10 Best Free Universities In South Africa

Are you looking for free universities in South Africa? With the rising cost of tuition and living expenses, finding a university that offers quality education without the high costs can be difficult.

Fortunately, South Africa has a number of free universities that offer excellent educational opportunities. In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best free universities in South Africa and what makes them such great options for students.

Whether you’re a local student looking for an affordable option or an international student hoping to get quality education without breaking the bank, these free universities in South Africa may be the perfect fit for you.

Why You Should Study In South Africa

Here are 10 reasons why studying in South Africa is a great choice:

1. Diverse Culture: South Africa is known for its diversity, and this is reflected in the many cultures, languages, and traditions that you’ll encounter while studying there. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about and engage with people from different backgrounds and perspectives, which can broaden your horizons and enrich your educational experience.

2. Natural Beauty: South Africa is a country with breathtaking natural beauty, from the iconic Table Mountain to the stunning beaches along the coast. Studying in South Africa means you’ll have the chance to explore its natural wonders and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and wildlife safaris.

3. World-Class Universities: South Africa has several world-class universities that offer a high-quality education across a range of disciplines. Whether you’re interested in engineering, business, medicine, or the arts, you’ll find a program that suits your interests and career goals.

4. Affordable Tuition: Compared to many other countries, the cost of tuition in South Africa is relatively affordable. This means you can get a top-notch education without breaking the bank.

5. English Language: English is one of South Africa’s official languages, which makes it an attractive destination for English-speaking international students. Studying in South Africa means you can improve your English skills while also immersing yourself in a new culture.

6. Career Opportunities: South Africa is a rapidly developing country with a growing economy, which means there are plenty of career opportunities for graduates. Studying in South Africa can give you a competitive edge when it comes to job applications, as employers often value international experience.

7. Warm Climate: South Africa has a warm, sunny climate that’s ideal for outdoor activities and exploring. This can be a refreshing change of pace for students who come from colder climates.

8. Cultural Experiences: South Africa has a rich history and a vibrant arts scene, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to engage with local culture. From visiting museums and galleries to attending music festivals and theater performances, there’s always something interesting to see and do.

9. Volunteer Opportunities: South Africa has a high rate of poverty and social inequality, which means there are many opportunities to get involved in community service and volunteer work. This can be a meaningful way to give back while also gaining valuable experience.

10. Adventure: Studying in South Africa can be an adventure in itself, as you’ll have the chance to explore new places, try new foods, and meet new people. This can be a transformative experience that shapes the rest of your life.

The Best 10 Free Universities In South Africa

free universities in south africa

The following are the top free universities in South Africa you can consider for your tertiary education.

1. University of the Witwatersrand

Located in Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is one of South Africa’s leading research universities. Established in 1922, it has a long and proud tradition of academic excellence and research. Wits has produced a number of distinguished alumni who have made their mark in fields such as science, law, politics, and education.

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As an academic institution, Wits has a strong focus on postgraduate study, with more than 2000 postgraduate students enrolled each year.

The university also offers a range of undergraduate and diploma programs, including African studies and international relations. Wits offers several scholarship opportunities to international students, including the African Scholarship Programme, which provides full tuition fees for eligible applicants.

At Wits, international students can take advantage of study abroad opportunities, including internships and exchange programs with partner universities in Europe, North America, and Asia. There are also plenty of extracurricular activities available for students to participate in, such as sports teams, clubs, and societies.

Wits is a great choice for international students looking for top-quality education in South Africa. With its excellent faculty and wide range of educational opportunities, the University of the Witwatersrand offers a great learning experience for both local and international students alike.

2. University of Cape Town

Located in the bustling metropolis of Cape Town, the University of Cape Town is a leading African university and one of the top universities in South Africa.

Established in 1829, the university offers a wide range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in various fields. With its diverse student body, UCT is an ideal choice for international students looking to study abroad.

The university offers generous scholarships and financial aid opportunities to African students to help them realize their educational goals. In addition to this, the university has a number of international exchange programs that enable students to study at other universities around the world.

3. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is a public research university located in the Western Cape of South Africa, and it is one of the top universities in the country. Founded in 1866, it is the second oldest university in South Africa after the University of Cape Town.

Stellenbosch University offers a variety of African scholarships and opportunities for students to study abroad. The university has several exchange partnerships with universities around the world, including Europe, Asia, and North America. These partnerships allow Stellenbosch students to participate in international exchange programs and gain experience and cultural exposure.

The university also offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in numerous fields such as medicine, science, engineering, commerce, education, law, and humanities. With top-notch academics and highly rated research, Stellenbosch University is a top choice for students from all over South Africa looking for an excellent educational experience.

4. University of Johannesburg

Located in the vibrant city of Johannesburg, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is one of the largest universities in South Africa. It offers a wide range of courses across multiple disciplines and is also renowned for its research-driven approach to teaching and learning. With a rich African heritage, UJ stands as a symbol of excellence, innovation and quality education.

UJ has some of the best student facilities in South Africa, from top-class sporting facilities to modern libraries and well-equipped laboratories. Students are also able to access a variety of African scholarships to help them fund their studies.

The university has a wide range of partnerships with local and international institutions, allowing students to gain an international experience while still studying at UJ. With its vibrant campus life and cosmopolitan population, UJ is an ideal university for those looking for an exciting university experience.

5. Rhodes University

Located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province, Rhodes University is one of the top universities in South Africa.

Established in 1904, the university has a long history of providing quality education to students from all walks of life. The school offers a wide range of courses including social sciences, engineering, and the humanities. As a public university, Rhodes is tuition-free, making it an ideal choice for those who want to pursue higher education without having to worry about costly fees.

Rhodes University is well known for its strong commitment to research, especially in the areas of health, development studies, environmental studies, and gender studies.

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The university is also involved in many international partnerships with renowned universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. In addition, Rhodes University is a leader in South African higher education with a strong focus on teaching excellence and student success.

6. Nelson Mandela University

Nelson Mandela University (NMU) is located in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. It is one of the top 10 free universities in South Africa and was formerly known as University of Port Elizabeth. It was renamed in 2016 to honor Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa.

NMU offers a wide range of academic programs and courses in different fields such as science, engineering, business, law, health sciences, and arts. It has also recently introduced new courses in environmental studies and digital media.

In terms of facilities, NMU offers a number of excellent amenities such as libraries, computer labs, sports complexes, lecture halls, cafeterias, student centers, and more. It is also home to the Institute of Rural Health, which provides research and training in the areas of public health and community health services.

Students can avail various scholarships to finance their studies at NMU. The university also has a variety of student organizations that host regular events and activities. NMU also offers a number of support services for its students such as counseling and career guidance.

NMU is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a free university in South Africa. It offers great facilities, quality education, and numerous opportunities for its students to excel academically and professionally.

7. University of KwaZulu-Natal

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) is a top free university in South Africa, located in Durban. UKZN is the second largest university in the country, and it is home to a diverse student population of over 40,000 students.

UKZN offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including Medicine, Business Administration, Engineering and Social Sciences. In addition to its main campuses in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, the university has numerous campuses spread across the province of KwaZulu-Natal, giving students access to a variety of educational experiences and opportunities.

The university is committed to providing quality education and research excellence, and the school prides itself on providing an environment where students can gain valuable experience and build lifelong relationships with their peers. UKZN also provides student support services, such as career guidance and counselling, to ensure that students are able to reach their full potential.

If you’re looking for a top free university with a commitment to excellence and student development, the University of KwaZulu-Natal should be at the top of your list.

8. Walter Sisulu University

Named after the South African anti-apartheid activist, Walter Sisulu University is one of the top free universities in South Africa. It is located in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, and was founded in 2005.

The university is renowned for its degree programs in the fields of Engineering, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The university also has a number of research centres focused on topics such as Education and Development, African Studies, Gender Studies, and Water Resources Management.

Walter Sisulu University offers a wide range of courses for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. These courses are designed to prepare students for employment in various fields such as business, health care, engineering, and social services.

The university provides an excellent student experience by offering a variety of student-centred support services. These include counselling, career advice, financial aid, health and wellness programmes, and more.

For those looking to study at one of the best free universities in South Africa, Walter Sisulu University is a great choice. With a comprehensive curriculum and strong support services, it is an excellent option for anyone looking for an affordable education.

9. University of Venda

The University of Venda (Univen) is a public university located in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, South Africa. It was established in 1982 and has since become one of the largest universities in the country, with over 8,000 students enrolled in various undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

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Univen is best known for its commitment to excellence in teaching and research, and for its strong focus on indigenous knowledge systems. The university’s motto is “Knowledge for Human Empowerment” and it offers several programs that reflect this ethos.

The institution offers Bachelor degrees in a wide range of disciplines, including engineering, accounting, business, computer science, and education. It also offers a number of Masters and Doctoral programs. Univen’s School of Education has produced some of the finest teachers in South Africa, while its School of Law is one of the most respected law schools in the country.

In addition to its academic offerings, Univen also provides student services such as housing and career guidance. The university also has a vibrant extracurricular life, with many student clubs and organizations.

All in all, Univen is an excellent choice for students looking for a quality, affordable education. Its commitment to excellence and to providing a broad range of educational opportunities makes it one of the top free universities in South Africa.

10. Durban University of Technology

Durban University of Technology (DUT) is a public university located in Durban, South Africa. It was established in 2002 and is one of the largest universities in South Africa, with over 35,000 students.

DUT offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in fields such as engineering, technology, business, computing, and sciences. The university has five campuses in total – two in Durban, one in Pietermaritzburg, and two in Richmond.

At DUT, students benefit from the latest technology and equipment in teaching and research activities. The university also boasts of world-class research facilities, highly qualified academic staff, and state-of-the-art infrastructure.

DUT is one of the few universities in South Africa that is a member of the International Association of Universities. The university also participates in various international collaborations to promote teaching, research, and community engagement.

DUT has been recognised for its commitment to social responsibility, with a number of its graduates taking part in projects that improve the lives of people living in poverty. The university’s Institute for Social Development undertakes various initiatives to provide skills development and job training opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

For those seeking an affordable education that provides a quality learning experience, DUT is definitely worth considering. With its excellent faculty, modern facilities, and commitment to social responsibility, it is no wonder that DUT is one of the top free universities in South Africa.

Wrapping Up

Studying in South Africa can be an affordable and rewarding experience, especially when it comes to the top 10 free universities in the country. Each of these universities has its own unique strengths and focuses on providing a quality education that is affordable for students. Whether you’re looking for a research-based institution, a teaching-focused university, or just want to get a degree without breaking the bank, these universities have something to offer everyone. With such a wide range of options available, it is easy to find the perfect fit for your educational needs.

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