Africa Schools Ranked: The Top 10 Universities and Colleges

If you want to pursue higher education at an African university, South Africa and Egypt are well-known destinations for international students looking for broad learning opportunities. However, some of the best universities in Africa cover a dozen countries from Nigeria to Kenya and Morocco.

We have compiled a list of the best schools in Africa of the best African schools, ranked from one to ten. The data comes from credible sources such as the Times Higher Education and US News and World Report.

What attracts students to universities in Africa?

Students are attracted to tertiary institutions in Africa for its low cost of living, diversity and welcoming culture. According to Business Insider, the number of African countries that are attracting international students is gradually increasing.

Countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana and Kenya are seeing more and more international students pursuing higher education and advanced degrees in their academic institutions. In addition to the diversity and cost of living, the African university scene offers a high quality education.

Africa Schools Ranked: An Overview

Africa Rank World ranking on Times Higher Education World ranking on American news Institution
1 183 109 University of Cape Town
2 251-300 212 University of the Witwatersrand
3 251-300 317 University of Stellenbosch
4 301-350 N/A University of Cape Coast
5 351-400 371 University of KwaZulu Natal
6 401-500 517 University of Addis Ababa
7 501-600 477 Mansoura University
8 501-600 510 North West University – South Africa
9 601-800 392 University of Cairo
10 601-800 417 University of Johannesburg

The best universities in Africa explained

The best universities in Africa provide excellent education to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

A number of South African universities are among the best-ranked universities in Africa. According to multiple sources, one of the best universities in Africa is the University of Cape Town. There are plenty of opportunities to study advanced degrees in the African continent. Below is a list of the best schools in Africa that consistently rank highly in global world reports.

1. University of Cape Town

  • Campus location(s): Rondebosch, Observatory, Hiddingh, V&A Waterfront
  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: 109

The University of Cape Town is a prestigious university and one of Africa’s leading public research universities. It is in South Africa’s largest city, Cape Town, on the Western Cape of South Africa. According to the official webpage of this school, the University of Cape Town has approximately 28,600 students with approximately 1,000 international students.

Students can experience Capetonian life while studying at this institution known for offering excellent commerce, medicine and law programs at this top university.

2. University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

  • Campus location(s): Braamfontein, Parktown
  • Acceptance rate: 25%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: 212

This public research university in Johannesburg, South African province of Gauteng, is home to approximately 40,699 students. This large campus extends over 400 acres. Wits University has five faculties of 33 schools offering 3,416 courses. It stands out internationally for its high academic standards and its research department.

3. Stellenbosch University

  • Campus location(s): Stellenbosch, Saldanha, Worcester, Tygerberg (Bellville), Bellville Park
  • Acceptance rate: 51%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: 317

Founded in 1918, Stellenbosch University is one of the oldest universities on this list. It was one of the previous Afrikaner institutions in South Africa’s infamous past of racial inequality. They once gave lectures in the African language, but that has since changed and the lessons are now in English.

This South African university is home to approximately 10,456 postgraduate students and a total of 31,540 undergraduate students. This varsity consistently ranks highly in the world’s top academic institutions for offering outstanding undergraduate degrees in law, political science, and geography.

4. University of Cape Coast

  • Campus location(s): Elmina, Cape Coast Castle
  • Acceptance rate: 46%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: N/A

The University of Cape Coast is one of the largest universities in Ghana, with a student population of approximately 74,720. It is located in the historic city of Cape Coast, a popular tourist destination. It is 500 meters from the Atlantic Ocean, making it one of the few seaside universities in the world with fantastic ocean views. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and doctoral programs.

5. University of KwaZulu-Natal

  • Campus location(s): KwaZulu-Natal
  • Acceptance rate: 59%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: 371

The University of KwaZulu-Natal in the southern province of KwaZulu-Natal is known for its beaches and diverse cultures. This African institution is known for its innovative curricula, state-of-the-art labs, research productivity and accredited professional degrees. The Times Higher Education Rankings estimates that this large, anglophone university is home to approximately 37,005 students.

6. University of Addis Ababa

  • Campus location(s): Addis Ababa, Bishoftu
  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: 517

Addis Ababa University, one of the oldest universities in the country, was opened in 1950. The 46,864 students of this university, arranged in the 401-500 range, study within a wide variety of undergraduate and graduate programs from different faculties.

These faculties include biological engineering, humanities, social sciences, journalism and communication, business and economics, language studies, law and administration, degrees of education and behavioral studies, natural and computational services, health sciences, and veterinary medicine. There are 13 separate campuses, most in the capital and the others in Bishoftu, about 45 kilometers away.

7. Mansoura University

  • Campus location(s): Mansoura City
  • Acceptance rate: 70%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: 477

Mansoura University is located in the middle of the Nile Delta in Mansoura, Egypt. This university is known for its medical facilities. It has more than nine major hospitals and medical centers, including a Mansoura University Children’s Hospital, a Urology and Nephrology Center, and a Medical Experimental Research Center.

8. Northwest University

  • Campus location(s): Vanderbijl Park, Potchefstroom, Mahikeng
  • Acceptance rate: 96%
  • Graduation rate: 23.5%
  • US News Country Ranking: 510

North West University is a South African university that was officially opened in 2004 as part of the existing government’s efforts to transform higher education. This university has three campuses with eight faculties that offer a healthy number of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

9. Cairo University

  • Campus location(s): Giza in Cairo
  • Acceptance rate: 95%
  • Graduation rate: N/A
  • US News Country Ranking: 392

Cairo University is also known as the Egyptian University and should not be confused with the American University in Cairo. Ranked in the range 601-800, it is one of Africa’s oldest and largest universities. This school is home to more than 230,000 students, a small percentage of whom are from abroad.

Cairo University is located in the capital of this country, Cairo, a popular tourist destination, Cairo. Some of the most popular undergraduate programs include math, chemistry, microbiology, engineering, pharmacology, and toxicology.

10. University of Johannesburg

  • Campus location(s): Four campuses all in the city of Johannesburg
  • Acceptance rate: 67%
  • Graduation rate: 83.4%
  • US News Country Ranking: 417

Last on the list of universities is The University of Johannesburg. As one of the largest African institutions, it has about 50,000 students. This public university is an exemplary institution for research and innovation.

Undergraduate and doctoral degrees offered by the school’s seven faculties and single college include education, law, arts and social sciences, humanities, health sciences, architecture, engineering, and business, and economics.

How we made our list of the best schools in Africa

To compile our list, we followed the Times Higher Education 2022 World University Rankings. This ranking was created by evaluating education, research, citations, international prospects and industry results from more than 1,600 institutions from around the world. Additional information was retrieved from the US News Best National University Rankings.

Is a top university in Africa right for you?

A top university such as the University of Cape Town may be ideal for you if you live in Africa or abroad. Many of these universities provide academic opportunities for future leaders. The relatively low cost of living, beautiful scenery and favorable learning environment are all factors that make it easier to pursue higher education at one of the best universities in Africa.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Universities in Africa

What is the number one university in Africa?

The University of Cape Town is the number one university in Africa, according to data from both Times Higher Education and The US News and World Rankings. Ranked 109th globally, this institution is known for offering outstanding programs in infectious disease, immunology and public health, environmental and occupational health.

Which country has the best university in Africa?

South Africa has a number of highly regarded universities worldwide, including the University of Cape Town, the University of KwaZulu Natal, the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Stellenbosch.

Is Cairo University a good university?

Cairo University is one of the best universities in Egypt. Home to more than 230,000 students, Times Higher Education and US News and World Report Rankings rank this great university highly.

What is the number one university in the world?

Harvard University is one of the top universities in the world with a perfect global score of 100, according to reports from the US News and World Report Rankings.

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