There are many students in South Africa who are very interested in studying arts, but they have a problem selecting the best universities to attend. Luckily, there are many great institutions that offer these art programs and degrees.

Our editorial team has compiled a detailed list of the best art universities in South Africa so you can find the right one for you.

There are also factors to consider when at the right university, such as the size of the campus, the teacher’s experience, the location of the school, your desired major, etc.

And to help you find the right fit, this list of the top art schools in South Africa will help you evaluate your options and pick the school that’s best for you!

But before that, let us answer some of the related questions we often get;

What can you do with an art degree in South Africa?

You can really explore careers with an art degree you got from any of the art colleges in South Africa, visual arts degree prepares graduates to follow careers such as;

  • Cartoonists
  • Illustrators
  • Industrial designers and more.

Can you teach with a Bachelor of Arts degree in South Africa?

Yes, you can, when you get a Bachelor of Arts degree from any of the art colleges in South Africa, you can further your education to get a Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) which will qualify you to teach.

List of the Best Art Universities in South Africa

  • Rhodes University
  • Michaelis School of Fine Art
  • University of Cape Town
  • Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)
  • Durban University of Technology (DUT)
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)
  • Northwest University (NWU)
  • Walter Sisulu University (WSU)
  • Technikon SA/Pretoria Technikon/Rand Afrikaans University (RAU)

Rhodes University

The first on our list of art colleges in South Africa is Rhodes University, this is a public university located in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape Province.

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This educational institution was founded in 1904 as Rhodes College and was originally designed to train teachers for secondary schools, who were needed by various British colonies at that time.

It later became an extension of Oxford University under the name Rhodes University College and then became an independent university college in 1922.

The institution began offering liberal arts courses and has been ranked among the top universities in South Africa.


Michaelis School of Fine Art

As the name implies, Michaelis School of Fine Art has been voted as one of top fine art schools in South Africa and internationally.

With a strong track record of academic excellence, Michaelis is widely recognized as a specialist and pioneer in fine art education.


University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is home to one of the art schools in South Africa that has an impressive 3.2:1 student-to-faculty ratio.

The school offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) with two separate streams;

  • Fine Art or
  • Fine Art Education

At the University of Cape Town, you will have the opportunity to learn from experienced and renowned artists who take part in workshops on campus throughout various semesters.

Of all education providers on our list, Cape Town has achieved the best results academically outshining Rhodes University which is also one of the top art universities in South Africa.


Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)

If you are searching for some of the best art universities in Pretoria, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) is a good recommendation for you.

This school was established as a result of a merger of Pretoria Technikon, Pretoria Technical College, and some additional schools, today, it is one of the largest comprehensive universities in South Africa with over 150 000 students.

The Tshwane University of Technology was ranked 201-250 on the QS World University Rankings in 2010 by Subject:

  • Architecture and
  • Built Environment

And from a recent survey, the Architectural department has been rated as number one out of 15 similar institutions internationally and number two nationally among 25 related institutions.

No wonder they are considered top performing art schools in South Africa!


University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

The University of KwaZulu-Natal which is famously known as (UKZN) is one of the art colleges in South Africa, it was established in 2004.

The University is located at four locations namely;

  • Pietermaritzburg
  • Durban
  • Westville and
  • IKwaMashu

Graduates of this university can receive a B.Sc., B.Tech., M.Sc., LLB, MBA, and Ph.D. among others. They are considered one of the Top art universities in South Africa

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Durban University of Technology (DUT)

The Durban University of Technology (DUT) is a diverse institution, with many different offerings and programs.

There are several pathways that students can follow; some programs require prior academic or work experience and others do not.

Although it is considered one of the top art universities in South Africa, there are many other disciplines to explore.


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) was named after one of our greatest heroes, Nelson Mandela.

The university is home to many performing art schools in South Africa and offers five bachelor’s degrees, four honors degrees, and two postgraduate degrees. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) majors on;

  • Arts
  • Culture and
  • Development

You can also get programs like science, engineering, and technology, originally it was just going to be a school for performing arts but later grew into something bigger with other majors available.


Northwest University (NWU)

The best performing art schools in South Africa are part of a national university system that runs from grade 8 to grade 12, or lower secondary (grades 8 to 10), followed by high school (grades 11 and 12).

If you have a passion for contemporary performing arts, there’s no better place than Northwest University (NWU) where you can study;

  • Directing
  • Theater design
  • Film and television
  • Production and performance management

NWU is one of only two universities in SA to offer a specialist bachelor’s degree in acting.

These courses provide world-class training with accredited local and international guest lecturers who have had years of experience working on stage and screen; they also include numerous workshops with professional actors.


Walter Sisulu University (WSU)

Walter Sisulu University is one of the art colleges in South Africa and is located in the Eastern Cape, a province of South Africa.

It focuses mainly on fine arts and graphic design studies. WSU was established in 1985.

The university has four campuses; two of which are situated in Mthatha while another campus is based in Addo, Queenstown, and Port Elizabeth as well.

Statistics have shown that a large percentage of these students, about 50% study at WSU’s Port Elizabeth campus whereas others study at its other three campuses across Eastern Cape Province.

When it comes to quality education for Art degrees, WSU stands out as one of the top ten art universities in South Africa today.


Technikon SA/Pretoria Technikon/Rand Afrikaans University (RAU)

These three institutions are located in Pretoria and collectively form one of only three art schools in South Africa.

Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) merges two distinct campuses but was formed as one university under SA’s new concept of merging previously independent entities into single entities.

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Technikon SA operates on a separate campus from that of RAU and is accredited by both City & Guilds/South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

With high marks across all metrics and especially high marks for those interested in Game Design or Industrial Art/Design, Technikon SA/Pretoria Technikon/RAU earns its place as our number ten choice for art universities in South Africa.


Other Art Schools In South Africa

  • The Fine Arts Workshop
  • Ruth Prowse School of Art
  • Lillian Gray Art School
  • University of Stellenbosch
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • University of the Free State
  • University of the Western Cape
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • University of Fort Hare
  • University of Zululand
  • University of Venda
  • University of Limpopo

Best Art universities in Johannesburg

  • SAE Institute
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Johannesburg, Art & Culture

Best Art universities in Pretoria

  • Tshwane University of Technology
  • University of Pretoria (Javett-UP)
  • Ernst de Jong Academy of Fine Art
  • Oakfields College Pretoria Campus
  • Southwest Media College PTA Campus
  • Figment School Of Dramatic Arts 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you know which of the art colleges in South Africa to attend?

There are also many art schools in South Africa to choose from, and they all have their own history, reputation, major offerings, and other distinguishing features.

Like we said earlier, when considering any of the schools, check which of them is most convenient for you in;

  • Location
  • School’s performance
  • Quality of teachers, etc

You can do that by checking out their official links

What is a Bachelor of Arts in South Africa?

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) is an honorable award given to students in the areas of;

  • Humanities
  • Arts
  • Social Sciences
  • Linguistics
  • Cultural Sciences

People in Informatics and Business Sciences can also be awarded a Bachelor of Arts instead of a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.).

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Hopefully, we have been able to put you through if you are aspiring to study at any of the art universities in South Africa.

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Agbai Obasi
Agbai Obasi

Agbai Obasi is the founder of and related brands; he is currently a master-level student of Information Security Systems Management, managing the security operations of this site; in his spare time, he creates tailored blog contents that speak directly to the needs and interests of students. Visit his website below to stay updated with cybersecurity industry insights, best practices, and more.

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