5 Best Engineering Universities in South Africa

South Africa has some of the greatest universities for technical minds to grow, despite having to deal with relatively poor infrastructures, racism effects, and many other hindrances. Her engineering culture was reborn and shaped with the discoveries of gold and diamond reservoirs, and the growing need for engineers to operate high-tech and sophisticated machines for excavation.

The country houses around 26 public universities. Although there isn’t any dedicated technical university, most of them offer engineering degrees with the English language as official. These are some of the top-ranked institutions worldwide, with excellent research opportunities, diverse topics, and high international involvements. Here are the top engineering universities in South Africa.

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Best Engineering Schools in South Africa

1. University of Cape Town

  • Engineering Program Link
  • Degrees offered: Bachelors, Masters, and PhD
  • Language of Instruction: English, isiXhosa, and Afrikaans.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is established in 1829 in Cape Town, which is the capital of South Africa. It is a public university, and considered the best university in South Africa, with a great engineering division at work. It is also the oldest institute in South Africa to provide higher education, with almost all courses held in English, except for specialized and language courses. The University of Cape Town is the best engineering universities in South Africa.

Close to 29,000 students are currently enrolled in the University of Cape Town. The university has 6 campuses, among which 2 are urban ones. Students can choose between 57 departments under 6 faculties. The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE) is the dedicated engineering faculty, that consists of 6 engineering departments here. A total of 4,693 undergraduates, postgraduates, and Ph.D. students are studying hereunder 242 academic staff. The UCT also boasts a high level of international faculty.

UCT is also a great place for research. The engineering faculty (EBE) is currently focused on the environment, infrastructure, water, energy, urbanization, and innovation, with 20 research groups taking down rigorous research works at present. The QS World University Ranking placed the University of Cape Town in 220th place globally, and 307th in engineering.

2. University of Pretoria

Next on our list of top engineering universities in South Africa is the University of Pretoria. Founded in 1908 in Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, the University of Pretoria (UP) is the best university for research outputs in South Africa. It also has the highest Masters and Doctorate degrees in the country. It houses over 56,000 students from around the globe on its 7 campuses. The students can reside in 24 dormitories across the campus, and take part in 100+ clubs and organizations.

The UP contains 120 departments under 11 faculties with 1200 programs. The Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) is the path for aspiring engineers. Here, the School of Engineering contains 7 departments, the School of Information Technology has 3, and the School of Built Environment has 3 departments, which include Architecture.

The University of Pretoria is ranked 562 globally, and 364th for engineering according to the QS World Ranking, with a higher level of international faculty and employer reputation as its strong points.

3. University of Witwatersrand

  • Engineering Program Link
  • Degrees offered: Bachelors, Masters, and PhD
  • Language of Instruction: English, isiZulu, Sesotho, and South African Sign Language

The University of Witwatersrand (Wits), one of the best engineering universities in South Africa, is situated in the biggest city of South Africa, the Johannesburg megacity. Although it was established in 1922, it was primarily founded in 1896, which makes it the 3rd oldest university in South Africa. More than 40,000 students study here on 5 campuses.

Students can study under 5 faculties. The Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment houses 7 schools with 12 undergraduate and 44 postgraduate degrees. Along with technical aspects, the university is enriched with 14 museums, 2 heritage sites, a rock art collection, and a theatre. Just like the University of Cape Town, the Wits offers almost all courses in English, including the faculty of engineering courses.

The University of Witwatersrand is ranked as the 403rd best university in the world according to the QS, and less than 250th by Times Higher Education.

4. Stellenbosch University

  • Engineering Program Link
  • Degrees offered: Bachelors (BEng), Postgraduate Diploma (PDE), Masters (MEng), Deng, and PhD
  • Language of Instruction: Afrikaans and English

Originated in 1864 and established officially in 1918, the Stellenbosch University is the oldest in South Africa. It is situated in the west of South Africa in Stellenbosch town. Currently, more than 31,000 students are enrolled here, among which 63.5% are undergraduates. The students reside in 34 dormitories within 4 campuses.

As a top engineering university in South Africa, the Stellenbosch was an Afrikaans-medium institution but later shifted towards English. There are 11 faculties, among which 8 are situated on the main campus. The Faculty of Engineering was founded in 1944 and houses more than 4,000 students.

According to the QS Record, Stellenbosch University is ranked 456th globally, and 401st best engineering university worldwide. It also has a considerably high number of international faculty.

5. University of Johannesburg

We end our list of best engineering universities in South Africa with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), which is is relatively new. It was founded on the first day of 2005 in the megacity of Johannesburg. It is now growing rapidly with more than 51,000 students admitted into 4 campuses. They can choose between 28 different subjects with broad topic ranges.

The UJ contains students from 80 different countries who can study in 8 faculties here. The architecture and engineering are contained by two different faculties, the Faculty of Art, Design, and Architecture (FADA), and the Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment. The faculty of engineering consists of 4 schools having 12 departments, and the FADA contains 8 departments.

The University of Johannesburg is ranked 439th in the QS Ranking, and 378th best global university according to US News. It also boasts a higher female to male student ratio (54:46) and 25 students per staff. The UJ has started late but is now one of the best places for research in South Africa.


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