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

Pursuing a Master’s degree can significantly advance your career, offering specialized knowledge and opening up more opportunities. However, the cost of education is a critical factor for many students. South Africa, known for its diverse culture and rich history, also boasts some of the most affordable and prestigious institutions for higher education. 

In this blog post, we explore into cheap schools and universities in South Africa for Master’s degrees, focusing on their school fees, to help prospective students make an informed decision.

Criteria For Master’s Admission In South African Universities And Schools 

Admission criteria for Master’s programs in South African universities and schools typically involve a combination of academic qualifications, experience, and sometimes specific entrance tests or requirements. Here are the general criteria that prospective students should be aware of:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution, typically in a related field of study. The degree should demonstrate a strong academic record to be competitive in the application process.
  • Academic Transcripts: Detailed transcripts from all previous university-level studies are required. These documents should showcase the applicant’s academic performance and readiness for advanced study.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Most programs ask for two to three letters of recommendation. These should ideally come from academic advisors or professors who are familiar with the applicant’s academic abilities and research potential.
  • Statement of Purpose: A well-crafted statement of purpose that outlines the applicant’s academic and professional objectives, how the program aligns with these objectives, and what they bring to the academic community.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume: A current CV or resume that includes academic achievements, publications (if any), work experience, and any other activities relevant to the field of study.

Applicants are encouraged to check the specific admission requirements on the website of the university or school to which they are applying, as these can vary significantly between institutions and programs.

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

South Africa offers a number of affordable options for students seeking a master’s degree, with many schools charging significantly lower tuition fees than other countries.

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1) University of Cape Town (UCT)

Holding the prestigious position as Africa’s highest-ranked academic institution, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is an attractive option for students seeking a balance between affordability and quality education. Master’s degree candidates at UCT will find the financial requirements to be reasonably accessible, with annual tuition fees estimated to fall between ZAR 20,000 and ZAR 60,000. 

This variance in cost is dependent upon the chosen discipline, accommodating a wide spectrum of academic interests and financial budgets. UCT’s extensive array of program offerings encompasses fields from the Humanities to Engineering and beyond, catering to a diverse student body with varied academic pursuits. The campus not only excels in delivering a robust educational experience but also in fostering an inclusive and dynamic learning environment. 

Estimated Tuition Fee: ZAR 20,000 and ZAR 60,000. 

2) University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)

Renowned for its dynamic approach to education and substantial research output, Wits has carved out a reputation as a leading institution for those aspiring to complete their Master’s degree. The financial commitment for attending Wits is manageable, with annual tuition fees for Master’s programs generally ranging from ZAR 30,000 to ZAR 50,000. This affordability is part of Wits’ commitment to providing accessible, high-quality education.

At Wits, students are thrust into a vibrant academic community that emphasizes critical thinking, research, and real-world application. The university’s extensive program offerings span across various disciplines, including the sciences, humanities, and engineering, ensuring that every student finds a course that aligns with their academic and career aspirations.  

Estimated Tuition Fee: ZAR 30,000 to ZAR 50,000

3) Stellenbosch University

Renowned for its inviting atmosphere and comprehensive support services, the university provides an enriching environment for postgraduate students. For those pursuing a Master’s degree, the financial investment is made more manageable, with tuition fees ranging from ZAR 20,000 to ZAR 40,000 per year. This affordability factor is a significant draw for students both locally and internationally, ensuring access to high-quality education without the burden of excessive debt.

The university prides itself on fostering a close-knit academic community, where students are encouraged to engage with their peers and faculty in a collaborative learning environment.

Estimated Tuition Fee: ZAR 20,000 to ZAR 40,000 per year

4) University of Pretoria (UP)

At the University of Pretoria (UP), aspiring Master’s students find a harmonious balance between affordability and exemplary academic standards. Positioned as one of South Africa’s premier institutions for higher learning, UP makes advanced education accessible with tuition fees for Master’s programs set between ZAR 25,000 and ZAR 45,000 annually.

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This cost-effective approach opens doors for students across a spectrum of disciplines, including its renowned faculties of Law, Veterinary Science, and Engineering.

UP stands out for its commitment to providing an inclusive and supportive learning environment.  

Estimated Tuition Fee: ZAR 25,000 and ZAR 45,000 annually

5) University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

At the University of KwaZulu-Natal, students are welcomed into an environment where education meets diversity and innovation. Known for its vibrant campus life and strong commitment to community service, UKZN is an ideal choice for those pursuing a Master’s degree on a budget.

With tuition fees that span a range from ZAR 20,000 to ZAR 50,000 per year, this institution makes higher education accessible to a broad demographic of students. The cost varies according to the program selected, ensuring that students can find a course that not only meets their academic and professional aspirations but also aligns with their financial capabilities.

Estimated Tuition Fee: ZAR 20,000 to ZAR 50,000 per year


How much is a Master’s degree fee in South Africa?

The cost of a master’s degree in South Africa can vary depending on the university, program, and other factors. On average, tuition fees range from around R100,000 to R500,000 (approximately $5,600 to $28,000) per year. It’s important to note that these figures are only an estimate, and that actual costs may vary.

How much are tuition fees in South Africa for international students?

International students generally pay more than domestic students.  Public universities might charge double the domestic rate, while private universities can have their own fee structures. Be sure to check the specific university website for their tuition fees for international students in your program of interest.

 What is the duration of a Master’s degree in South Africa?

The duration of a Master’s degree in South Africa typically ranges from 1 to 2 years full-time study.  This can vary depending on the program, course load, and whether a thesis or research project is required.

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

The demand for Master’s degrees can fluctuate based on industry needs and job market trends.  Some fields that are consistently in demand include:

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

Which course pays the most in South Africa?

Salaries after a Master’s degree depend on various factors like the specific field, industry, experience, and job location.  However, some Master’s programs tend to lead to higher-paying careers in South Africa, including:

  • Medicine
  • Engineering (Petroleum, Chemical)
  • Data Science
  • Business Administration (MBA)

Remember, choosing a Master’s program should consider both your interest and future career goals, not just potential salary.


If you’re looking for an affordable and high-quality education, South Africa is a great option to consider. With a wide range of universities and programs to choose from, and reasonable tuition fees, it’s a great place to get your master’s degree. The cost of living in South Africa is also relatively low, making it a budget-friendly option for international students. So, if you’re looking for a good value for your money, South Africa is a great choice.

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