Africa is the second-largest continent in the world and contributes to 1/5th of the world’s population. It is also the continent with the most number of diseases and people with health problems. In general, the continent also has an inadequate health care system, lacking numbers of health care workers and professionals.

Nursing education in Africa has advanced over the years, following the trend in education, some institutions also offer post-graduate studies and distance learning all over the continent. However, the majority of the undergraduate programs in nursing are offered as vocational training. Despite the growing nursing program, the lack of support and poor regulation of the profession is seen as a hurdle to its advancement. As a program that requires skill, the limited practical skills and clinical exposure offered to its students should be addressed. However, nursing schools are striving in South Africa, and some even are included in world rankings for nursing education. Advancement in nursing education can also be observed in the region.

Basic nursing education in Africa is completed in 4-5 years. Listed below are the nursing programs in the continent, which are mostly located in South Africa!

Top Schools Offering Nursing Programs in Africa

1. University of Pretoria

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

The University of Pretoria in South Africa is the largest research university in the region and among the top nursing schools in Africa that was founded in 1908. It is ranked highly among the universities in Africa and the world. As a leading international university in the continent, the university is affiliated with over 100 universities and institutions all over the world. Its partnership with international bodies aids in the advancement of its students and teaching staff through exchange programs, research collaboration, and culture exchange activities.

The Department of Nursing Science was established in 1956 and is considered the first to offer nursing education in the region. It had a major role in the establishment and development of nursing education in South Africa.

The tuition fee for local students is US$2,240 to US$3,460 for undergraduate and US$1,200 to US$1,300 for postgraduate students. For international fees, tuition is either that of the local students or double that of the local student fees depending on their student status.

2. Nelson Mandela University

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

Nelson Mandela University is an excellent nursing university in Africa that was founded in 2005 as a result of the merging of PE Technikon the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE) and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University (Vista PE). The university is known for being the most diverse university in South Africa. The university has 7 campuses all over the region.

Its nursing program is offered in the Department of Nursing Science under the School of Clinical Care Sciences in the Faculty of Health Science. The average tuition per year is US$2,150 for undergraduate nursing. Other tuition and fees may be available upon request on the university website.

3. University of the Free State

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

The University of the Free State is a public university in South Africa that was established in 1904 and is considered one of the oldest and most prestigious universities for nursing in Africa. It has grown to have 3 campuses: the Bloemfontein, Qwaqwa, and South campus; with an increasing body of international students.

The nursing program is offered in the School of Nursing under the Faculty of Health Sciences. The school of nursing is leading the advancement of nursing education in the region due to its innovative approach to learning, training, and simulation, coupled with the best facility to cater to conducive learning.

The average tuition for local students per year is US$318 for undergraduate nursing and US$159 for postgraduate studies. For international students, tuition is averaged at US$5,000 per year for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

4. University of Witwatersrand

The University of Witwatersrand was established in 1922, but its origin can be dated back to 1896. It was initially founded as the South African School of Mines in 1896, which grew tremendously and was given the title of ‘university’, and changed into its current name in 1922. Over the years, the University of Witwatersrand has been a recognized nursing institution in Africa and became known internationally for its excellence in the academe and its extensive research. It was also known as the first university to establish dental education, speech clinic, physio-, and occupational therapy education, as well as the first to establish a blood transfusion service manned by its medical students.

Its College of Nursing is offered under the Faculty of Health Sciences in the School of Therapeutic Sciences. Average tuition costs US$3,200 per year.

5. Badr University

Egypt is a ‘transcontinental’ country that is located in northeast Africa and southwest Asia. The Badr University in Cairo is a young university that was established in 2010, due to the initiative of high school students who proposed to the chairman of CIRA (Cairo for Investment & Real Estate Development) the establishment of a university that embodies the excellence the high school students experienced in their schools. The university was then founded in 2014 and became the first university under CIRA and the largest private university in Egypt that rapidly grew to establish over 25 schools of discipline.

Badr University is known for providing an outstanding nursing program in Africa and also established partnerships with international institutions around the world which improve the quality of education and research integrated into the university. The school of nursing, in particular, is affiliated with the Loma Linda University, and the Texas International Educational Consortium.

The school of nursing is one of the first nursing schools in Egypt and has gained recognition for its excellence in quality care and health promotions. The average tuition per semester is US$1,650 for local students and US$17,500 for international students.


We hope that this article on Best Nursing Schools in Africa was helpful. Check also the Available Programs for International Students to learn more about studying abroad.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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