13 Best Medical Schools in South Africa (2020)

Finding the right university to study medicine is now easier than before.

It used to be a challenge in the past when students travel abroad to get the best medical training. Another beautiful thing is that South Africa’s medical institutions now enough clout in the world.

In my list are some of these institutions where a student can enrol and be well trained in his or her chosen field of medicine.

Top Best Medical Schools in South Africa (2020)


University of Cape Town

Established in 1829, this public institution is no doubt the oldest university in South Africa.

It’s also one of the highest-ranking too.

Located in Cape Town, the university has its medical department under the Faculty of Health Science with subunits numbering up to 19.


The University of Witwatersrand

Located on Jan Smuts Avenue in Johannesburg, this university is the second oldest in South Africa.

Popularly known as the Wits like their Senior and Preparatory school., this university was established in 1896.

They rank 135 in the world for clinical medicine.

More information is available on their website.


Stellenbosch University

Popularly known as “Maties” by the students, they were established in 1866 and began full training of medical students in 1918.

Located on Francie Ziji Drive in Cape Town, they’re also another top university to study. They rank #260 in the world for clinical medicine.

To be a qualified medical doctor from this school requires an intensive six-year hands-on experience which begins on the 2nd year through to the 6th year.


University of KwaZulu Natal

Established in 2004 this university has gained a reputation as one of the top universities to study medicine in South Africa.

With over 26000 of undergrads and graduates, the university ranks 279 in the world, and they teach 29 medical subjects which include Endocrinology, clinical and professional practice, dermatology, diabetes etc.


University of Pretoria

Another public and one of the oldest university located on Lynwood Rd in Hatfield. Established in 1908 and known by its 38000 students as Tuks, this university has one of the best medical colleges in South Africa.

They rank 511 in the world. They offer degree Program in Pain management, clinical medicine practice, general ultrasound, to name a few.


Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

This recently established public university in South Africa (they began operations in 2014) already has a medical school in its Health Science Faculty. Located on Garankuwa Zone 1 South Africa, this visionary university is also one of the best universities in SA.

More information is on their website.


The University of the Free State (UFS)

Established in 1904 with a current student attendance of over 26000 is also one of the oldest universities in South Africa. Located on Nelson Mandela Drive, they teach using the English language and the native Afrikaans.

This is what sets them apart from the other universities.

They offer a wide range of medical programs at both Undergrad and professional levels like Anaesthesiology, forensic medicine, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, to name a few.


University of Limpopo

This famous public university which was established in 2005 already has an enrollment of over 20000 students.

As it is with medical schools in South Africa, the Faculty of Health Sciences is the parent body for the medical school of Limpopo along with nine other medical departments including department of surgery, paediatrics and child health etc.


Walter Sisulu University

Established in 1977, this university started teaching medicine in 1985 with a traditional approach but later switched to a curriculum that’s focused on problem-solving and community-oriented education by exposing their students to clinical procedures from the first year till they graduate.

Visit the school site for more info.



University of Johannesburg

Another Comprehensive Medical school that began teaching medicine in 2005. Due to the quality of its degree program, they have over 48000 students enrolled there.

Though they don’t have a medical department yet, they offer vibrant problem solving oriented degree programs like Bachelors degree in Radiography, Medical technology and emergency medical care.


University of Western Cape

Though established in 1959, this old Public University didn’t attain university recognition until 1970.

They have a Faculty of Community and Health Science which houses a School of Natural Medicine were Chinese medicine, Acupuncture and two other programs are taught.


Northwest University South Africa

This vibrant university which was recently established in 2004 already has a student population of more than 44000.

Although they rank 540 in the world, they don’t have a medical school yet but their Health Science Faculty, offer related degree programs.


Nelson Mandela University

This visionary university that was established recently in 2005 already has over 22000 students in attendance. Located in Port Elizabeth, Summerstrand, they have no medical school yet, but they plan to establish a school in 2021.

More information on the School website


In conclusion

Each of the schools in this list is worthy of mention both in South Africa and the World.

Students who have studied there have gone on to impact not only their nation but the world as well in the field of medicine and other areas.

Nelson Mandela was an Alumni of one of these schools. Studying for a degree in one of these schools is prestige and pride.

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