10 Best Universities in South Africa to Study Medicine

After reading through this article, you will not only think of Zulu when you think of South Africa, you will also think of studying medicine in South Africa. You will discover some of the best universities in South Africa that can help you achieve your dream of becoming a medical doctor with ease and in style.

The amazing “rainbow nation” which currently speaks 11 official languages, has 13 medical schools (only 10 is mentioned on this page). While the University of Cape Town is arguably the best medical school, the other schools listed in this article have quality medical programs that they offer to interested candidates.

Healthcare in South Africa, just like every serious nation, is of high importance to the government. Thus, the government of South Africa is pushing in the necessary funds to see that healthcare in South Africa is vibrant. Likewise, people are voting for more medical schools in the country so that there can be availability of the needed trained medical personal.

Top 10 Medical Universities (Schools) in South Africa 

Best Universities in South Africa to Study Medicine

  1. University of Cape Town
  2. University of Witwatersrand
  3. Stellenbosch University
  4. University of KwaZulu Natal
  5. University of Pretoria
  6. University of the Free State
  7. University of Limpopo
  8. Walter Sisulu University
  9. University of Western Cape
  10. Nelson Mandela University

The listing here is not necessary a ranking of university of any sort. These schools are recommended based on testimonies and just for informational purpose only.

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Now let’s dive into details;

#1: The University of Cape Town

As the oldest university in South Africa the University of Cape Town or UCT is a public university, established in 1829 and located in Cape Town It is one of the colleges in South Africa with high ranking. US News ranks UCT medical school as 91th in the world (Subject Ranking). Meanwhile, the university sits in the 114th position of Best Global Universities.

As graduates from this school, you will get a great education and practical skills in the field of medicine. The University of Cape Town’s medical school is under the Faculty of Health Sciences. UCT’s department of Medicine has up to 19 divisions which include Organogram, Allergology and Clinical Immunology, Cardiology, Clinical Haematology, Clinical Pharmacology, Endocrinology, Dermatology, etc. To help you study with ease, UCT provides scholarships to students just like most other schools.

#2: The University of the Witwatersrand

Another early university in South Africa is The University of the Witwatersrand or the Wits. Established in 1896 Wits is one of the best universities to study medicine in South Africa. . This public research university is located in Johannesburg.

Wits have been ranked by US News as the 135th school in the world for clinical medicine and the 197th best global university. At Wits South Africa, you can get an MB BCh degree the traditional way for six years as well as a graduate degree for four years concurrently. The School of Clinical Medicine is considered one of the most reputable medical schools in South Africa. Established 100 years ago, it is ranked among the top 100 universities for clinical, preclinical, and health subjects by the Times Higher Education World Ranking system. It is composed of several schools including Clinical Medicine, Anatomical Sciences, Oral Health Sciences, Public Health, and others. The students have the opportunity for practical experiences in five major hospitals and several clinics. Today, more than 25 000 graduates are all around the world improving the healthcare systems in many countries.

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#3: Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) has been synonymous with excellence in medical and health sciences education and research in South Africa since 1956.

Situated at the feet of Cape Town’s Tygerberg​ Hills, the school exists with her aspiration to be a vital community of​ students, learners, teachers, researchers, clinicians and other staff committed to developing future health professionals who, through innovation and leadership will promote health, prevent disease and provide optimal healthcare.

#4: University of KwaZulu-Natal

Founded in 2004 University of KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN is one of the recent public universities in South Africa. It has fast resin to become one of the most reputable universities in South Africa. With a total of 26,000 students comprising both undergraduates and graduates.  Already, the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s school of clinical medicine ranks 279th in the world, according to US News and World Report.

Committed to growing health professionals and researchers who would cater to the health needs of Africans, KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN currently has 29 medical discipline including Clinical & Professional Practice, Anesthetics, Cardiology, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Dermatology, General Medicine, Diabetes and Endocrinology etc.

#5: The University of Pretoria

Another fast rising university in South Africa is The University of Pretoria or Tuks. This public university started in 1908. Tuks is a well-attended university in Pretoria, with a student population of over 38,000 students. According to US News Tuks is the 511th in the world. The other schools in the faculty are the School of Dentistry, Health Care Sciences, and Health Systems & Public Health. Through the University of Pretoria’s school of medicine, you can take degrees in MBChB, MPharm Med, MPhil (Philosophy and ethics of mental health), BClinical Medical Practice, etc.

#6: The University of the Free State

One of South Africa’s oldest public universities The University of the Free State or UFS was established in 1904 with a total of 26,000 enrollment student. What is more interesting is that UFS teaches its degree programs in the English language and Afrikaans. UFS is one of the best colleges in South Africa where you can get a medical degree. UFS offers a wide range of medical programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Some of its programs include Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dermatology, Family Medicine, Forensic Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Medical Physics.

#7: The University of Limpopo

This public university began operating in 2005 but already records a total student enrollment of over 20,000 undergrads and postgrads. The University of Limpopo is another popular university in South Africa where you can get a medical degree. The University has no notable global ranking, but its medical degree program is one of the best in South Africa. In Limpopo, just like most of the universities in South Africa, the faculty of Health Sciences houses the School of Medicine departments.

In 2014, the University of Limpopo made a merger with Sefako Makgatho University (SMU) which is now one of the campuses of the larger university. The university has about nine (9) departments in the medical school incorporated to offer the MB ChB degree, whereas each accredited discipline offers postgraduate specialization degrees (M Med.). Some of the departments in Limpopo’s school of medicine include the Department of Medicine; Department of Surgery; Department of O&G, Women’s Health; and Department of Pediatrics & Child Health.

#8: Walter Sisulu University

Walter Sisulu University It is a comprehensive University in South Africa where you can get one of the best medical degrees in Africa. Walter Sisulu University or WSU started in 1977. This South African university which began offering medicine in 1985 with a traditional program, and then later adopted the innovative curriculum based on problem-based learning and community-based education is one of the best universities in South Africa.

Walter Sisulu University curriculum integrates early clinical exposure progressively through to the final year. Like other Medical Schools in South Africa, WSU’s Faculty of Health Sciences offers its Medicine programs. Additionally, you will find the department of family medicine and rural health, Department of Human Biology, Department of Internal medicine and Pharmacology, etc.

#9: The University of Western Cape

The University of Western Cape or UWC is another old Public University in South Africa. It began its operations in 1959 but got its university status in 1970. Although the university does not offer a clear cut path to a medical degree, its faculty of Community and Health Sciences has a School of Natural Medicine.

UWC’s School of Natural Medicine offers comprehensive education and training in one of four disciplines, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (CMA), Phytotherapy, Naturopathy, and Unani-Tibb. Students who complete any of these programs will be able to register with the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) within their field of specialty.

#10: Nelson Mandela University

Nelson Mandela University is another top institution in South Africa which offers value to her students through out its stream of courses and disciplines. Officially, the university was able to recently launch it’s medical school under the faculty of Health Sciences. The country’s tenth medical school opened in March this year to the University’s first ground-breaking class of 50 medical students, who are presently writing examinations. As these students progress to the second year of the six-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChC) degree, they will be joined by a further 80 first-year students in 2022. The faculty of science of the school is currently operating under the following schools and departments.

Wondering why Nelson Mandela University made the list of top 10 medical universities in South Africa? I guess it’s because of the very smooth take off of the medical school.

See Also:

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Requirements to Study Medicine in South Africa

To be eligible to study in a medical school in South Africa, you need to bear in mind that, South African medical schools love quality, and this makes them only accept the smartest students. As expected, these students would have proved themselves to be professionals by scaling through all the eligibility requirements.

  • 100 points for your letter of motivation
  • You average must be at least 75%
  • Your NBT results should be 300 points
  • You have a guaranteed offer if your total points are higher than 880
  • You must have at least 60% for English, Physics, and Maths.

Additional Information:

Each university has its own system on their website where future students can apply and enroll in the degree programs. Besides the regular documents such as a high school diploma, and proof of scholarship, letters of recommendation might be also required as a part of the application. Your high school grades and courses are a strong and important factor when it comes to admission into these schools. The selection process can be quite competitive, so make sure you prepare well and if English is not your first language it is recommended that you take on some preparatory courses

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    • Hi Sofi, thanks for your contribution. Some of those schools were listed since they offer courses that are close to being degree in Medicine, not necessarily MBBS. However, to eliminate every tendency of confusing the reader, we have made some edits to the article partly to honor your input. Regards

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