What are the best universities in Africa?

Top African universities, what is the latest ranking? What are the most popular ones? Learn all the latest information about the best universities here right now!

nigerian students

Times Higher Educational journal made a survey of the top African universities. There are South African universities, East African and even one Nigerian university. This information is precious for a student looking for university.

Africa. Universities ranking:

1. South Africa. University of Cape Town.

 University of Cape Town

On October 1, 1829 the South African College was founded, which is considered the direct predecessor of this University. The modern form of the University was created in 1874 after its release from the college staff. And in the middle of the XX century, this university was one of the centers of liberal opposition to the apartheid system. Chancellor (titular head of the University) since 1999 is Graca Machel, wife of Nelson Mandela.

Admission to the University of Cape Town

happy students

So, how it all begins? Admission to the University of Cape Town in terms of documents follows a standard process. The fact that the selected diploma is post-graduate level, facilitates the process of admission. Sometimes they do not even require any certificate to confirm knowledge of English. Apparently, the presence of a huge number of English as the first education may help in this matter.

In fact, you may need a diploma with an English translation and filling of various forms and motivation letters.

It should be also noted that the status of the documents there is a bit interesting topic. Sometimes you need to visit several times the University administration to deal with the problem. As a result, it will be decided.

Be patient! You may have to wait for enough time before you will be answered for your question.

Currently, there are six faculties at the University:

black student

  • Faculty of Natural Sciences;
  • Faculty of Humanities;
  • Faculty of Engineering;
  • Commercial Department;
  • Faculty of Law.
  • Faculty of Health Sciences;

2. South Africa. University of the Witwatersrand

University of the Witwatersrand

Popular Witwatersrand University starts its history since 1896. In 1925, on land belonging to the university, Yale-Colombian Southern Observatory was founded, which was there 26 years. During the long years of apartheid, the university administration from the outset opposed to this policy, and criticized it. Until 1959, the university accepted black students without restrictions, however, after the adoption of the law on toughening segregation in universities, it has continued to receive indigenous Africans, many of whom later became prominent members of the movement against apartheid. Finally racial restrictions were lifted at the university in the late 1980s, a few years before their official cancellation.


  • Engineering and construction
  • Health
  • Commerce, Law, Management
  • Humanitarian
  • Scientific

3. Uganda. Makerere University

Makerere University

Makerere University  is the biggest and also the oldest university in Uganda. It was established as a technical school in 1922. Then in 1963 it was renamed to the University of East Africa, offering different courses leading to a degree, University of London.

In 1970 it managed to become an independent national university, when the University of East Africa was divided into three independent university - University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the University of Nairobi, Kenya and also Makerere University . Nowadays Makerere consists of 22 faculties, schools and institutes offering different programs for bachelors, masters and doctoral students.

Graduates from Makerere University were former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, former president of Uganda Milton Obote, Julius Nyerere, who is the first president of Tanzania, the current president Mwai Kibaki and current Prime Minister of Uganda, Amama Mbabazi.

Academic structure. Colleges:

graduated students

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  • Agricultural Sciences & Environmental Sciences
  • Business and Management Sciences
  • Computing and Information Sciences
  • Education and External Studies
  • Engineering, Design, Art and Technology
  • Health Sciences
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Animal Resources, Biodiversity and Veterinary Medicine

4. South Africa. University of Stellenbosch

University of Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch University is located in the small town of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It was founded in 1865 as a public school (Openbare Skool), in 1866 it was renamed, it became Stellenbosch Gymnasium. In 1874, there was a branch of the faculties and its number of students grew to 120 people, so in 1881 officially gymnasium was converted into a college.

Thanks to Jan Marais, who bequeathed £ 100 000 for the development of education in Stellenbosch, the College was able to get the status of an independent university in 1916. Parliament adopted the Law on Universities, which came into force on 2 April 1918 and Victoria College was officially transformed into the University of Stellenbosch. In fact, the total number of students was 503 people and teachers- 40 (22 professors and 18 lecturers).

During the years of apartheid, the university was one of the centers of the Afrikaner culture. It was created for white people, who spoke Afrikaans. Gradually, there were new university faculties and departments (today there are 10 faculties). It is one of the leading universities in the southern area.

5. South Africa. University of KwaZulu-Natal.

 University of KwaZulu-Natal

University of KwaZulu-Natal consists of 5 different campuses, which are located in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal .

On 1 January, 2004 it was established by the merger of the popular University of Natal (in the years of apartheid it was a university for whites) and the University of Durban-Westville (former University of Asians).

University includes 4 colleges, which are divided into schools:

  • College of Agricultural, Technical and Science (Agriculture, Engineering and also Science)
  • College of Humanities
  • College of Law and Management Studies
  • College of Medicine (Health Sciences)

In addition, the University is divided into the following campuses or faculties:

students on lesson

  • Campus in Pietermaritzburg
  • Campus Howard Kollege, Durban
  • Medical School. Nelson Mandela, Durban
  • The campus in Westville
  • Campus Edgewood, Pinetown

6. Nigeria. University of Port Harcourt 

University of Port Harcourt 

The University of Port Harcourt is a popular university, located in the Nigerian city of Port Harcourt. It was established in 1975 with the name University College, Port Harcourt. The university received the status in 1977.

The university originally had six schools in 1977:

  • Social Sciences
  • Science Laboratory Technology
  • Chemical Sciences
  • Biological Sciences
  • Educational Studies
  • Humanities
  • Physical Sciences

It was changed from its first school system to a new faculty system in 1982. Nowadays the university has ten faculties:

african graduates

  • Humanities
  • Engineering
  • College of Health Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Education
  • Management Sciences
  • Dentistry
  • Natural and Applied Science
  • Pharmacy
  • Agriculture

7. South Africa. University of the Western Cape

University of the Western Cape

The University of the Western Cape is a popular public university, which is located in South Africa, in the close Bellville suburb of Cape Town. This University has a long history of struggle against discrimination, disadvantage and oppression.

Among the scientific institutions, it was at the forefront of historic change in South Africa, it plays a special role in the academic assistance of the establishment of a dynamic state. UWC key problems were connected with the level of access, equity and quality of higher education. The result of extensive practical involvement in assisting was historically marginalized to fully participate in the life of the nation.

The University was founded in 1960 by the Government of South Africa as a university for all people of all nations. Other universities in the area of Cape Town were (UCT was originally for the English-speaking whites) and Stellenbosch University (originally for Afrikaans-speaking whites). Establishment of UWC was a direct consequence of the extension of the Law of University Education of 1959.

nigerian university

This law accomplished the real segregation of higher education in South Africa. So coloured students were only allowed in a few non-white universities. During this period, other ‘ethnic’ universities such as the University of Zululand and the North University, were founded as well. Since long after the end of apartheid in South Africa in 1994, it became integrated and multi-ethnic institution.

UWC is a research-rich environment for students. Academic staff is highly qualified, with 50% of doctorates. Most departments have different programs for graduates, some with the highest consumption in the country. There are a lot of institutes and centers with a strong focus on research field. And there are important projects and programs that use experience across all departments and faculties. There is also a joint effort between the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch. 20% of all students of UWC are graduate students.

8. Kenya. University of Nairobi

University of Nairobi

University of Nairobi is the largest university in Kenya. It was founded in 1970 by separating the University of East Africa in the University of Nairobi, Makerere University and the University of Dar es Salaam.

The university consists of six colleges, which are divided into departments, which, are also divided into faculties:

  • Faculty of Agriculture
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences
  • Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies of Wangari Maathai
  • College of Physical and Biological Sciences
  • Department of Physical Sciences
  • Center for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics
  • Institute on climate change and adaptation
  • School of Computer Science and Informatics

beautiful student

  • School of Mathematics
  • Faculty of Engineering
  • School of Biological Sciences
  • College of Architecture and Construction
  • Faculty of Nuclear Science and Technology
  • Faculty of Art and Design
  • College of Education and externship
  • Faculty of Built Environment
  • Center for Open and Distance Learning
  • Kenya Science Campus
  • School of continuing and distance education
  • Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases
  • Center for the prevention and investigation of HIV
  • College of Medical Sciences
  • Education School
  • Faculty of Dental Sciences
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Pharmacy
  • College of Medical Sciences Library
  • Faculty of Nursing
  • Department of Public Health

9. South Africa. University of Johannesburg 

University of Johannesburg 

With more than 40,000 of students, the popular University of Johannesburg has become the largest residential universities in the whole country. It has four campuses that spread across the whole Johannesburg metropolitan area. University of Johannesburg  provides a wide variety of undergraduation level programs in the following nine faculties:

  • Design & Architecture
  • Art
  • Engineering & the Built Environment
  • Economic & Financial Science, Education
  • Humanities
  • Health Sciences
  • Management
  • Law
  • Science

UJ’s First Year Experience Program provides all students with a suite of support and development options, which are designed to facilitate the most appropriate smooth transition from school to university.

10. Morocco. University Cadi Ayyad 

University Cadi Ayyad 

Cadi Ayyad University (French: Université Cadi Ayyad), also known as the University of Marrakesh, is a university in Marrakesh, one of the main Morocco universities. One of its components is the École nationale des sciences appliquées de Marrakech (ENSA Marrakech), which was created in 2000 by the Ministry of Higher Education and specialists in engineering and scientific researches. Popular Cadi Ayyad University was established in 1978. Now it operates 13 institutions in Abda Doukkala regions of Morocco and the Marrakesh, Tensift Elhaouz and  in other four main cities, including such as Kalaa of Sraghna, Essaouira and Safi in addition to Marrakesh.

University Cadi Ayyad photo

The journal ranked these universities based on the amount of citations for the university’s work there. The ranking was also calculated using the ratio of the different citations received by an institution’s publication output 2009 - 2013 years and the total citations, which would be expected based on the average of the topic field. To be included there, any institution must publish a minimum, it is 500 research papers in less than the five-year period assessed and with at least 50 papers per year.

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