University of South Africa (UNISA)

3.8 out of 5 (618 ratings / 564 reviews) Nelspruit, South Africa
Founded in 1873 as the University of the Cape of Good Hope, the institution became the first public university in the world to teach exclusively by means of distance education in 1946. Throughout the years, Unisa was perhaps the only university in South Africa to have provided all people with access to education, irrespective of race, colour or creed. This vibrant past is mirrored in our rich history, more particularly our massive and impressive database of alumni, some of whom are to be found in the most senior levels of society across the world.

Master's Programmes

Agriculture & Forestry (2)
Arts, Design & Architecture (2)
Medicine & Health (2)
Engineering & Technology (1)



Explore the more than 140 years of Unisa’s existence and celebrate our decades of service to students in South Africa and beyond. Learn more about Unisa’s evolution from a small, colonial examining body into one of the world’s largest open distance learning institutions — an exuberantly African global leaders.


The three core business areas of Unisa are teaching, research and community engagement. Our world-class research is spearheaded by the Research and Innovation portfolio and community engagement by our Community Engagement and Outreach Policy. We also place great importance on the celebration and promotion of our African arts and culture through various endeavours.


Offering study opportunities to more than 400 000 students from across South Africa, Africa and other parts of the world, Unisa offers a diverse choice of study fields at levels from certificate to degree. The university is considered South Africa’s most productive* accounting for 12.8% of all degrees conferred by the country’s 23 public universities and universities of technology.

Global Student Satisfaction Awards 2021

GSSA 2021

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University Ranking

Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University
601 200
ARWU World University rankings is the first world university ranking. It ranks the world's top 1000 colleges and universities based on objective indicator.
World University Rankings by Times Higher Education
801 200
World University Rankings is a vital resource that provides the definitive list of the world's best universities.
Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News & World Report
921 30
Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News & World Report presents all the top universities from the U.S. and 60 other countries around the world.


Student services

An unparalleled range of study choices is offered, ranging from short courses and certificate programmes to three-and four-year degrees and diplomas, to over 400 000 current students. As one of the leading research institutions on the continent, the research efforts have won us numerous awards, recognitions and honours.

Student Reviews

Unisa is a excellent University
Anonymous rated 4 out of 5 stars

Long distance learning requires an individual to be disciplined and to aim higher. Learning away from lectures is difficult but if you receive adequate attention from your lectures surely you'll Excell in your academics .

The best institution for the mature
Anonymous rated 5 out of 5 stars

The university of South Africa taught me to be determined and independent. The lecturers are very supportive and always ready to assist.I can recommend Unisa to anyone.

Candlelight & Generators
Anonymous rated 2 out of 5 stars

The problems at this university vary from slow administration to poor communication or lack thereof. These problems are magnified by the self study and online nature of the university, meaning that when our electricity provider decides to introduce rolling blackouts the electricity which we use to power the devices that we use to do assignments and study from are no longer...

Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, South Africa

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