Over the past decades, South Africa has proven to be an excellent choice for pursuing higher education. Students are attracted to the country for both its academic excellence and diverse cultures and breathtaking landscape. In addition to this, South Africa has shown to be quite an affordable place for obtaining a higher degree. This article takes a closer look at some of the very best biology universities in South Africa.

Top Universities for Biology in South Africa

1. Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is a public research institution situated in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It is the oldest university in both the country and Sub-Saharan Africa. The university is ranked among the best in the world and is internationally recognized as an academic institution of excellence. In addition to its international academic acclaim, Stellenbosch University is known for its vibrant student life. As the university is located just outside Cape Town, it offers a diverse social and cultural experience for both its students and faculty.

One of the most sought-after fields of research at the university is the study of biology at the Department of Genetics. The department’s origins may be traced back to the late 19th century and the establishment of the Stellenbosch College of Agriculture. Presently, the department as a whole represents a diverse community made up of faculty members and students in search of innovation and research opportunities in plant, animal, and human genetics. The primary mission of the department is the cultivation of a learning environment that will lead students to the creative development of human resources that will benefit both society and the individual.

2. University of Cape Town

Another university situated in the Western Cape Province, the University of Cape Town is among the most prestigious universities in South Africa. As it was originally founded in 1829 as the South African College, it is considered the oldest institution for higher education in South Africa. As of the present, the university is the highest internationally ranked academic institution in South Africa and takes great pride in its alumni, among which are several Nobel Prize laureates. One of its main goals for the future is to educate leaders and scholars who will work for the benefit of society and justice.

Although the University of Cape Town has many acclaimed programs, the Department of Biological Sciences is among the most prestigious. It offers a wide variety of programs ranging from marine biology to wood physiology and hydraulics. The primary goal of the department is to nurture an engaging and research-oriented environment. It believes that this type of setting will inspire outstanding achievement in discovery and innovation, which will in turn aid in creating a more just and civil society for future generations.

3. University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria is a highly acclaimed institute for higher education located in the South African administrative and de facto capital of the same name. The university is among the largest in the country and has multiple campuses scattered throughout the city of Pretoria. Presently, this research institution is focused on encouraging socially impactful solutions for some of the most pressing global issues of today. Furthermore, during their studies, the university aims to support its students both inside and outside the classroom, inspiring them to take up an active role in society.

The University of Pretoria is one of the best biology universities in South Africa and offers numerous exceptional biology programs at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. During the undergraduate studies, all programs are focused on providing a sound and comprehensive education that will act as a base for further graduate programs. Thus, after they have received their undergraduate degree, students may choose to specialize in several respective fields of biology offered at the University. It should be noted that the faculty encouraged students to participate in research projects from the very beginning, as this allows them to fine-tune both their theoretical and practical skills.

4. University of the Witwatersrand

Originally founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, the University of the Witwatersrand is among the oldest research institutions in the country. Presently, it is located in the northern areas of Johannesburg with a student body numbering over 40,000 members. It is primarily concerned with making a social and impactful difference in fields ranging from ecology to medicine. Moreover, the university strives to maintain a multicultural environment through its global partnerships, collaborations, staff, student exchanges, and alumni.

The study of biology at the University of the Witwatersrand is mainly situated at the School of Molecular and Cell Biology. It offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in the most current fields of Molecular Life Sciences and Biotechnology. Concerning undergraduate studies, this excellent biology school is focused on providing a solid theoretical and practical base for students to build on during their further studies. Moreover, the school strives to create a multidisciplinary environment so its future scholars have a comprehensive and all-encompassing view of their respective fields.

5. University of KwaZulu-Natal

Situated in the province bearing the same name, the University of KwaZulu-Natal is a prestigious multi-campus institution for tertiary education. Even though it was founded through an academic merger in 2004, the university has managed to build an international reputation of academic excellence. From the beginning, it has focused on forming an academically excellent, innovative, entrepreneurial, and critically engaged learning environment.

The university’s values and ambitions are most apparent at the School of Life Sciences, which is focused on the field of biology. Its field of study is primarily centered on all human, plant, and animal life. Being among the best biology universities in South Africa, the school is comprised of world-renowned scholars motivated to ensure that their students receive a first-class degree and rich university experience. With a diploma on either the undergraduate or graduate level, biology students are seen as highly employable individuals ready to make their mark on the world.


I hope this article on the best biology universities in South Africa was helpful. Make sure to also check out Available Programs for International Students to learn more about studying abroad.