoria is home to as many as five universities, despite its relative size (2.1 million people) when compared to Johannesburg (9.4 million), and Cape Town (3.7 million).

Cape Town has three universities, housing the best university in South Africa and Africa at large, which is UCT. Cape Town has an additional university nearby in Stellenbosch.

Johannesburg is serviced by three universities, while Bloemfontein and Durban each have two.

South Africa’s universities accommodate in excess of 1 million students, with plans by the South African government to add 500,000 to that total by 2030.

See also: List of Public TVET Colleges in South Africa

A tally of the most accurate figures shows that 25 of the 26 schools have a combined total exceeding 622,000.

That said, what is the largest university in South Africa?

The largest university in South Africa in terms of student population is the University of South Africa (UNISA) with over 400,000 students.

The country’s universities are divided into the following categories:

  • 9 universities of technology focused on vocationally oriented education;
  • 6 comprehensive universities offering a combination of academic and vocational diplomas and degrees;
  • 11 traditional universities offering theoretically oriented university degrees.

The table below lists the public universities in SA and their student population.

UniversityLocationNo. of students
University of South Africa (UNISA)
Pretoria400,000
North-West UniversityPotchefstroom74,355
University of Pretoria Pretoria50,000
Tshwane University of Technology Pretoria50,000
University of JohannesburgJohannesburg48,500
University of KwaZulu-Natal Durban and Pietermaritzburg40,000
University of the Free State Bloemfontein33,000
Cape Peninsula University of Technology Cape Town33,000
University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg32,703
University of StellenboschStellenbosch30,150
University of Cape Town Cape Town26,322
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Port Elizabeth and George26,000
Walter Sisulu UniversityEast London and Mthatha25,000
Durban University of Technology Durban and Pietermaritzburg25,000
University of LimpopoTurfloop and Pretoria20,000
Vaal University of Technology Johannesburg17,000
University of ZululandEmpangeni16,100
University of the Western Cape Tygerberg, Cape Town15,200
Central University of Technology Bloemfontein13,534
University of Fort Hare Alice and East London12,000
University of Venda Thohoyandou12,000
Mangosuthu University of Technology Umlazi, Durban10,000
Rhodes University Grahamstown7,000
Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences UniversityPretoria6,558
University of MpumalangaMbombela1400
Sol Plaatje UniversityKimberley1350

Frequently asked questions

How many universities are in south africa?

South Africa has 26 public universities. They are distributed within all nine provinces of South Africa. Each province has at least one university, with Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape provinces having just acquired their own institutions during 2014/2015.

Which university has the most students in South Africa?

The University of South Africa, UNISA has the most number of students with over 400,000 student population. UNISA is followed by North-West University with 74,000 students.

What is the number 1 university in South Africa?

The University of Cape Town is the number 1 university in South Africa. Most of the rankings out there confirm that the University of Cape Town is the top university in South Africa. UCT has maintained the highest rank spot for a number of years now in a row.

What is the oldest university in South Africa?

University of Cape Town, UCT is South Africa’s oldest university. It was founded in 1829. It has a picturesque campus in the Western Cape Province, on the slopes of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak.

Which university is the most expensive in South Africa?

The average full cost of study at all the universities from 2019 preliminary came from data collected from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and how much the scheme is paying for a full cost of study for students across institutions.

The top five institutions, out of the 26, that rank high in terms of the full cost of study according to the data are:

 Universities in SAFees
1University of Cape TownR148,159
2Stellenbosch UniversityR127,621
3University of PretoriaR113,593
4Wits UniversityR111,562
5Rhodes UniversityR106,429

Which is the cheapest university in South Africa?

Here is a list of Cheapest Universities in South Africa according to the 2019 data from the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.

 SA UniversitiesFees
1University of LimpopoR67,425
2Vaal University of TechnologyR54,502
3Central University of TechnologyR54,402
4Durban University of TechnologyR53,161
5University of South AfricaR14,833

How many university students are there in South Africa?

The total number of university students in south africa exceed 1 million. 25 of the 26 schools have a combined total exceeding 622,000. 700,000 students are registered at the more than 50 higher education training colleges (TVET colleges). An additional 90,000 students can be found at various private institutions. The SA government plans to add 500,000 to that total by 2030.

What is the biggest university campus in south africa?

University of Pretoria has the biggest university campus in south africa. It has seven campuses across the city. Main (Hatfield) Campus, Hillcrest Campus, Groenkloof Campus, Prinshof Campus, Onderstepoort Campus, and Mamelodi Campus.

What are the Largest Universities in South Africa? 1

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