7 Best Medical Schools in South Africa

Studying medicine in South Africa can be a very good university experience. As a highly developed country when it comes to university studies, South Africa offers relatively cheap tuition and living costs. Moreover, studying in South Africa guarantees a great combination of education and great travel opportunities.

It is worth mentioning that, unlike the MD or MBBS degree you would obtain in most countries, South Africa awards a degree called MBChB. After completing this, students normally carry out a two-year internship program and one year of community service before finally registering with the South African Health Professions Council in order to practice in their own country. You should check the requirements to practice medicine in another country with an MBChB degree.

In this article, we will go over the top medical schools in South Africa!

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How much does medical school cost in South Africa?

The cost of tuition can vary quite a lot for medicine in South Africa. The cheapest can be $1850 per year, while the most expensive is around $15,000. In addition, you have to think about living costs as well, which can be quite expensive in South Africa.

Although the cost of studying in South Africa is high, many international are able to study in South Africa for free. Check the article if you are interested!


How long will it take to study medicine in South Africa?

As is customary for most medical degrees, it takes six years to complete a course of study to become a doctor in South Africa. In the end, you will be awarded an MBChB degree.


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Here are some of the helpful posts for those wishing to study in South Africa.


Top Medical Schools in South Africa

1. University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences

The oldest university in the country, it has been in operation since 1829 and it has the highest ranking for its medical school in South Africa, as well as securing a spot in the top 100 worldwide according to US News. The medicine program is housed by the Faculty of Health Sciences, in the Department of Medicine.

The Faculty of Health Sciences is proud to employ 10 of the 36 A-rated scientists at the University of Cape Town. Within the Department of Medicine, there are 18 clinical divisions and 10 research units, covering areas such as aging, cardiology, lung infections, chronic diseases, etc.

In addition to the tuition offered, students can provide clinical care as practice in the main teaching hospital in Cape Town – Groote Schuur Hospital – as well as in regional hospitals such as Somerset Hospital and Victoria Hospital.

2. University of Witwatersrand School of Clinical Medicine

Located in Johannesburg, the University of Witwatersrand offers an MBBCh degree through its Medicine and Surgery school. You can apply to study here directly from high school, or try to gain admission directly into the third year of the six-year program if you have completed a relevant degree.

This medical school is recognized as one of the best places to study medicine in South Africa, and it is one of the oldest academic institutions in the country, having been founded in 1896.

3. Stellenbosch University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

In operation since 1866, Stellenbosch University gained its current full status as a higher education institution in 1918. The campus has benefited from a comprehensive investment and upgrade plan and therefore offers first-class facilities for research and modern classroom buildings. It also offers on-site accommodation and a real campus feel.

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences is adjacent to the Tygerberg Academic Hospital in the Tygerberg Campus. This allows for seamless integration between studies and practical application for medical students. There is also a dedicated Medicine & Health Sciences Library, alongside a multitude of research centers such as the African Cancer Institute, a Biostatistics Unit, a Center for Medical Ethics and Law, and many more.

4. University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Clinical Medicine

With a vision to become globally recognized for excellence in research, education, and clinical practice, the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of KwaZulu-Natal focuses on being relevant in their local context and educating medical professionals of high caliber.

This university is located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and has five campuses, having come together from a merger between the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville in 2004. They dedicate a significant amount of attention to in-depth research, as witnessed in the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV opened in 2012.

This medical school in South Africa is named in honor of Nelson Mandela. Its undergraduate medical program allows for specialization across a multitude of disciplines, and then there is the opportunity to deepen your knowledge in postgraduate studies.

5. University of Pretoria School of Medicine

Located in Pretoria, the School of Medicine here started off in 1943 and admitted 57 students in its very first intake. Nowadays, the School has grown significantly and become one of the main Schools of the Faculty of Health Sciences established in 1999, alongside the School of Dentistry, Health Care Sciences, and Health Systems & Public Health.

You can study for your MBChB degree here as well as for a series of Master’s degrees, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, and various postgraduate diplomas.

6. Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

Next on our list of top medical schools in South Africa is Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. This is the most recently opened public university in South Africa, having started in 2014. It has a dedicated School of Medicine with the vision to be a leading African university in the field.

Located in Ga-Rankuwa, it is named after Sefako Mapogo Makgatho – a leading figure in education, journalism, and politics, who was the second president of the African National Congress and spearheaded many labor and liberation movements in the country.

Not only has SMU grown exponentially since its opening in 2014, but it has also developed an impressive research division with various units focusing on molecular research, HPV and STIs, etc.

7. University of the Free State Faculty of Health Sciences

We end our list of best medical schools in South Africa with the University of the Free State, which has been around since 1904. It teaches both in English and Afrikaans.

Within its Faculty of Health Sciences, the School of Medicine offers a wide range of programs and specializations at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Moreover, research constitutes a strategic priority of the school and therefore a strong focus has been made in recent years in this area.


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