Universities in Johannesburg - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in Johannesburg

By Sabrina Collier

Updated July 1, 2022 Updated July 1, 2022

A pleasant climate throughout the year, stunning natural scenery, and an affordable place to live makes Johannesburg a popular location for students.

Johannesburg for students

The largest city in South Africa with over nine million people, Johannesburg is the country’s economic and commercial hub, with a prominent skyline and mining trade.

The city’s higher education system is well-developed, with a range of private and public universities, including the University of the Witwatersrand, one of the most prestigious in the country, ranked third in South Africa.

Although South Africa has 11 official languages, the language of instruction at its universities is usually English.

Best universities in Johannesburg - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 97th

University of Johannesburg (=412th); University of the Witwatersrand (=428th)

More about Johannesburg

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Johannesburg (=412th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student Voice rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Johannesburg

It’s home to two of the best universities in the country

Johannesburg is home to two universities ranking in the top 450 this year: University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg.

There’s plenty to do

Throughout the year there’s plenty of festivals, concerts and shows to enjoy throughout the city. There’s also lots of markets dotted around the city if you’re looking for fresh food and homemade goods. 

It’s one of the most affordable cities in the world

Johannesburg ranks joint 13th for affordability this year with low tuition fees and living costs, making it very popular with students - and one of the most affordable student cities anywhere in the world.

Great weather

Johannesburg boasts nice weather all year round, with an average yearly temperature of around 71 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cost of studying in Johannesburg

Johannesburg achieves a high score for affordability, ranked among the 20 best cities in the world, reflecting its fairly low tuition fees and living costs. Tuition fees in the city average at only US$4,200 per year, which is considerably lower than fellow South African city, Cape Town, where tuition fees cost around US$7,300 per year.

Cost of living in the city isn’t too expensive either. Numbeo estimates that a single person living in Johannesburg will need an average of US$664 per month for living costs in addition to US$465 per month for rent for a one bedroom flat in the city centre.

Life and Culture in Johannesburg

Johannesburg is considered one of the greenest cities in the world, with extensive parks and gardens and an estimated six million trees.

Stunning natural scenery can be found just outside the city, including nature reserves such as Lion Park and Krugersdorp. 50km northwest of the city, you’ll find the Cradle of Humankind, a paleoanthropological complex of limestone caves with a large number of hominin fossils, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Johannesburg offers lots to see and do, with great restaurants, bars and clubs, theatre, music, galleries and museums, and a large collection of public art.

The city would be a good choice for sun-lovers, enjoying a generally temperate and pleasant climate throughout the year.

Although not one of South Africa’s three capitals, it's worth noting that Johannesburg is the seat of the Constitutional Court.

Careers in Johannesburg

Johannesburg is often referred to as the economic and commercial hub of South Africa. The city is home to some of the country’s core industries, including mining, finance and telecommunications.

Those looking to stay in the city after graduation will be pleased to learn that companies in Johannesburg are often looking for skilled workers, particularly in sectors such as finance, engineering, medicine and accounting.

This article was originally published in July 2021 . It was last updated in July 2022

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

+ 10 others
saved this article

+ 11 others saved this article

Explore Events

Get assisted by higher education experts

Our expert teams can help start your academic journey by guiding you through the application process.

Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year