There are 46 higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa. These include academically oriented HEIs and vocationally oriented HEIs. Vocational HEIs provide courses for students who aim to enter their field of work directly, whereas academic HEIs offer programs for students who want to pursue further education. HEIs include universities, technical schools and theological seminaries. These can be either private, funded solely through tuition, or public, funded by the government. 27.3% of students are enrolled in business, economics, and management courses. International students are accepted in South African universities. For instance, there are 42’600 international students enrolled in higher education institutions. It is the fourth most popular destination for students in Africa. For more information, please refer to the official government website: http://www.dhet.gov.za/.
The educational structure of higher education in South Africa follows the traditional path of a Bachelors, followed by a Masters, and then a Doctorate. Bachelors degrees generally take between three to four years to complete. Three-year programs are generally business, science and humanities degrees. Four-year programs are obtained by students studying in the field of engineering, agriculture, pharmacy, and technology. Medical degrees take six years to complete. Law degrees take four years to complete but require a placement semester in order to graduate. Masters degrees generally take a year to complete. Doctoral degrees take a minimum of two years to complete.
Undergraduate programs involve 30 weeks of study per year, whereas postgraduate programs require 45 weeks of study. Local students are required to pass the National Senior Certificate, also known as ‘matric’ in order to qualify for higher education. There are four scores that students may obtain. Students who acquire a certificate pass or a higher certificate pass are not able to attend tertiary education. Students who receive a diploma pass may be accepted to programs that do not grant full degrees. A bachelor’s pass is required for students who aim to study bachelor’s programs or above. In order to be accepted to a Masters program, students are required to have a Bachelor’s degree. Moreover, students with a three-year Bachelor’s degree are required to complete additional courses or a bridging diploma in order to be accepted. Prospective doctoral students are required to have completed a Masters program. Most programs are taught in English, though the two main languages of the country are English and Afrikaans. Therefore, students may be required to pass an IELTS or TOEFL test in order to be accepted.
Local students and students from the Southern Africa Development Community pay approximately 3’000£ per year. Tuition fees for international students cost a minimum of 6’950£ per year. Medical courses cost up to 12’000$ per year.
Information for International Students
International students are required to obtain a student visa before arriving for their studies. Moreover, international students are allowed to work in South Africa, up to a maximum of 20 hours per week. Most universities offer student accommodation, whether on campus or not.