Biggest Universities in South Africa based on number of students as of 2020.
No 1: UNISA with more than 300 000 students
According to THE, UNISA is Considered a mega university because of its large student intake, with more than 300,000 students. It is the largest open distance learning institution in Africa and the oldest dedicated distance education university in the world.
Around a third of all higher education students in South Africa attend Unisa and its international students hail from over 130 different countries.
Unisa’s history dates back to 1873 when it was established as the University of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1946 it officially became a distance university and today it has seven regional centres across South Africa, in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Midlands, Mpumalanga, and Western Cape.
The university comprises an additional eight colleges in Accounting Sciences, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Education, Economic and Management Sciences, Graduate Studies, Human Sciences, Law, Science, Engineering and Technology, and its Graduate School of Business Leadership.
No 2: Tshwane University of Technology with more than 60 000 active students
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) (Afrikaans: Tshwane-Universiteit vir Tegnologie) is a higher education institution in South Africa that came into being through a merger of three technikons — Technikon Northern Gauteng, Technikon North-West and Technikon Pretoria.
As the number of students registering annually grows rapidly, records show that Tshwane University of Technology caters for approximately 60,000 students and it has become the largest residential higher education institution in South Africa.
No 3: University of Johannesburg with more than 50 000 active students
Recognised as the country’s second strongest brand, UJ offers world-class, internationally recognised academic programmes based on curricula informed by cutting-edge developments in both undergraduate and postgraduate education, and that are designed to prepare students for the world of work and for global citizenship. Our curriculum is increasingly reflective of previously marginalised scholarship that talks to a transformation and decolonisation agenda, with Africa at its core.
The University has 8 Faculties viz., Education, Law, Humanities, Fine Arts, Design and Architecture, Health Sciences, Science, Engineering and the Built Environment as well as the College of Business and Economics, housing the newly established Johannesburg Business School. The University has four campuses, namely the Auckland Park Bunting Road Campus; the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus; the Doornfontein Campus; and the Soweto Campus.