With its incredible cultural and ecological diversity as well as emerging economies, Africa is a unique place to study for biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, political scientists, public health and business students.
A huge expanse of 54 nations, most of Africa’s best universities are in the northern and southern areas of the continent. South Africa is home to many of the best schools in the south, while Egypt boasts numerous leading universities in the north.
Travel is a major draw for studying in Africa, with stunning deserts, jungles and mountain ranges at your fingertips. Being able to safari parks is of course just one of the perks of living there.
In the words of Lonely Planet, “there’s nowhere like it on the planet for wildlife, wild lands and rich traditions that endure. Prepare to fall in love.”
Here are the best schools the continent has to offer according to the Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings 2018.
The American University in Cairo (Egypt)
With staff, students and alumni from more than 60 countries, the American University in Cairo (AUC) has taught in English since it was founded in 1919. Located in downtown Cairo, the university is located at the meeting point of Africa and the Arab world.
With a total of around 6000 students, AUC offers 37 bachelor’s programs, 44 master’s degrees and 2 doctoral programs. It is ranked within 601-800 range of THE World Rankings for 2018.
Makerere University (Uganda)
Uganda’s Makerere University was established in 1922 boasts a 350-acre farm for its College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Resources. It is one of Africa’s most prestigious universities, with former presidents of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania having studied there.
It is ranked the fourth best university in Africa and is within the 401-500 range of THE’s World Rankings, just ahead of Canada’s University of Manitoba.
University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) has five campuses across the South African province of Kwa-Zulu-Natal for which it is named. It is jointly ranked as the fourth best university in Africa.
UKZN was only founded in 2004 after the merger of the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville, but aims to be the “premier university of African scholarship. Its 37,000 students study across four colleges: Agriculture, Engineering and Science; Health Sciences; Humanities; and Law and Management Studies.
According to THE, the university’s students and researchers are highly connected with international institutions, working collaboratively on research into issues such as AIDS, technology and food security.
Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
Located among the picturesque wine growing region of the Boland Mountains, Stellenbosch University is located around 50km from Cape Town and is the third best university in Africa.
The university promotes multilingualism between Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa, with classes being offered in the former two languages. Of its 30,000 students, known as “maties”, some 4,000 are international students from around 100 countries.
Stellenbosch operates an exchange program where students can study abroad at one of 100 partner universities in the US, Germany, France, Japan and elsewhere.
The University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
Commonly known as Wits, the University of Witswatersrand is the second-best university in all of Africa. It is located in South Africa’s largest metropolis Johannesburg, with 1 in 5 of its 33,700 students living on campus.
According to THE, Wits’ geographic location makes it strategic for being close to the “economic powerhouse of the whole African continent”. A research-intensive institution, it was one of the founders of the African Research Universities Alliance.
The University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Ranked the best university in Africa and 171 in the world, the University of Cape Town (UCT) was established in 1829 making it the continent’s second oldest higher education institution.
The public research university offers courses entirely in English across its faculties of Commerce, Engineering and the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law and Science for its roughly 27,000 students.
UCT also claims to have “one of the most diverse campuses in South Africa”. Around 1 in 5 of the uni’s students are international, meaning you’ll feel right at home.