According to a report from a Stats SA Community Survey, Business, Economics and Health are South Africa’s most popular university fields, with Engineering sitting firmly in fourth place. 

A tough subject that demands a lot from a student, engineering is a field that combines technical understanding with passion and drive and results in a career that will be both professionally and financially rewarding. 

The engineering field is a diverse one, allowing students with a variety of interests to fully immerse themselves in a sector that will bring them real fulfilment and which will one day have them be part of something far bigger than themselves. 

For South African engineering students who wish to make a difference in their own country, engineering will open a world of opportunity to advance the nation, but for those who want prosperity, having an education in engineering will open them to the world. 

Determining the Top Universities in SA 

South African universities remain revered institutions of knowledge. 

With many, like the University of Cape Town and the University of Witwatersrand, ranked among the best in the world, according to Webometrics, those wishing to get into the field of engineering will be able to find a suitable university without needing to travel abroad. 

The way in which universities are ranked by Webometrics, an institution that conducted one of the most recent looks into the best universities in the world, considers several factors, such as access to web content from the university and the quality and quantity thereof. 

One of the most important factors of the rankings was that they were not just based on the university’s websites, but also their mission and, perhaps more importantly, their research mission. 

The report covered over 31,000 institutions globally. 8 South African universities are featured in the top 1000, and many of these offer an excellent engineering programme selection.

The Top 5 Best Universities for Engineering in South Africa


The site has a plethora of information about South Africa’s best universities to study engineering. Their rankings are based on  factors like graphs, citations and research performance. 

Not only do these institutions of higher learning mentioned in this top 5 offer students a globally recognised, and highly sought-after engineering degree, but they also offer students an overall exceptional tertiary experience. 

  • University of Cape Town – Ranked #2 in Africa and #441 in the world.

The University of Cape Town is well-known for its strict academic performance. Attracting and accepting only the finest South African minds, as well as those from the international community, attending UCT to study engineering is a prestige that comes with great accolades. 

The university has an intense selection of engineering degrees covering every aspect of the field, from the popular Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering to Bachelor of Science in Mechatronics.

  • University of the Witwatersrand – Ranked #32 in Africa and #504 in the world.

Wits is a world-famous institution and its faculty of engineering boasts the highest number of professorships. The institution provides society with entrepreneurial, well-educated, talented professionals, according to the faculty website. 

At Wits, potential engineering students will find rigorous engineering programmes, offering a wide variety of degrees, including the Bachelor of Engineering Science in Biomedical Engineering BEngSc (BME), and BSc (Eng) in Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and more. 

  • University of Pretoria – Ranked #4 in Africa and #532 in the world.

UP, affectionately known as Tuks by its alma mater, offers its potential engineering students a selection of degree programmes which are accredited by statutory and professional bodies at both the national and international levels. 

Its degree programmes include Industrial Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mining Engineering, to name a few. 

  • Stellenbosch University  – Ranked #5 in Africa and #545 in the world.

Students considering pursuing a degree in engineering at Maties can look forward to joining the ranks of the university’s world-class engineering alma mater. The university’s engineering faculty webpage proudly states that their engineering graduates are contributing to the country’s development and the improvement of the lives of South Africans. 

The engineering departments at the University of Stellenbosch include Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Industrial Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. 

  • North West University –  Ranked #15 in Africa and #1059 in the world.

Based in beautiful Potchefstroom,  NWU  is a fine institution with a robust engineering faculty that promises the option of 8 areas of specialisation, including Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Computer and Electronic Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electromechanical Engineering, Industrial Engineering, and Nuclear Engineering. 

Typically, a conventional bachelor’s degree will take 4 years to complete, regardless of the institution chosen. Students who wish to further their education will have Postgraduate options, such as Master’s and Doctoral Qualifications, available to them at NWU. 

Extra Curricular Considerations 

The university experience is a pivotal time in a student’s life. When selecting a university, it is necessary to look at the type of support and developmental structures in place. 

Finding additional extra academic programmes, whether they support the engineering degree or are just undertaken as an interest, can support personal growth by growing the confidence of the student and even giving them certain life or business skills, such as budgeting, personal planning, or effective communication. 

The same can be said of partaking in extracurricular activities, of which there are many, such as academic clubs, volunteering, and, of course, sports. 

Additional activities undertaken while at university should not be seen as a frivolous waste of time, but rather as something that will look advantageous on one’s curriculum vitae. Potential employers and even after varsity internship providers will use these additional, personal growth endeavours to find out more about the character of the applicant. 

Your Future is in Great Hands 

Qualifying as an Engineer is one of the greatest achievements you will have in your professional life. This skill is a noble one, which can be used to give back to your community, whether it is via current initiatives or ones that you create later on. 

Whether you are studying Mechanical  Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Industrial Engineering, or walking a more specialised path, your skills will be highly desirable and much needed. 

Whichever of these top 5 universities you choose, you will be provided with the knowledge you need to pursue the life you’ve always wanted.