Studying computer science, by itself, is already a great challenge for those aspiring to have a lucrative career in the computer industry. You’ll need to have a fundamental knowledge of 21st-century technologies, as well as a passion for solving problems and looking at the world logically.

An even better way to complete a degree in Computer Science is to study abroad. Fortunately, universities in Africa offer degree programs ranging from undergraduate to Ph.D. With a lot to choose from, make sure to select only from the top Computer Science universities in South Africa.

Top Schools Offering Computer Science in South Africa

1. University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town is the best computer science university in South Africa. The university is the oldest in the country, having been built in 1829 in its former name, South African College. Since then, it has established six faculties housed in several campuses. The main campus, Upper Campus, is the main teaching ground and has the Faculty of Science. The faculty of Science is where the Computer Science program is offered.

You can choose from its degree programs depending on your qualifications. The bachelor’s program is a three-year full-time program where you’ll learn about writing computer programs and developing algorithmic solutions to classical and contemporary problems. Meanwhile, the Master’s program requires a two-year full-time study.

Additionally, you can either take a coursework-dissertation Master’s program or a dissertation-only program. If you opt for the former, you’ll need to complete the coursework in your first year and do a mini-dissertation in your second year. On the other hand, the dissertation-only program is pretty much what its name is. Also, it makes an excellent preparation for a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

2. University of Pretoria

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

The University of Pretoria is among the best universities that offer Computer Science degree programs in South Africa. Established in 1908, the university started as a Johannesburg campus of the Transvaal University College. From its first 32 students, the university has grown to be the academic home of over 53,000 students. It has also built seven campuses across 1190-hectare land.

There are degree programs available at the University of Pretoria. You can start your Computer Science career with a bachelor’s degree. It is a full-time three-year program taught primarily in English. Some of the topics you’ll learn here are operating systems, database systems, and programming languages. At the end of your studies, you’ll be equipped to start in the IT sector.

If you’re looking to reach greater heights in your career, a master’s degree is your next best step. The University of Pretoria master’s program includes research work in a recommended focus area. Unlike with the bachelor’s program, you don’t need to study this full-time. This can also help you proceed to a Ph.D. program, which is also research-driven and requires at least two years of study duration.

3. Stellenbosch University

Another excellent institution to complete your Computer Science degree is Stellenbosch University. Although officially established in 1918, the university can trace back its roots to the 1870s, when five students initially studied there. Over the years, the university has had significant changes, such as using English as the main language of instruction from the previous Afrikaans. It also has over 30,000 students across its 10 facilities and more than 40 research centers.

Like the other universities in South Africa that offer Computer Science degrees, Stellenbosch University offers bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. The bachelor’s or undergraduate program consists of three-year full-time studies that tackle industry-relevant topics, such as Computer Networks, Program Design, and Machine Learning.

As for the master’s program, you’ll need to do most research work in suggested fields, such as Automata Theory, Artificial Intelligence, and Broadband and Mobile Networks. Similarly, Ph.D. studies at Stellenbosch University focus on research in such areas. However, the university is quite selective when it comes to choosing its doctorate candidates.

4. University of Kwazulu-Natal

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

The University of Kwazulu-Natal is an excellent computer science university in South Africa that was established in 2004 after the merging of the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville. It has five campuses across the province of Kwazulu-Natal that houses four colleges and several academic divisions. There are over 36,000 students in this university and more than 1,300 academic staff.

Computer Science is one of its Bachelor of Science programs and the study duration lasts for three years full-time. After completing your undergraduate studies, you can start a career in the computer and work as a programmer, software developer, or information security analyst. The bachelor’s program is also a prerequisite to graduate studies, such as a Master of Science or a Ph.D

Both master’s and Ph.D. programs are research-focused and require at least one year of study. Since this is non-modular, you don’t need to take this full-time. Considering that, a master’s degree offers you an excellent opportunity to increase your employability potential and expertise in the industry. And if you enjoy discovering new things and aspire to make world-changing breakthroughs, a Ph.D. can help you achieve that.

5. Nelson Mandela University

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

Nelson Mandela University opened in 2005 under its former name, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. However, its academic history can be traced back to the 1880s, when the institution was the Port Elizabeth Art School. Now, this top computer science university in South Africa has seven campuses that offer vocational and professional courses, including Computer Science degrees. It has over 28,000 students and more than 4,000 academic staff.

The Computer Science undergraduate program in this university requires three years of full-time study. The first year of your studies in the bachelor’s program focuses on Applied Mathematics and the fundamentals of Computer Science. As you progress in the program, you’ll learn more about other modules, such as Advanced Programming, User Interface Design, and Multimedia Systems.

Meanwhile, the Master’s program at the university requires at least one year of study duration and usually a dissertation at the end. This can help you progress in your career as a Computer Scientist, Website Designer, or Multimedia Practitioner. While many look forward to an exciting industry career, some might choose research, making a Ph.D. degree an absolute choice.


We hope that this article on the Best Universities for Computer Science in South Africa was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Computer Science Programs for International Students!

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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