Considered a mega university because of its large student intake, the University of South Africa (Unisa) is home to more than 300,000 students. It is the largest open distance learning institution in Africa and the oldest dedicated distance education university in the world.
Around a third of all higher education students in South Africa attend Unisa and its international students hail from over 130 different countries.
Unisa’s history dates back to 1873 when it was established as the University of the Cape of Good Hope. In 1946 it officially became a distance university and today it has seven regional centres across South Africa, in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal, Limpopo Province, Midlands, Mpumalanga, and Western Cape.
The university comprises an additional eight colleges in Accounting Sciences, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Education, Economic and Management Sciences, Graduate Studies, Human Sciences, Law, Science, Engineering and Technology, and its Graduate School of Business Leadership.
Courses offered by Unisa include everything from short, career-oriented professional courses to formal degree programmes of three- and four-years. On the postgraduate side of the spectrum, students can take courses up to doctoral level.
Located in Pretoria, Unisa’s main Muckleneuk Campus acts as a major landmark in the South African capital. Its Sunnyside Campus acts as the main area of student activity while, in Johannesburg, the Florida Campus is the university’s science hub with 12 buildings, a library, two auditoriums and large study area. The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences as well as some departments of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology are also housed here.
Unisa also places a great emphasis on celebrating and promoting African arts and culture through vehicles such as the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum, Music Directorate and Little Theatre.
The University of Alcalá (UAH) is a public university located in Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, a Unesco world heritage site and one of the longest standing European universities, dating back to 1293.