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Cheap Schools and Universities In South Africa for Master’s Degrees and Their School Fees

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South Africa is an increasingly popular destination for international students looking to study abroad, and for good reason. Not only is it an affordable option, with tuition fees typically much lower than in other countries, but it also offers a diverse and vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 

There is a range of excellent universities to choose from, offering a wide variety of master’s degree programs. South Africa truly has something to offer everyone, from world-class education to world-class adventure.

Requirements For Master’s Degree Programs In South Africa  

Below is a list of requirements to be enrolled for master’s degree programs in South Africa.

  • A completed bachelor’s degree with a minimum level of achievement, typically an upper second-class honors or its international equivalent.
  • Proof of English proficiency through tests such as TOEFL or IELTS, if English is not your first language.
  • A detailed curriculum vitae or resume showcasing any relevant work experience, skills, and achievements.
  • Academic transcripts and certificates from all previously attended institutions.
  • A statement of purpose or a motivational letter, outlining your reasons for choosing the specific program and how it aligns with your career goals.
  • Two to three letters of recommendation from former professors or professional supervisors.
  • Some programs may require a portfolio of work or a research proposal, especially for fields such as Art, Design, Architecture, or Ph.D. studies.

Read Also: Fully Funded Scholarships in USA for International Students 2024/2025

Cheap Schools and Universities In South Africa for Master’s Degrees and Their School Fees

If you will like to pursue your master’s degree in South Africa, below is a list of Cheap Schools and Universities In South Africa for Master’s Degrees and Their School Fees

1) University of South Africa (UNISA)

UNISA stands out as a global leader in open distance learning, attracting students who require flexibility in their study schedules. With an impressive array of Master’s degree offerings in key areas such as Education, Law, and Business Leadership, it provides an accessible route for further education. 

Remarkably, the starting annual fees for Master’s programs are around ZAR 15,000 (approximately $1,000 USD), positioning UNISA as a notably budget-friendly option for postgraduate studies. This approach to education not only caters to the financial constraints of students but also ensures that quality learning is within reach, making it a prime choice for those aspiring to advance their careers through higher education.

  • Estimated Tuition Fees: ZAR 15,000 (approximately USD 1,000)

2) University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

The University of the Witwatersrand, commonly referred to as Wits, is nestled in the heart of Johannesburg and is celebrated for its commitment to research excellence and a dynamic student experience. 

Wits hosts a diverse range of Master’s programs across several disciplines, including the Health Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering and the Built Environment. Known for its rigorous academic environment and extensive research opportunities, Wits attracts students who are eager to immerse themselves in cutting-edge studies. With average annual tuition fees for a Master’s degree approximating ZAR 45,000 (USD 3,000), it remains an attractive option for those seeking quality education at a reasonable cost.

  • Estimated Tuition Fees: ZAR 45,000 (USD 3,000)

3) University of Pretoria

Nestled in the vibrant heart of South Africa, the University of Pretoria stands as a beacon of academic excellence and innovation. With its rich history and expansive campus, it offers a diverse selection of Master’s degree programs spanning Engineering, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, and the Humanities. 

Recognized for its rigorous curriculum and state-of-the-art research facilities, the university draws in students seeking to push the boundaries of knowledge and discovery. Tuition for these transformative programs begins at an accessible rate of around ZAR 20,000 (USD 1,350) annually, presenting a financially viable pathway for aspiring postgraduates dedicated to furthering their academic journey.

Estimated Tuition Fees:  ZAR 20,000 (USD 1,350) 

4) University of Johannesburg (UJ)

The University of Johannesburg, affectionately known as UJ, presents a lively and inclusive environment, teeming with opportunities for ambitious students. Offering a spectrum of competitively priced Master’s degree programs, it stands out for its robust focus on fostering research and innovation. Students can delve into an array of disciplines within the faculties of Art, Design and Architecture, Education, and Health Sciences, among others. 

With program fees commencing at roughly ZAR 25,000 (USD 1,700) annually, UJ embodies an appealing blend of affordability and academic excellence. This institution is tailored for those eager to explore new academic heights within a stimulating and supportive community.

  • Estimated Tuition Fees:  ZAR 25,000 (USD 1,700)

5) North-West University (NWU)

North-West University stands as a prime destination for students prioritizing both academic quality and cost-effectiveness. With a welcoming campus vibe and robust support networks, NWU fosters an environment conducive to success. 

The university’s Master’s degree programs span various disciplines, including Economic and Management Sciences, Engineering, and Health Sciences, catering to a wide range of interests and career paths. Noteworthy is its affordability, with program fees starting at just around ZAR 18,000 (USD 1,200) annually. This blend of comprehensive educational offerings and reasonable tuition rates makes NWU a compelling choice for those aiming to elevate their academic and professional trajectories without the financial strain typically associated with postgraduate studies.

Estimated Tuition Fees:  ZAR 18,000 (USD 1,200)


How much does a Master’s degree cost in South Africa?

The cost of a Master’s degree in South Africa varies depending on several factors:

  • Public vs. Private Universities: Public universities are generally much cheaper, with tuition fees ranging from R25,000 to R77,000 (US$1,640 to US$5,050) per year. Private universities can be significantly more expensive, sometimes exceeding R190,000 (US$12,400) annually.
  • Program Type: Specialized fields like MBAs or medicine often have higher fees.
  • University’s Prestige: More prestigious universities may have slightly higher costs.

 Which is the cheapest university in South Africa?

It’s difficult to pinpoint a single “cheapest” university because fees can vary by program. However, some universities are known for generally lower costs. Consider researching institutions like:

  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • North-West University (NWU)
  • University of Johannesburg

Which master’s degree is most in demand in South Africa?

Demand can fluctuate, but some Master’s degrees are consistently sought-after in South Africa, including:

  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Data Science
  • Engineering (various specializations)
  • Information Technology (IT)
  • Education

Researching the job market and in-demand skills can be helpful when choosing a Master’s program.

How much is the tuition fee for international students at the University of South Africa (UNISA)?

UNISA tuition fees vary depending on the program, but as a public university, they are generally affordable.  Expect fees to fall within the range mentioned in answer #1 (R25,000 to R77,000 per year).  Always check the official UNISA website for the latest fee information for your specific program: https://www.unisa.ac.za/

Is South Africa cheap for international students?

Compared to some other developed countries, South Africa can be a more affordable option for international students, especially regarding tuition fees at public universities. However, factor in living costs like accommodation, food, and transportation when evaluating affordability.


In conclusion, South Africa offers a great value for money for international students seeking a master’s degree. With tuition fees that are much lower than in other parts of the world, and an impressive range of top-quality universities to choose from, South Africa is an excellent choice for those looking to further their education without breaking the bank. The country also has a great deal to offer in terms of culture and lifestyle, making it a very attractive option for many international students.

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