International students who would want to study in the best universities in Africa will find this article very vital. These universities span across 10 countries, from Uganda in the east to Nigeria in the west, to Morocco in the north and South Africa in the south of the continent according to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2019. Fasten your seat belts and let’s take a trip around the African continent as we explore The 10 Most Reputable Universities in Africa.
1. University of Cape Town, South Africa
The university was founded in 1829 and is the oldest university in South Africa. It ranks as Number 1 of the most reputable Universities in Africa. UCT’s campus is located at the foot of Table Mountain. The main campus contains many teaching faculties, the main library and some halls of residence, and the middle and lower campuses are home to most of the student residences, sports facilities, and some academic departments. 18 percent of the students are internationals. It offers degrees in faculties such as the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Commerce, Engineering, Humanities, Science and Law. Its vision is to be an inclusive, research-intensive African university that addresses current challenges with cutting-edge teaching, research, and facilities.
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a multicultural, multinational community of about 5,000 academic and professional, administrative support and service staff, and about 29,000 students from over 100 countries across the globe and graduates around 7,200 students annually. Its researchers continue to help with the creation of African-based solutions to global problems, including issues relating to climate change, urbanisation, safety and security, education and health, to name just a few. Studying in UCT assures that you will be engaging with the latest scholarly work and research discoveries.
2. University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Wits University as it is commonly known developed out of the South African School of Mines, set up in Kimberley in 1896. The institution moved to Johannesburg in 1904 and acquired full university status in 1922. From the start, it embraced a philosophy of non-discrimination on the basis of race, which led to intense conflict with the government including police raids and the detention of both faculty and students during the apartheid era. Its location in Johannesburg means that Wits is close to the economic powerhouse of the whole African continent. Highly research-intensive, it has made a major contribution to applied areas such as healthcare and the challenges of deep-level mining but performs strongly in subatomic physics and other fields of fundamental science.
The most famous alumnus of the university is Nelson Mandela, who studied law there and went on to become President of South Africa and the 1993 Nobel laureate for peace. Wits Disability Unit is a flagship centre ensuring higher education is accessible to disabled students, caregivers and others in need of special provisions and through the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre, the medical school trains more specialists than any other university in southern Africa.
3. Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Stellenbosch University is the third of the most reputable universities in Africa and is located in South Africa’s western cape, not far from Cape Town. Among the university’s many achievements is the fact that it designed Africa’s first microsatellite in 1999. As its mission states, SU is a research-intensive university that attracts outstanding students, employs talented staff and provides a world-class environment; it is a place connected to the world while enriching and transforming local, continental and global communities. It has an extensive library system, a conservatory with two concert halls, and is home of the Stellenbosch University Choir – the oldest South African choir.
During its Centenary celebration in 2018, the University launched its Vision 2040, as well as a strategic framework that at its core serves to provide a transformative student experience, to promote networked and collaborative teaching and learning, to conduct research for impact, to foster purposeful partnerships and inclusive networks, to position SU as an employer of choice, and ultimately to cultivate a thriving Stellenbosch University. Teaching at the university is split between four campuses, with the main one in Stellenbosch and the others nearby. There are around 150 academic departments within 10 faculties, and many other research centres.
4. The University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
As one of the largest, oldest and most transformed universities in sub-Saharan Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), is a teaching and research-led university. Innovative curricula, dynamic teaching and learning, state-of-the-art laboratories and accredited professional degrees have earned UKZN its reputation as a leading higher education institution on the African continent. The university is top-ranked and state-funded for research productivity. Research activities span the natural, biomedical, humanities and social sciences.
The University has a proud and rich heritage of academic excellence. In 2010, UKZN celebrated 100 years of higher education – a centenary of scholarship, innovation and community engagement. UKZN was formed on 1 January 2004 with the merger of the established University of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. Researchers and students regularly engage in international collaborations with partners in other countries, aiming to tackle pressing challenges like AIDS, food security and high-tech developments.
5. Makerere University, Uganda
Makerere University Kampala (MUK) is the oldest university in Uganda. With a student body of around 38,000 and comprising 10 constituent colleges, Makerere University also offers evening and external study programmes. It is a research-led institution and boasts partnerships with government, industry and other universities. Describing itself as Uganda’s ‘premier’ higher education institution, Makerere counts many African prime ministers and presidents among its alumni. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, was also one of its students.
The university prides itself on the work it does towards securing gender equality. Its initiatives such as the Female Scholarship Foundation, which helps women from disadvantaged backgrounds into higher education, have achieved global recognition, from the Government of Sweden, among others. It was established as a technical school in 1922 and has become one of the most prestigious universities in Africa.
6. American University in Cairo, Egypt
Founded in 1919, the American University in Cairo (AUC) — Egypt‘s global University — is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and centre of the intellectual, social and cultural life of the Arab world. It is number six in the rankings of the most reputable universities in Africa. Its diverse community of students, parents, faculty and staff, trustees, alumni and other generous sponsors represents more than 60 countries. AUC alumni are part of a global network of more than 38,000 leaders, creators and innovators.
The university offers 37 undergraduate, 44 master’s and two PhD programs rooted in a liberal arts education that encourages students to think critically and find creative solutions to conflicts and challenges facing both the region and the world. It also offers a globally recognized, professional, community-based education in English to meet the needs of the dynamic Egyptian and broader regional economies.
7. Benha University, Egypt
Benha University is a public university in the northern Egyptian city of Benha (also spelt Banha). The institution was founded in 1976 as a branch of Zagazig University but became an independent entity in 2005. Benha University now has over 100,000 undergraduate and over 26,000 postgraduate students enrolled, with an academic staff numbering 5,000.
Benha University has 15 faculties, including medicine; veterinary science; arts and law. Despite being a relatively young institution as a whole, There are two separate engineering departments at the university, one based in Benha and another in Shubra, a district of the Egyptian capital of Cairo. Other university buildings can be found in Moshtohor, which is about 17 kilometres south of Benha. The university runs three hospitals and 146 scientific departments.
8. Beni-Suef University, Egypt
Ranking in the eight position of the most reputable universities in Africa, Beni-Suef University (BSU) is a co-educational, non-profit public higher education institution, situated on the banks of the River Nile, 120km south of Cairo, Egypt in the large city of Beni Suef. It was established as an independent university in 2005, though it started out in 1975 as the Faculty of Commerce at Cairo University.BSU has nearly 50,000 students and an admission rate of around 75%. There are various financial aids and scholarships available. International applicants are eligible, and there are various study abroad and exchange programmes available.
The BSU logo is made up of three images: the Maydoum Pyramid, one of Beni-Suef’s landmarks, which symbolises ancient Egyptian civilisation and history; the Nile River, symbolising the main artery of life in Egypt; and an ear of wheat, which is one of the most important crops grown in the Beni-Suef area and as such is a symbol of agricultural development. It has 12 faculties which include the faculties of Commerce, Law, Education and Arts, Computers and Information, Industrial Education and Engineering, Veterinary Medicine, Science, Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Physical Education, and the Institute of Nursing.
Covenant University, Nigeria
Covenant University is the first private Pentecostal Christian University to make the list and prides itself as the ninth of the most reputable universities in Africa. It has been operating with official status since 2002 in Ota, Nigeria. Covenant University is one of the leading universities in Africa found on Christian Mission Ethos. Born and driven by a vision to raise a new generation of leaders and to reinstate the dignity of the black race, the University is committed to remaining at the cutting-edge of learning that is based on enlightening the Total Man.
The university has four colleges, mostly dedicated to vocational studies. Covenant University has had a rapid rise in reputation in the decade and a half it has been operating. The Nigerian Universities Commission named it the best private university in Nigeria in its 2018 rankings and the 6th best university overall.
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Founded in 1932, the University of Ibadan (UI) was the first university to be established in Nigeria. Originally an affiliated College of the University of London, it was granted full independent status in 1962. It began as a small institution with just three departments in Science, Medicine and the Arts, but quickly expanded to become one of the country’s most prestigious institutions of higher education. It comprises thirteen faculties and its Postgraduate School is the largest in Africa, with its undergraduate and postgraduate student population split 50/50. UI runs a number of public facilities, including a media resource centre that offers educational workshops, reading services and consultancies for schools and children’s libraries.
Among the university’s alumni are many notable individuals who have contributed significantly to the political, industrial, economic and cultural development of Nigeria, including the Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1986 and writer Wole Soyinka, and Chinua Achebe whose novel Things Fall Apart is the most widely read book in contemporary African literature. Ibadan itself is a major commercial city in southwest Nigeria, located inland about 70 miles from Lagos. Around a third of all students live in university-provided halls of residence – modern facilities that come equipped with gyms, cafes and common rooms.
That was a jolly good ride, wasn’t it? I bet you enjoyed every bit of the journey to discovering the most reputable universities in Africa. So, this means the time to send in your applications to any one of them is now, who knows, you just might be the next most reputable graduate from your chosen institution.