Have you completed High School and are searching for more vast and considerable options to study medicine?
We know that while choosing a medical school, you seek to look out for those that suit you best in terms of quality of education, finance, environment, international recognition, and so on. Hence, we’ve gathered some of the best and cheapest medical schools in South Africa for you to easily explore and apply to.
Before we get into the list of medical schools in South Africa, let’s go through some questions that might be lingering in your mind regarding medical education in South Africa.
5 Important Questions Regarding Medical Education in South Africa
- Why Choose South Africa to Study Medicine?
The standard and quality of education in South Africa have drastically changed over the past years. South Africa is now technologically advanced and most industrialized all over Africa.
It offers the best medical education with cheap tuition fees and a low cost of living across the whole continent and students even receive high-quality training.
Studying in South Africa is more or less the same as studying in any other continent. Note that South Africa grants a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree while other countries generally offer an MBBS Degree.
However, this doesn’t affect your chances of receiving the Dr. title or restrain you from practicing medicine in any part of the world.
Apart from its quality of education, South Africa has beautiful beaches, scenery, and is certainly a dreamland for thrill-seekers due to its variety of adventurous spots.
- Is it difficult to get into medical school in South Africa?
I won’t sugarcoat it for you but unfortunately, the simple answer is yes. This is due to high traffic of students applying from all around Africa and international students over a limited number of seats, universities, and strict quota systems.
Then again, it isn’t impossible. You can still apply to the best medical schools of South Africa which seem to be a good match for you and hope for the best!
- Can International Students apply for Medicine in South Africa?
Definitely, why not! South Africa eagerly welcomes international students to study and graduate from their medical universities and even offers them to further practice medicine in their region. Yet, the supply of doctors in Africa is less than the demand for doctors.
This is because many medical graduates from South Africa’s medical colleges move to other continents for further refinement of their skills and the budget of the public health sector has not substantially increased in the past 10 years as stated in this article.
Another point to be noted is that, according to Statista, the number of international students arriving in South Africa for the purpose of studying in 2021 has been low; 2732 tourists.
- What are the general requirements to study medicine in South Africa?
To get into a medical school in South Africa, you need to have exceptional grades throughout your high school years and a really good score in your NBT’s.
You must also pass your High School with Chemistry/Physics/Biology, Life Sciences, English, and Math to apply to a reputable medical institution in South Africa.
Not only that, your extra-curricular interests are taken into account as well such as sports, competitions, or work experience related to the medical field or social\community hours.
The universities convert your High School achievements into Admission Points (AP)\NSC and generally require >50% in your academic subjects.
- What is the medium of language of medical curriculum in South Africa?
Generally, the universities offer programs in English as most of the population of South Africa is proficient in speaking and understanding English. African Students who perceive understanding English as intricate can apply in programs offered by some universities in the native language of Africa.
Below are the names, location, fee, duration, and availability of Scholarships Or Financial Aid of the medical universities of South Africa;
|Name of the University
|Location in South Africa
|Fees*depends on your choice of course
|Duration*years depending on your choice of course
|Availability of Scholarships OR Financial Aid
|University of Cape Town
|University of Witwatersrand
|R 42,000- R 67,660
|University of KwaZulu-Natal
|R 36,400- R 52,400
|R 50,206- R 71,203
|Sefako Makgatho University
|R 40,000- R 55,000
|University of Pretoria
|R 35,000- R 62,000
|University of Free State
|Walter Sisulu University
|University of Johannesburg
|R 46,700- R 82,000
|University of Limpopo
|R 58,000- R 67,000
|University of Western Cape
|R 34,342- R 61.962
Now, let’s dive into the 12 best medical schools in South Africa:
1. University of Cape Town:
Fees at UCT:
The annual academic fee for the first year MBChB is R 89370 which is around $5630.
Click here to view the fees structure of your desired program.
Scholarships, grants, and financial assistance is also offered to both local and international students.
Why should you choose UCT?
The University of Cape Town is ranked as the top university in Africa and its qualifications are conveniently recognized internationally. It is renowned for its academic excellence and its medical faculty is placed in the hundred best international universities.
Admission Requirements of UCT:
- The mandatory National Senior Certificate NSC.
- A minimum of 390 FPS
*The required Faculty Points Score varies in each course.
- For International Students, the Non-South African School Leaving Exams’ Performances are not transferred to points in medical faculty.
- Passing marks in English Language are required in A-level, IGSCE\ O-Level, Baccalaureate or any other equivalent level.
You can view the detailed requirements on p 31-33.
List of programs offered at UCT Faculty of Medicine:
- Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
- Bachelor of Science in Speech Language Pathology
- Bachelor of Science in Audiology
- Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy
- Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy
- Various different certifications and diplomas
2. University of Witwatersrand:
Fees at Wits:
The fees vary from R 42,000 to R 67,660 which converts to around 2650 to 4200 US Dollars.
You can view the fees of your desired program here.
Note that all international students pay the same amount of tuition fees as the local students but the admission fees of international students are slightly higher.
Scholarships, grants, and financial assistance is also offered to both local and international students.
Why choose Witwatersrand?
Wits are popularly known for its research capabilities and stimulating original critical thinking in its students. It is internationally recognized and ranks #212 in Best Global Universities.
Admission Requirements of Wits:
- Academic results for five subjects including English, Mathematics, Physical Science and two others. Marks should be obtained >70%
- National Benchmark Test Score NBT
- ILETS score of >7
- Passing marks of >70% in A-Levels, IGCSE\ O-Level, Baccalaureate or any other equivalent level.
List of Programs offered at Wits Faculty of Health Sciences:
- Bachelors in Medicine and Bachelor in Surgery
- Anaesthesiology and Critical Care
- Forensic Medicine and Pathology
- Medical Physics
3. University of KwaZulu-Natal:
Fees at UKZN Faculty of Health Sciences:
The fees at the Bachelor’s level vary from R 36,400 to R 52,400 (around $2300 to $3310). You can view the fees of your desired program here.
Why Choose University of KwaZulu Natal?
UKZN is globally renowned for its innovative research with outstanding output, excellence in teaching, and accredited degrees.
It has been ranked as the fourth-best university in Africa. It provides a broad spectrum of innovative and indulging courses that would cultivate independent thinking skills and increase your career opportunities in local and international markets.
Admission Requirements at UKZN:
- A mandatory National Senior Certificate
- A minimum of seven subjects passed with >60% in South African Examinations or A-Levels, IGSCE\ O-Level, Baccalaureate or any other equivalent level.
- Passing marks of >50% in English Home Language or First Additional Language.
List of Programs offered at UKZN:
The university offers a broad range of disciplines among which some are:
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
4. Stellenbosch University:
Fees at Stellenbosch University:
The fees for undergraduate programs in medicine and health sciences start from R 50,206 upto R 71,203 ($3200-4500)
Why Choose Stellenbosch University?
Stellenbosch has an eminent research output with academic staff available for assistance at full time which isn’t something you’d find all over South African Universities, the highest success rates of students and the highest number of scientists in Africa are appraised by the National Research Foundation.
It has been ranked #251 in World Universities Rankings by Times Higher Education.
Admission Requirements at Stellenbosch University:
- At Least 30% South African Language of Learning and Teaching
- Mandatory National Senior Certificate which should have more than 50% in 20 credit subjects.
- For international students, High School Examination results of A-Levels, AS-Levels, IB.
List of Programs offered at Stellenbosch University:
- Biomedical Sciences
- Anesthesiology and Critical care
- Pediatrics and Child Care
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
5. Sefako Makgatho University:
Fees at SMU:
The undergraduate medical sciences program’s fees for the first year range between R 40,000 up to R 55,000 ($2500 to $3500). View the fee structure of your desired program here.
Why Choose Sefako Makgatho University?
Since its inception, Sefako Makgatho University has been striving towards excellence in all spheres. In just a short period of time, it has managed to come under the top 200 best universities of Africa among the 1300 registered universities and it is predicted that it would gain more recognition in the upcoming years.
Admission Requirements at SMU:
- Students with O-Level, A-Level, Namibian Senior School Certificate A-Level and International Baccurelette Systems (IB) certificates can apply.
- NSC of >60% is required.
List of Schools offered at SMU Health Sciences:
- School of Medicine
- School of Health Care Sciences
- School of Pharmacy
- School of Oral Health Sciences
- School of Science and Technology
6. University of Pretoria:
Fees at University of Pretoria:
The fees of first year undergraduate health sciences programs range from R 35,000 to R 62,000. ($2200 to $3900)
View the fees structure for all health sciences programs here.
Why Choose University of Pretoria?
The University of Pretoria is internationally recognized and comes under the best universities of South Africa. All its courses and teaching material is up to international standards and it does not compromise on the quality of education by providing the best proficient teachers.
Admission Requirements at University of Pretoria for Local and International Students:
- Mandatory NSC
- More than 60% in Mathematics and Physical Sciences, more than 50% in English\ Afrikaans, Life Orientation and two other subjects.
- For International Students, passing marks of > 60% in A-Levels, IGSCE\ O-Level, Baccalaureate or any other equivalent level.
- Admission test
List of programs offered at University of Pretoria:
- Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery
- Bachelor of Dentistry
- Bachelor of Nursing Science
- Bachelor of Physiotherapy
- Bachelor of Occupational Therapy
7. University of Free State:
Fees of Medical Programs at University of Free State:
The average fee of MBChB per year is R 56,275 ($3534). You can check out the fees of your desired program here on page 14.
Why Choose the University of Free State?
UFS is one of the cheapest universities in the whole of South Africa. Despite this, they do not compromise on their quality of education and provide exceptional practical and theoretical academic training. It has been known globally for its excellence in academic achievement and human reconciliation.
Admission Requirements of University of Free State:
The general minimum requirements are:
- National Senior Certificate NSC
- Four Subjects with >40%
- Language of instruction with >40% marks for all options.
List of departments offered at UFS:
- The School of Clinical Medicine
- The School of Pathology
- The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
- The School of Nursing
- The School of Biomedical sciences
8. Walter Sisulu University:
Fees at Walter Sisulu:
Why choose Walter Sisulu University?
WSU diligently aspires to improve its quality of education and aims to be a leader in problem-based learning and community partnerships in Africa. It has a curriculum based on a primary health approach and has recruited some of the best medical professors in Africa.
Admission Requirement at Walter Sisulu University:
- NSC with >50-59% marks in Life sciences, Mathematics, Physical Sciences.
- English or any other subject with at least >40% OR
- National Certificate Vocational with at least 60% in Life Sciences, Mathematics, Physical Sciences.
- Academic results and interviews will weigh equally.
List of Medical Programs at Walter Sisulu University:
- Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion
- Bachelor of Medicine in Clinical Practice
- Bachelor of Health Sciences in Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics
- Bachelor of Nursing
9. University of Johannesburg:
Fees of Medical Programs at University of Johannesburg:
The fees of undergraduate programs vary from R 46700 up to R 82000.
Why choose University of Johannesburg?
The University is well recognized for its excellence in teaching and learning. It provides the students with a welcoming and nurturing learning experience and the curriculum is planned in a way that prepares students for contributing their work to international standards.
Admission Requirements at University of Johannesburg:
- English Proficiency Test; IELTS with a score of >6 or TOEFL with an average score of 80-104.
- Final School Leaving Results
List of medical programs offered at University of Johannesburg:
- Department of Nursing
- Department of Optometry
- Department of Environmental Health
- Department of Biomedical Technology
- Department of Medical Imaging and Radiology
10. University of Limpopo:
Fees of Medical Programs at University of Limpopo:
The fees of MBChB are around R 58 000 up to R 67 000.
Why choose University of Limpopo?
The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Limpopo is committed to providing the best teachers who devotedly polish the research and learning skills of the students.
Their graduates often find jobs easily in the market of the medical world.
Admission Requirements of University of Limpopo:
- Students with NSC; Life Orientation with >60%.
- English Language achievement of >60%
- High School Certificate grades would be converted into APS.
List Of Medical Programs at University of Limpopo:
- Department of Medicine
- Department of Surgery
- Department of Paediatrics and Child Health
- Department of Pathology
- Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health
11. North-West University:
Fees of Medical Programs at North-West University:
Compulsory First Year Minimum Fees Payable for 2022 is R 10 740 for Non-Resident Students and R 19 890 For Resident Students at the University Campus.
Why Choose North-West University?
North-West University is a reputable and well-recognized institution. It not only provides excellent education but an exciting student life where students are given chances to polish their talents such as in arts, sports, culture, community service, and leadership.
Admission Requirements at North-West University:
- Score in Mathematics of >60-69%, score in Physical Sciences of >50-59%
- An academic paper would be required to be written by the applicant and submitted for inspection.
- Best Average Point.
List of Medical Programs at North-West University:
- Human Movement Sciences
12. University of Western Cape:
Fees of Medical Programs at University of Western Cape:
The Fees of programs in the Faculty of Health Sciences and Dentistry vary from R 34,342 upto R 61,962. You can view the fees of your desired program here.
Why Choose University of Western Cape?
UWC has been ranked amongst the world’s top 200 universities by the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings 2019.
The selection of students is not only done based on merit but potential, character, compassion.
Admission Requirements of UWC:
- National Senior Certificate with an achievement of at least 50-59% OR
- Scores in Maths and Physical Sciences with > 50-59%.
List of Medical Programs at University of Western Cape:
- Occupational Therapy
- Dietetics and Nutrition
- Complementary Health Sciences
Before ending the article, I’m sure you’re worried about these two questions that pops up in student’s mind before applying to any university;
Do Medical Students Get Paid South African Universities?
Yes, students doing internships or any kind of community service training are elected and paid by the National Department of Health of South Africa.
Do Medical Graduates Earn Good in South Africa?
Generally, doctors in South Africa earn around R 600,000 per year which is around $37,710. This amount of salary is comparatively higher than in most developing countries.
I know that your whole professional life depends upon choosing the university that suits you the best. I can assure you that we’ve gathered the best medical universities that you’d find in South Africa and which would provide you with quality education as well as a vibrant student life. Just be sure to check all the requirements that the university requires and enjoy a great time at the beautiful institutions of South Africa!