Top 10 Best Engineering Universities In South Africa (2023)

The best engineering universities in South Africa have established themselves over the years as excellent places to study Engineering. This recognition is global; these universities are recognized all over the world for their innovation, and for their groundbreaking feats.

Some of these institutions have made history by producing useful creations which contribute to technological advancements, and they contribute even more by producing capable engineers who work tirelessly to improve the quality of infrastructure, and quality of life on the continent.

South Africa is already well established as a hub of learning. Thanks to these institutions, even more recognition is coming to the country.

Best Engineering Universities In South Africa

1. University Of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria is currently ranked as the number one best university in South Africa for engineering, having attained the highest ranking by the renowned international body. This university was established in 1908, and is located in Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa.

The University Of Pretoria has a student body of about 62,000; making it one of the most popular institutions of higher learning in South Africa. There is very good reason for this preference; this institution has a very strong leaning towards research. In fact; the University of Pretoria has more research output every year, than any other institution in South Africa.

This is a world class institution; one that embraces the use of digital technology in its learning activities.

2. University Of Johannesburg

The University Of Johannesburg was established in 2005 through a merger of Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), the Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR) and the Soweto and East Rand campuses of Vista University. Therefore, despite being new in name, the university traces its history back to the 1960’s.

This institution has a student body of 50,000, and aside from South Africa they come from 80 countries around the world. This institution has earned its reputation through consistency; it has been one of the top ranking engineering universities in this country for more than a decade.

The university has 176 rated researchers, six of whom are NRF “A-rated” researchers, internationally all over the world as top researchers in their fields.

3. Tshwane University Of Technology

Tshwane University Of Technology is one of the purely engineering universities in South Africa; and of course with such specialization comes excellence. TUT as it is called, was established in 2004, after a merger of Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North-West and Technikon Pretoria.

This university has a student body in excess of 60,000; more than any other residential institution. The university has gained a reputation as the place of choice for those intending to study engineering, or any other technology related course of study.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has ranked this university’s Department of Journalism as one of twelve Potential Centres of Excellence as per Journalism Training in Africa.

4. University of Kwazulu Natal

The University of Kwazulu Natal has five campuses in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. It was established in 2004, by the merger of the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. This university traces its history back to 1910; which is when the University of Natal was established.

The University of Kwazulu Natal is more than just a university; in the modern South Africa, it is a place of pride representing Africanizm, and the technological potential of Africa.

This institution is great for studying Agriculture, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Chemistry and Physics, Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science.

The KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV, which was opened in 2012, is also a major achievement of this university.

5. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is a public research university; one of the proudest on the African continent. Located in Stellenbosch, a town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, this is the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa- a distinction it shares with the University of Cape Town, both universities getting approval in 1918.

This university has maintained a very high standard education, and has confirmed its elite status by designing and producing Africa’s first microsatellite, SUNSAT, which was launched in 1999. That virtually wrote the university’s name in gold; making it a name to be reckoned with in Africa.

Stellenbosch has a student body of around 35,000. This is a great place to study Engineering, Science, AgriSciences, Arts and Social Sciences, and so on.

6. North West University – South Africa

North West University, which was established in 2004 following the merger of the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, and the University of North-West. The university traces its history back to 1869 when the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education was established.

This university is already pulling its weight in the area of research; in 2018, researchers at this university came up with a way to accurately predict the spread of Fall Army Worms, and also to control this highly invasive pest. This ground breaking research work is already improving agriculture around the world, and has already put the institution in high esteem.

This university has also produced several notable alumni; many of whom have gone on to achieve great things in their careers.

7. University Of Witwatersrand

The University of Witwatersrand is a world class institution of learning; it was established in 1922, and has kept the tradition of academic excellence ever since. The institution has a student body of more than 40,000.

Wits is a great place for the study of Engineering; the institution was built on the foundation of the mining industry, as the South African School of mines.

The institution has a long political history; it is a birth place of student unionism, and played a great part in the fight against the apartheid system which almost ruined South Africa. Aside from Engineering, this institution is a great place to witness political debates, and to see young people eager to make an impact in society.

8. University Of Cape Town

University of Cape Town is one of the best engineering universities in South Africa; it has one of the richest concentrations of highly qualified faculty members in the country. 35 researchers with this institution are A Rated researchers, while five alumni, staff members, and researchers have won the Nobel Prize.

The University of Cape Town has been involved in several notable research projects over the years; the most recent of them being: The Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics is in the forefront of research into cosmology and topology.

The Department of Electrical Engineering is involved in the design and development of technology for the Karoo Array Telescope (KAT). This is probably going to be the world’s largest radio telescope; capable of seeing into deep space.

9. University Of South Africa

The University Of South Africa (UNISA) is the largest university system in South Africa; it awards over a third of all degrees awarded in the country. This mega university is a public institution, and also offers Distance Learning as a core part of its operation.

UNISA has a student body of over 236,282, and this is a great place to study engineering, education, agriculture, accounting, law, and so on. This is a multi campus university; and it is very well run.

10. University Of The Western Cape

University Of The Western Cape was established as a university for coloured people back in 1959, but is now one of the foremost institutions in the country; with a history of fighting for equality among people of the country.

This a great place to study Engineering, Law, Agriculture, Accounting, Economics and so on.  This university has frequently been ranked among the best in the continent.



The best engineering universities in South Africa do not claim to this title only on the basis of academics; they are involved in research that have contributed to making the continent better and stronger in terms of infrastructure and capacity. These universities are in therefore some of the most popular institutions, where all the best students want to go.