University of South Africa

University of South Africa

name = University of South Africa

established = 1873
type = Public distance education university
staff = 4 000
head_label = Vice-Chancellor & Principal
head = NB Pityana
students = 200 000
city = Pretoria
state = Gauteng
country = South Africa
website =

The University of South Africa (UNISA) is a distance education university, with headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa. With approximately 200,000 enrolled students, it qualifies as one of the World's mega universities.


Founded in 1873 as the University of the Cape of Good Hope, the University of South Africa (or UNISA as it is commonly known) spent most of its early history as an examining agency for Oxford and Cambridge universities and as an incubator from which most other universities in South Africa are descended. In 1946 it was given a new role as a distance education university and today it offers certificate, diploma and degree courses up to doctoral level.

Largely because it was a distance education university, it remained interracial during the years of apartheid in South Africa.

In January 2004 UNISA merged with Technikon SA and incorporated the distance education component of Vista University (VUDEC). The combined institution is still known as the University of South Africa (UNISA ). It is now organised by college and by school; see below.

The University


*Main Campus: Pretoria (Gauteng)
*Provincial Centres: Florida (Gauteng), Durban (KwaZulu-Natal), Cape Town (Western Cape), Polokwane (Limpopo), Nelspruit (Mpumalanga), Mafikeng (North West), Kimberley (Northern Cape), Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape), Bloemfontein (Free State).

tudents and staff

The University currently has some 200 000 students in Southern Africa, other African countries and abroad. Unisa now has a staff component of just over 4 000 people who provide tuition and administrative support to students in South Africa and worldwide.


* [ College of Economic and Management Sciences]
* [ College of Human Sciences]
* [ College of Law]
* [ College of Science, Engineering and Technology]
* [ College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences]
* [ Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL)]

Other institutes

* [ Centre for African Renaissance Studies (CARS)]

Distance education at UNISA


Unisa received a Royal Charter in 1877. It operates under the "University of South Africa Act" (No. 19 of 1959), and is accredited by the South African Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education (CHE). Its qualifications (including those of the SBL) are registered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Internationally, Unisa is listed in the "Commonwealth Universities Handbook" of 1999 and also in the "International Handbook of Universities" of 1998.

On 12 January 2002 UNISA was granted full institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). The accreditation lapsed in March, 2007, and UNISA did not pursue renewal.

Entrance requirements

Students need a school-leaving qualification that would entitle them to enter a university or college in their own country. However, Unisa also offers [ access courses] to those who have completed their schooling but without university matriculation. Access course programmes are available for students who have a national certificate (matric without university entrance). If successful, students can study further for a degree.


Market research has shown that Unisa is rated as one of the top universities in South Africa (2001) [] - Unisa qualifications are sought after in the marketplace.
*Courses are offered at one-quarter to one-third the price of residential universities;
*Courses are accessible as students who do not have a university entrance matric can register for UNISA's access programme;
*Courses are flexible, because students can plan their studies to fit into their lifestyles;
*The qualifications are credible, because of the international recognition afforded its qualifications.


The University of South Africa has been promoting and promulgating culture in all its manifestations since its inception in 1873. Apart from the academic courses offered by UNISA's College of Humanities, practical language, art and music skills have been actively pursued through the setting of curricula and the implementation of special courses and examinations.

* [ african centre for arts, culture and heritage studies]
* [ museum of anthropology and archaeology]
* [ department of music]
* [ unisa art gallery]
* [ unisa music foundation]
* [ little theatre]

UNISA Foundation

The Unisa Foundation was established in 1966 and now has approximately 280 active donors, many of them individual alumni with the desire to give back to the communities that nurtured them and corporate giants, South African and international, with a strong sense of social responsibility. Equally vital is the role played by the Board of Trustees, whose members not only oversee the affairs of the Unisa Foundation but who also lend the weight of their professional and personal reputations in a drive to reach potential donors, without financial reward to themselves.

Based at Unisa's main campus in Muckleneuck, Pretoria, the Foundation has Fundraising and Development Divisions in Gauteng, the Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. The Fundraising and Development Divisions support the smooth running of projects being undertaken in their regions while raising additional funding for local community projects.

Vice-Chancellors and Principals

Notable alumni (students and faculty)

ee also

*List of universities in South Africa

External links

The University

* [ The University of South Africa website]
* [,28.199887&spn=0.007410,0.010040&t=k&hl=en Google Map of Unisa]
* [ Open Street Map]

* [ - the unofficial Unisa website for students and by students of the University of South Africa]

International Cooperation

* [ The Network for Education and Research in Europe]
* [ Masterstudium in Praktischer Theologie - Theologisches Seminar Adelshofen, Germany] "'
*Thomas Edison State College []
*Athabasca University []

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