Home Student & Career Tips List of Best Medical Schools in South Africa – 2021

List of Best Medical Schools in South Africa – 2021

This article contains the list of best medical schools in South Africa for the year 2021


From time immemorial, the Medical course has always been a prestigious and highly lucrative course. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of students who push to study the course. With this development, so many countries worldwide have tried to make provision in order to accommodate the population, hence, the creation of Medical schools.

In this article, we will be considering the list of Medical school in South Africa.

There are eight medical schools in South Africa. With the country being a former British colony, most of the institutions follow the British-based undergraduate method of instruction with admission involving admitting students directly from high school into a 6 or five-year program

All South African medical schools award the MBChB degree except the University of the Witwatersrand, whose degree is MBBCh. Upon successful completion of study, all South African medical graduates are required to complete a-year internship as well as a further year of community service in order to register with the Health Professions Council and practice as a doctor in the country.

Some universities such as the University of Cape Town and Witwatersrand University have started offering post-graduate medical degrees that run alongside their undergraduate programs. Thus, a student having completed an appropriate undergraduate degree with basic sciences can enter into a four-year postgraduate program.

Furthermore, to become a specialist in Medical school, it takes about a five to seven year training process. The specialist qualification may be conferred as a Fellowship by the independent Colleges of Medicine of South Africa (CMSA). The Medical schools and the CMSA also offer Higher Diplomas in many fields.

Apart from the fact that medical schools in South Africa are renowned, medical students from all over the world come to South Africa to gain practical experience in the country’s many teaching hospitals and rural clinics. Sometimes, the fund to study in South Africa might be a problem especially for International students. Worry not, there are Medical schools in South Africa for international students that not only charge a considerate tuition fee but also offer scholarships to both domestic and international students. This means that a student from another country who wants to study in South Africa could study medicine in any of these schools with scholarship.

Thus, here is a list of Medical Schools in South Africa you might  wish to consider.


1. UCT Faculty of Health Sciences (University of Cape Town)

The University of Cape Town is one of the best medical schools in Africa and is the first to be included in the top 50 universities in the world for Medicine going by  the ranking of the QS World University. The school which was Founded in 1829, became the first-ever college in South Africa, making it the oldest higher education institute in South Africa.

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The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

It has been recognised to be the best medical school in South Africa, having recorded a long list of medical education and research success, one of them being the first successful heart transplant in the world in 1967.

Check out the application procedure to become a UCT student >>>

2. Wits Parktown Health Sciences Campus (University of Witwatersrand) 

University of Witwatersrand is also one of the best medical universities in South Africa, The University of the Witwatersrand located in Johannesburg, is a multi-campus South African public research university situated in the northern areas of central Johannesburg. University of Witwatersrand is one of the medical schools in South Africa for international students with a good reputation in the medical field.

The school has had a century of excellence in medical education with regards to research. Witwatersrand was the first South African medical institution to perform a successful graft of plastic cornea. The university also helped established the first dental hospital and school in South Africa. These outstanding scientific achievements have helped the school to gain international recognition.

If you’re desirous to pass through this great citadel of learning, there are two ways to enter the Wits medical program regardless if you are a domestic or international student. The first way is as a first-year after graduation from high school. The other is as a third-year through their Graduate Entry Medical Programme, which shortens the medical study to only four years. Wits University as it is commonly known for easier pronunciation, has produced many well-performing doctors in South Africa and the world at large.

Check out the application procedure to become a WITS student >>>

3. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is a public research university situated in Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch, a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.  The school which was founded 1955 prides itself to have the highest research output per academic staff and the highest success rate for its students

This top medical school offers several student support systems in their medical education which includes Tutor-Mentor Programme, subject-specific tutors, the Residence Education initiatives, etc.

Their research focus of the school includes biomedical tuberculosis research and management, animal sciences, and mathematical biosciences and wine biotechnology. Stelenbosch Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences also established the first rural clinical school in South Africa. This rural clinical school is where most SU students gain firsthand clinical experience during their internship.

With thousands of enrollments since the establishment of the school, the university is known to be one of the famous medical schools in South Africa that makes admission open to international students alongside South African indigenous students.

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Check out the application procedure to become a Stellenbosch University student >>>

4. UP School of Medicine (University of Pretoria)

When you speak of South African Medical schools with humble beginnings, University of Pretoria is one of such schools. The development of the UP from its humble beginnings from small-group lectures in a tiny house to becoming one of the largest research universities in South Africa is a prove that persistence pays. The first class comprised of 57 students and over the years class size increased.

UP School of Medicine is not only one of the best medical universities in South Africa but also one that uses modern problem-oriented curriculum for their medical programs, which is outcome-based and focuses on body organs and systems.

The School of Medicine at University of Pretoria started out as the Faculty of Medicine in 1943. The core of their medical education is a community-based approach to preparing students for any setting for clinical practice.

The School of Medicine offers training for the following degrees:

  • MBChB
  • MPharm Med
  • MMed in different specialties
  • MPhil (Philosophy and ethics of mental health)
  • MPhil (Pain Management)
  • BClinical Medical Practice
  • Master of Early Childhood Intervention
  • BSport Science
  • BScHons
  • MSc
  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Postgraduate Diplomas are also offered in Family Medicine as well as in General Ultrasound.
Check out the application procedure to become a UP student >>>

5. Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

UKZN is one of the best schools in South Africa in medicine and other fields. The university offers a Decentralized Clinical Training Platform to many international students, particularly those from Cuba.

Check out the application procedure to become a UKZN student >>>

6. Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU)

This is a University in Pretoria North, Gauteng Province, South Africa that was formed on 1 January 2015. Previously it was known as Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA) and later as a campus of the University of Limpopo. It was named after South African ANC leader, Sefako Makgatho.

Check out the application procedure to become an SMU student >>>

7. UFS Faculty of Health Sciences (University of Free State)

The school which was founded in 1904 as Grey College School established its faculty of health in the year 1969 at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein, South Africa which is the current name of the school.

The Faculty of Health Sciences renders a quality healthcare service to cater for numerous health care needs in South Africa, taking into consideration the following:

  • Research
  • Teaching and learning
  • Community service
  • Service delivery

Their participation in various professional and national organizations as well as the faculty’s contribution to research has shifted the focus of teaching and training from a purely professional base to a combined effort between profession and education.

The University has a museum that boasts an array of embalmed specimens, osteology material and plastinated specimens which are used as study aids for students and faculty. The following field-specific training in Anatomy and Cell Morphology is currently offered in the school; applied and comparative anatomy, histology, biological embryology and anthropology.

Check out the application procedure to become a UFS student >>>

8. WSU Faculty of Health Sciences (Walter Sisulu University)

Walter Sisulu University (WSU) was founded at University of Transkei (UNITRA) in 1985 with the objective of educating doctors with the knowledge, professional attitudes and clinical skills that would enable them to provide quality health care in rural South African communities.

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Walter Sisulu University (WSU) however prides itself to be the first Faculty of Health Sciences in South Africa to:

  • Introduce Problem-Based Learning and Community- Based Education in Medical Education.
  • Introduce an undergraduate degree in Health Promotion. Till date no other Faculty has achieved that.
  • Introduce an integrated 5-year MB ChB curriculum.
  • Facilitate placement of all medical students at district hospitals for a continuous period of 20 weeks during the 5th year of study in medicine.
  • Offer the Clinical Associate Programme
  • Establish a Centre for Global Health and research.
Check out the application procedure to become a WSU student >>>


South Africa has always been known as a country that stands out in whatever they set out to do. The country may not have started on a good and smooth path in their Medical sector but over time there has been a massive improvement to make up for the past years. This has been seen in the quality of training the few Medical schools in the country give to their students. So far, South African medical schools have stopped at nothing but to produce gold-level medical workers equipped with all the necessary skills and competence for national and international service.

I hope this article opens your eyes further as an international student as regards studying medicine in South Africa because it is supposed to give a direction in choice making.

While the information here is not all there is to know about the Medical schools mentioned, it is rather advisable to visit the respective websites of these medical schools in South Africa to read more on their admission requirements as well as other necessary information that will aid you in your choice of school.

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