Online Universities in South Africa: Distance Learning, Colleges, Courses, Fee

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Are you searching for the best online universities in South Africa? Distance learning has come a long way in the last decade, especially after the pandemic. And it continues to grow in South Africa, allowing students worldwide access to high-quality education offered by the country’s top universities. This blog will tell you all about the online universities in South Africa, including the best institutes and courses for online learning with their tuition fees. We will also look into the available scholarships, general admission requirements, and application process for these universities. Read on to find out!

Percentage of Students enrolled in Distance Education Programs26% (Full-time equivalent)
BenefitsAccessibility, flexibility, lower tuition fees, diverse program options, upskilling for career advancement
Top UniversitiesStellenbosch University, University of Witwatersrand, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of South Africa
Best Online CoursesIT and Digital, Education, and Healthcare
Tuition FeesR31,233 – R68,243 per year (for Bachelors degree)
R51,117 – R70,703 per year (for Masters degree)
R39,432 – R51,415 per year (for PhD)

Why Choose Online Universities in South Africa?

While South Africa started a little late in the online education industry in 2007, the nation has been catching up rapidly with other countries of the world. Apart from the obvious advantage of learning at your own pace, online universities in South Africa provide top-notch courses at the lowest prices. The country is home to some of the world’s top universities, many of which offer online programs delivered by experienced faculty and utilize advanced learning technologies. They even offer blended learning models, combining online learning with campus visits for valuable in-person interaction.

Moreover, SA universities often have expertise in fields relevant to developing and emerging economies, like sustainable development, public health, and social justice. This gives you access to this specialized knowledge and the opportunity to learn from faculty directly engaged in tackling these challenges.

Also Read: Study in South Africa: Application, Colleges, VISA & More

Top Online Universities in South Africa

South Africa has a total of 23 universities, out of which 11 count as traditional institutes, 6 are vocationally oriented and the other 6 offer a blend of the other two learning styles. Many international universities with campuses in the country also provide distance education in South Africa. Let’s take a look at all these universities with their global rankings for 2024:

UniversityQS World Ranking 2024
Stellenbosch University283
University of Witwatersrand=264
University of KwaZulu-Natal621-630
University of South Africa851-900
Milpark Education
Oxbridge Academy
BMT College
Damelin Correspondence College
Regent Business School
Witwatersrand University Online School
University of Johannesburg306
University of Cape Town=173

Best Courses Offered by Online Universities in South Africa

Online universities in South Africa have various courses at undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels to offer. All of them are quite affordable, with a Bachelor’s degree costing R31,233 – R68,243 per year, a Master’s degree ranging from R51,117 – R70,703 per year, and a PhD costing R39,432 – R51,415 per year. 

SubjectsUniversityTuition Fees
Business and Management, IT and Digital, Education, and HealthcareUniversity of South Africa (UNISA)
Management and Leadership, People and Communication, Marketing and Sales, Finance, IT and Digital, and Research ManagementUniversity of WitwatersrandR12,000 – R18,000 
Visionary Leadership, Math, and Financial LiteracyUniversity of Kwazulu NatalR2,200 – R3,030
Education, Public Health, Public Management, Accounting, Human Resources, Finance, and LogisticsUniversity of JohannesburgR180 – R374 per course credit

Several private institutions also provide online distance learning in South Africa. These courses, however, might be a bit pricey compared to the ones offered at public universities:

InstituteCourses OfferedTuition Fees
Milpark EducationDiploma in Business ManagementR33,872 per year
Advanced Diploma in Project ManagementR36,592 per year
Bachelor of Commerce in Financial ManagementR44,448 per year
Oxbridge AcademyNational Diploma in Tourism ManagementR28,000 per year
Bachelor of Education (Foundation Phase)R32,000 per year
Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing)R35,000 per year
BMT CollegeHigher Certificate in Human Resource ManagementR18,000 per year
Diploma in Information TechnologyR22,000 per year
Advanced Diploma in Public Relations ManagementR28,000 per year
Damelin Correspondence CollegeNational Certificate in HospitalityR16,000 per year
Diploma in AccountingR24,000 per year
Bachelor of Business Administration (General)R30,000 per year
Regent Business SchoolPostgraduate Diploma in ManagementR48,000 per year
Master of Business Administration (MBA)R68,000 per year
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)R120,000 per year (part-time)

Also Read: Top Law Universities in South Africa in 2024: Requirements, Cost, How to Apply?

Free Online Degrees in South Africa

Some online universities in South Africa also offer distance learning courses for free. They are as follows:

Stellenbosch UniversitySports Coaching, Futurism and Business, and Teaching
University of Cape Town (UCT)Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science

Admission Requirements

Although online universities in South Africa will each have their own set of admission requirements, here are some general criteria that they must fulfil:

Academic Requirements:

  1. Matriculation Certificate: For most bachelor’s degrees, with excellent scores in specific subjects.
  2. National Senior Certificate (NSC): Newer qualification replacing Matric, similar requirements with possible additional subjects.
  3. Higher Certificates or Diplomas

English Language Requirements:

TestMinimum Score
TOEFL80-104 (for UG courses)105-120 (for PG courses)
IELTS80-104 (for UG courses) and 105-120 (for PG courses)

Documents Required

Also Read: Top Art Universities in South Africa in 2024: Requirements, Fees, Process

How to Apply For Online Universities in South Africa?

Given below are the steps to apply to online universities in South Africa:

  1. Research online universities
  2. Select a program of your choice.
  3. Check the chosen program’s specific entry requirements.
  4. Gather necessary documents.
  5. Write a motivation letter.
  6. Complete and submit the online application form. Also, pay the application fee (if applicable).
  7. You will receive an application confirmation email. Use the applicant portal or contact the admissions office to track the status.
  8. Some programs may have online or telephone interviews. Get ready to discuss your motivation and academic background.

Relevant Reads:

Music Universities in South Africa: Eligibility, Courses, Fees, ScholarshipsHow to Get an Application Fee Waiver?
Here’s a List of Important Documents Required to Study AbroadWhat is a Gap Year? Pros and Cons
How to Find a Pocket-Friendly University?How to Study Abroad Amid the Havoc of Coronavirus?


Q1. Is online learning in South Africa recognized and accredited? 

Ans: Yes, many online universities and programs in South Africa are fully accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), ensuring their qualifications are recognized by employers and other institutions. Look for SAQA accreditation when choosing your program.

Q2. Are there free online university courses in South Africa? 

Ans: While full degree programs typically have fees, several open educational resources (OERs) offer free online courses and learning materials from reputable universities. Explore platforms like OpenCourseware Consortium (OCW) and FutureLearn for SA-based options.

Q3. Does online learning require special skills or technical knowledge? 

Ans: Basic computer literacy and access to reliable internet are essential. Some programs may require familiarity with specific software or learning platforms. Universities often offer resources and support to help students adapt to online learning environments.

We hope that this blog gave you a complete overview of online universities in South Africa in 2024. Subscribe to Leverage Edu to discover more destinations to study abroad. Thank you for reading!

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