University of KwaZulu-Natal

World University Rankings 2024
Young University Rankings 2023
SSA University Rankings 2023
University Road, Private Bag X 54001, Westville, Durban, 4000, South Africa


Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) stands tall as a beacon of African scholarship. With five sprawling campuses, UKZN has carved a name for itself as one of the top universities in South Africa and, indeed, the African continent.

Since its formation in 2004 through the merger of the University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville, UKZN has grown to become the most transformed university in the country. The student body at UKZN is a true reflection of South Africa's diverse demographics, thanks to the university's steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.

Despite the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, UKZN has continued to attract a growing number of international students. In 2022, the university had approximately 1500 international students enrolled, a testament to its reputation as a premier institution of African scholarship.

UKZN's commitment to student success extends beyond academics, as the university is responsive to the needs of its students and the communities around it.

Over the years, UKZN has made a lasting impact on the lives of countless students from underprivileged backgrounds, helping them progress to prominent roles in both the private and public sectors. The university provides comprehensive financial aid and support, including social and psychological assistance, to help these students succeed in their studies.

UKZN is a research-led institution and home to some of the world's leading researchers in various fields. The university's researchers continue to produce groundbreaking work that pushes the boundaries of knowledge and influences the world.

UKZN researchers have been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19, producing research that has shaped the global response to the pandemic.

The university's research prowess has earned it international recognition.

In the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) research output of 2020, the University outperformed all other South African institutions.

In 2021, UKZN had more than 300 National Research Foundation-rated (NRF-rated) researchers, including three A1 and five A2 NRF-rated researchers and six B1, 19 B2 and 17 B3 NRF-rated researchers. In the C-category, the University had 34 C1, 119 C2 and 64 C3 NRF-rated researchers, while there was one P1-rated researcher and 39 Y-rated researchers.

The University’s dedication to excellence has not gone unnoticed, as it continued to be ranked among the top four universities in South Africa by prestigious international rankings such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Centre for World University Rankings. In 2022, the Times Higher Education rankings placed UKZN fourth in South Africa and among the top 500 universities in the world.

In addition to its academic achievements, UKZN is also committed to community engagement, as it runs several programmes that target underprivileged communities. The university has rolled out over 1200 community outreach projects to date, reaching over 500,000 beneficiaries and inspiring servant citizenry.

UKZN's facilities are second to none, as it boasts world-class research and teaching, including state-of-the-art lecture halls, computer labs, and libraries.

The university's library provides students access to over 1.4 million print and electronic resources, including journals, books, theses, reports, audio-visual materials, and electronic databases.

UKZN has 68 research centres and units across four colleges: the College of Humanities, College of Law and Management Studies, College of Agriculture, Engineering, and Science, and College of Health Sciences. Some of the top research centres and units include the African Centre for Crop Improvement, African Centre for Food Security, Astrophysics Research Centre, National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Science (NITheCS), Aerospace Systems Research Institute, Centre for Water Resources Research, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Research and Development, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa, African Health Research Institute, Centre for Rural Health, KZN Research Innovation & Sequencing Platform, Centre for Creative Arts, DST-NRF Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Centre for African Literary Studies, Sinomlando Centre for oral history and Memory in Africa, Ujamaa Centre for Community Development and Research, Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division (HEARD), and the recently established Aerotropolis Institute Africa (AIA).

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Why choose UKZN?

UKZN has an international reputation for academic excellence, outstanding research output and African scholarship. We have links with over 250 international institutions, which facilitate ongoing collaborative academic partnerships.

UKZN is able to offer an exceptionally wide range of exciting and innovative multi-disciplinary courses that will broaden perspectives, foster a capacity for independent critical thinking, and provide intellectual tools to develop your mind, while at the same time enhancing your career opportunities in the local and global marketplace.

The University strives to provide an enabling environment for all its students so as to ensure their individual intellectual development, while at the same time provide holistic education which promotes an awareness of social responsibility and sound ethical practice in a diverse society.

And of course not all learning takes place in the lecture theater. UKZN offers extensive sporting, cultural and extramural activities.

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At UKZN, we are passionate about teaching and learning. Our motto ‘Every Student Matters’, transcends the social, cultural and academic discourse across disciplines. The University encourages and embraces diversity in all facets of student experience.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal Teaching & Learning Office (UTLO) is tasked with the responsibility of providing leadership in all areas of teaching and learning and institutional research to realize the University's vision, mission and strategic plan. In fulfilling its mandate, the UTLO seeks to collaborate with academics, researchers and students to create supportive, adaptable and innovative learning environments in which outstanding teaching at all levels is nurtured, recognized and rewarded.

As one of South Africa’s pre-eminent research institutions, UKZN provides a dynamic research and innovation environment to flourish as a researcher.

Research focus areas include: HIV/AIDS, TB and Health PromotionSocial Development and Economic StudiesWater, Environment and BiodiversityBiotechnologyAgriculture and Food securityEnergy and Technology for Sustainable DevelopmentGender, Race and Identity StudiesIndigenous Knowledge Systems; and Maritime Studies

Research Office:

UKZN scientists play an integral role in the global fight against HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis. Internationally recognised research centres are located at UKZN.

UKZN boasts 10 prestigious South African Science and Technology Research Chairs that range from Quantum Information Processing to Gravitating Systems – placing us fourth in the country for the number of such Chairs. UKZN boasts 6 NRF “A” Rated researchers – the fifth highest in the country.

The University has a reputation for academic excellence. A recent ten year analysis by Thomson Reuters using the “InCites” international research analysis tool has rated mathematics research at UKZN number one in the country. According to the report of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DoHET) on the 2012 Institutional Research Publications Outputs, UKZN produced 1,424.22 publications units, which was the highest of the 23 publicly funded universities in South Africa.

Explore rankings data for University of KwaZulu-Natal

All ranked institutions have an overall score and 4 pillar scores. However for each pillar, only institutions ranked in the top 500 overall or the top 500 in this pillar have a publicly visible score

Key statistics

  • 27.6
    No. of students per staff
  • 2%
    Percentage of International Students
  • 60 : 40
    Student Ratio of Females to Males
  • 24%
    Proportion of ISR Publication
  • 33,039
    Number of FTE Students
Based on data collected for the (1) 2024 World University Rankings


Subjects taught at University of KwaZulu-Natal

  • Arts & humanities

    • Art, Performing Arts & Design
    • History, Philosophy & Theology
    • Architecture
    • Languages, Literature & Linguistics
  • Engineering & technology

    • Chemical Engineering
    • Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
    • Civil Engineering
    • Electrical & Electronic Engineering
  • Law

    • Law
  • Computer science

    • Computer Science
  • Life sciences

    • Biological Sciences
    • Sport Science
    • Agriculture & Forestry
  • Social sciences

    • Geography
    • Communication & Media Studies
    • Sociology
    • Politics & International Studies (incl Development Studies)
  • Physical sciences

    • Geology, Environmental, Earth & Marine Sciences
    • Physics & Astronomy
    • Mathematics & Statistics
    • Chemistry
  • Education

    • Education
  • Clinical, pre-clinical & health

    • Medicine & Dentistry
    • Other Health
  • Business & economics

    • Accounting & Finance
    • Business & Management
    • Economics & Econometrics
  • Psychology

    • Psychology