Don’t only think of Zulu when you think of South Africa, also think of studying medicine in South Africa. South Africa is one of the countries in Africa with high human and infrastructural development. So, you should expect South Africa to have some of the best universities and colleges offering a medical degree in Africa. Discover the best universities for medicine in South Africa and plan your study in Africa.
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 more qualified medical personnel will be groomed in the country.
Now, more South Africans stay back in the country to study medicine as opposed to the past where they travel abroad for a medical degree. The best part of it is that South African universities are ranking well globally. Thus, some of the top medical schools in South Africa are attracting International students.
In this post, we will show you the best universities to study medicine in South Africa. We will also discuss how to go about studying medicine in South Africa. We are aware that you do have more questions concerning this topic, so, we’ll as well answer all your questions in the FAQ section.
Studying Medicine in South Africa
If you’re reading this post and you’re not a South African, you’ll be asking, “Why should I study medicine in South Africa?”
The reason is that South Africa offers some of the best medical degrees in the African continent. Students studying medicine in South Africa get high-quality hands-on training. Additionally, it is one of the countries in Africa where International students are going to study because of the quality of education, fine weather, and beautiful scenery.
Aside from this, studying medicine in South Africa may not be so different from studying it somewhere else. Being a former British colony, most institutions in South Africa’s study duration for medicine is five to six years. And these schools admit students directly from high school.
However, South African medical schools award an MBChB degree except for the University of the Witwatersrand, which awards an MBBCh degree. On the other hand, most countries award MBBS degree to their medical students.
Meanwhile, some medical colleges in South Africa such as the University of Cape Town have started offering post-graduate medical degrees that run concurrently with their undergraduate programs. However, after completing your MBChB degree, graduates from a South Africa medical college proceed to complete a two-year internship program. After the internship, graduates must complete a year of community service to register with the Health Professions Council and practice as a doctor in the country.
Thus, medicine in South Africa requires a license to practice, just like every other country. Medical students in South Africa proceed to specialize in a field of medicine and specialization five to seven years of the training process, depending on the specialty.
List of Medical Universities in South Africa
So, if you’re interested in studying medicine in South Africa, here is a list of the best thirteen medical schools in South Africa. Meanwhile, our list of the best medical school comprises of ten (10) recognized schools offering medicine – which we compiled from US News & World Report and Wikipedia. And then, three (3) other schools with vibrant Health Science faculties, pushing to become a medical school.
Also important to note is that all of these schools offer medicine through their Faculty of Health Sciences, except the University of KwaZulu-Natal. This school has the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine.
Here is a list of the best colleges offering medicine in South Africa (in no particular order).
University of Cape Town
Address: Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700, South Africa
The University of Cape Town or UCT is the oldest university in South Africa. This public university began its operation in 1829 and is located in Capetown. It is one of the colleges in South Africa with high ranking. US News ranks its medical school as 91th in the world (Subject Ranking). Meanwhile, the university sits in the 114th position of Best Global Universities.
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 navigate through the school, UCT provides scholarships to students.
University of Witwatersrand
Address: 1 Jan Smuts Ave, Johannesburg, 2000, South Africa
The University of the Witwatersrand or the Wits is also another of the early universities in South Africa. This South African public university began its operation in 1896 and is one of the best universities to study medicine in South Africa.
US News ranks Wits 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. Thus, in six years, you can graduate with an undergraduate and graduate qualification.
Address: Francie Van Zijl Dr, Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, 7505, South Africa
The University of Stellenbosch or Maties started in 1866 but gained university status in 1918. This is one of the best universities for medicine in South Africa where you can get a prestigious medical degree. The university ranks 260 in US News World Subject rank for Clinical Medicine and 341 in the Best Global Universities category.
Maties offer its MBChB degree through its faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. This training to become a medical doctor takes six (6) years to complete. You start the clinical training, which involves intense hands-on practical experience, from the second year through to the fifth year of study. This South African university medical school trains qualified medical doctors to cater to the medical needs of the people.
University of KwaZulu Natal
Address: 719 Umbilo Rd, Umbilo, Berea, 4001, South Africa
University of KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN is one of the recent public universities in South Africa, founded in 2004. Notwithstanding it’s ‘newness’ status, it is one of the most reputable universities in South Africa. It has over 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.
UKZN’s school of medicine is committed to growing health professionals and researchers who would cater to the health needs of Africans. The school has 29 medical discipline including Anaesthetics, Clinical & Professional Practice, Cardiology, Dermatology, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Emergency Medicine, General Medicine, etc. There is just about any specialization of medicine for you at UKZN.
University of Pretoria
Address: Lynnwood Rd, Hatfield, Pretoria, 0002, South Africa
The University of Pretoria or Tuks is another of the early universities in South Africa. This public university started in 1908, and houses one of the best medical colleges in South Africa. Tuks is a well-attended university in Pretoria, with a student population of over 38,000 students. Pretoria’s clinical medicine college ranks 511 in the world, according to US News.
Tuks’ school of medicine was established as one of four Schools in the Faculty of Health Sciences. 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.
Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University
Address: Molotlegi St, Ga-Rankuwa Zone 1, Ga-Rankuwa, 0208, South Africa
Sefako Makgatho University or SMU is the newest public university in South Africa. The university started in 2014 and already has a school of medicine under its Health Sciences Faculty. Although it has no notable global ranking now, SMU is a visionary college as reflected in its vision and mission statement.
Its vision is to be a leading African University School of Medicine, epitomizing excellence and global competitiveness, addressing the needs of rural communities through innovative and robust research initiatives. Already, it is one of the best medical universities in South Africa offering a variety of academic programs in the discipline.
You can study a bachelor’s and master’s degree in MBChB, MBChB (ECP), M Med (Anaesthesiology), M Med (Anatomical Pathology), M Med (Cardio-Thoracic Surgery).
University of the Free State
Address: 205 Nelson Mandela Dr, Park West, Bloemfontein, 9301, South Africa
The University of the Free State or UFS is another of South Africa’s oldest public universities. It began its operation in 1904 and has a total student enrollment of over 26,000. What is more interesting is that UFS teaches its degree programs in the English language and Afrikaans. Although UFS has no notable global ranking yet, it is one of the best colleges in South Africa where you can get a medical degree.
University of Free States’s Faculty of Health Sciences houses its School of medicine, just like other medical schools in South Africa. However, UFS offers a wide range of medical programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Some of its programs include Anaesthesiology, Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dermatology, Family Medicine, Forensic Medicine, Internal Medicine, and Medical Physics.
University of Limpopo
Address: Private Bag X1106 Sovenga 0727, South Africa.
The University of Limpopo is another popular university in South Africa where you can get a medical degree. This public university began operating in 2005 but already records a total student enrollment of over 20,000 undergrads and postgrads. 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. The nine (9) departments in the medical school corporate 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 Paediatrics & Child Health.
Walter Sisulu University
Address: Private Bag X1 UNITRA 5117, Nelson Mandela Drive, South Africa.
Walter Sisulu University or WSU started in 1977. It is a comprehensive University in South Africa where you can get one of the best medical degrees in Africa. This South African university began offering medicine in 1985 with a traditional program, then later adopted the innovative curriculum based on problem-based learning and community-based education.
This 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, in WSU’s school of medicine.
University of Johannesburg
Address: 5 Kingsway Ave, Rossmore, Johannesburg, 2092, South Africa.
The University of Johannesburg or UJ is another comprehensive university in South Africa that began operation in 2005. This South African university has over 48,000 students, speaking of the high quality of its degree programs. However, UJ does not have any clearly designated Medicine School but it has a vibrant Health Science department.
The Faculty of Health Science at the University of Johannesburg offers students preferred learning experience. This experience is innovative and problem-based focused. UJ’s Emergency Medical Care and Complementary Medicine are the closest to a medical degree you can get from its Faculty of Health Sciences.
University of Western Cape
Address: Robert Sobukwe Rd, Bellville, Cape Town, 7535, South Africa.
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.
Northwest University – South Africa
Address: Private Bag X1290, Potchefstroom, 2520
North-West University or NWU is another of the recent universities in South Africa. It began its operation as a university in 2004, yet it has grown a large student population of over 44,000 students. This speaks about the quality of their degree programs. NWU’s Faculty of Health Sciences ranks 540 in the world according to US News and World Report.
However, North-West University is yet to begin its medical school. According to the school’s news, the School of Medicine is on the cards for NWU. The school has put all the structure for a medical school in place to service the 60,000 doctors shortfall in South Africa and are waiting for a go-ahead.
Nonetheless, NWU’s Faculty of Health Science offers a variety of health-related degree programs that seeks to better the healthcare of the people. Some of these degree programs are Pharmacy, Nursing Sciences, Dietetics, etc.
Nelson Mandela University
Address: University Way, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth, 6019, South Africa
Nelson Mandela University or NMMU is another comprehensive University in South Africa that is gaining large acceptance. The university started in 2005 and offers a wide variety of degree programs. Already, NMMU has a total student enrollment of over 22,000 students. However, there is no notable ranking yet for this visionary school.
Nelson Mandela University is another university waiting for the approval of its Medical School. The acceptance of this will make NMMU’s school of medicine the 10th medical school in South Africa. This medical college in South Africa hopes to admit 100 students in 2021 when it will commence offering its six-year MBChB degree.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The standard number of years it takes to study medicine in South Africa is six years. At the end of this period, you will acquire an MBChB degree, which is a Bachelor’s degree in Medicine in South Africa.
You can only study medicine in accredited South African Universities. There are nine medical universities in South Africa, including the University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand, and Stellenbosch University.
You can become a medical doctor in South Africa by first completing your high school education, then graduating with an MBChB degree from a medical college in South Africa. Afterward, you must complete a two-year internship program and a one-year compulsory community service.
To be able to get admission into any of the medical universities in South Africa, you must have at least Level 5 scores in mathematics, physical and life sciences, and English.
Each of the nine medical schools in South Africa offers a slightly different format of degree programs, so you will have to check with your preferred school to know the programs they offer. However, expect to start with two years of theoretical training in the medical sciences, introductory pathology and pharmacology, and general sciences.
You will pay higher fees as an International student studying at a medical college in South Africa than home students. However, the cost of your study will depend on the institution and type of program you choose to study. But estimate to pay around ZAR 52,000 ($3,521.70) per year of study.
There are presently nine medical universities in South Africa where you can get a quality medical degree. However, some other public and comprehensive universities in South Africa have vibrant Health Sciences departments that offer courses that would give you an advantage to studying medicine later. Also, some other universities are waiting to get approval for their medical schools. All of these points to the fact that medicine is a discipline in South Africa that is growing to become appealing to home students and even international students.