5 Best Master’s in Public Health Programs in South Africa

Public health is more than just our health. It covers a wider scale of social health issues in the environment, water, mental health, and many more. Everything is interwoven and interdependent with one another. It covers every issue in the community and worldwide. At present, some of the biggest hurdles that we have encountered are infectious diseases and addressing the challenges of making health care accessible to everyone. With the subject of the Master’s of Public Health, it helps increase our knowledge to produce and share new methods.

These are among the reasons why you should study for a Master’s in Public Health in South Africa. Developing countries are in need of experienced public health workers. This predicament is being recognized worldwide, particularly in South Africa. That is why the Master of Public Health (MPH) course is deemed to be important in developing and improving the skills of health care workers. With the extensive field of topics, having a public health diploma offers more opportunities to work in the hospital, schools, organizations, and the government.

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How Much does it Cost to Study MPH in South Africa?

Studying in South Africa is attractive to international students, with a high level of education at reasonable costs, no wonder it is among the top countries of choice for studies. According to the University of the Witwatersrand, living in Johannesburg would average about USD 572 a month, inclusive of rent, food, transport, and pocket money. The tuition fee per year of a Master’s in Public health varies with a small difference, from USD 1277 at the University of Pretoria and USD 1917 at the University of Venda.

What Are the Requirements to Study a Master’s in Public Health in South Africa?

Most universities in South Africa require a bachelor’s degree. Specifically, at the University of Witwatersrand, a degree in health care such as medicine, dental, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and a Bachelor of Arts or Sciences with honors in significance to public health is a requirement. The same with the University of Pretoria, a student with honors, a bachelor’s degree, and a minimum of two years of experience in the related field are needed. As for the University of Venda, a minimum of one year of experience in health care is acknowledged. It is best to check the admission requirements page of the university you are applying for.

What language is the MPH program taught in?

English is currently the preferred language of instruction in most universities in South Africa. At the University of Witwatersrand, English is the language curriculum. Thus, students should be knowledgeable of English by presenting an English proficiency certificate such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Cambridge English Language Assessment (CAE). Similarly, the University of Pretoria uses English in all subjects, except for classes taught in other languages.

Here are five universities offering a Master’s in Public Health in South Africa:

Universities in South Africa with Master’s in Public Health

1. University of Witwatersrand

The University of Witwatersrand was established in 1896 in Johannesburg and identified as the third oldest university. Known to many firsts, they pioneered in physiological and occupational treatment, initiated the opening of a treatment facility for patients with speech problems, and started the first blood transfusion programs in South Africa. The University of Witwatersrand is considered the best university with a Masters in Public Health program in South Africa.

The Master of Public health program is for two to four years, either part-time or full-time. They offer six specializations: Rural Health, Health Systems and Policy, Maternal and Child Health, Occupational Hygiene, Social and Behaviour Change Communication, and Health Economics.

2. University of the Western Cape

Located in Bellville, South Africa, the University of the Western Cape is a public university established in 1960 by the South African government. They offer a Master of Public Health in two courses: full thesis and mini-thesis. Both programs require an honors degree, postgraduate diploma in public health, and years of health-related work experience. Before starting the application, the students should choose a supervisor of their choice. The Master of Public Health mini-thesis tuition fee is USD 1425, and the Master of Public Health’s full thesis is USD 4413.

3. University of Pretoria

The next university in our list of top universities in South Africa with MPH programs is the University of Pretoria, a public university established in 1908. They are notable for many initiatives such as being the first school in South Africa to introduce a Library MakerSpace. They are also the first African school to participate with Initiatives for Science, Innovation, Territories, and Economy and the Montpellier University of Excellence (I-SITE MUSE), and employed its very own client-service robot named Libby.

The Master of Public Health is a full-time, two-year program. As a prerequisite, honors or a bachelor’s degree needs to be submitted. Furthermore, the applicant should have a minimum of two or five years of work experience. The years of work experience required depends on the bachelor’s degree years of study.

4. University of Venda

Established in 1982, the University of Venda is situated in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, South Africa. The university has eight schools under one campus. Their Master of Public Health course is for two years. Eligible applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in primary and community health care. Although not a requirement, it is an advantage if you have a minimum of one year of experience in the healthcare-related field of work.

5. University of KwaZulu-Natal

In 2004, when the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal joined, the University of KwaZulu-Natal was born. To date, the university has five campuses, four colleges, and several schools under each college. The university uses English as its language of instruction. However, since it is based in KwaZulu-Natal, the use of the isiZulu language will still be implemented as an additional language of instruction.

To study at this South African university in their Master’s in Public Health program, qualified applicants should have a bachelor’s degree or honors degree in health or social science, postgraduate diploma in public health or social science, and at least one year of health-related work experience.


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