Various medical schools in South Africa offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for a number of medical disciplines; medical school doesn’t only refer to becoming a doctor, and these institutions offer qualifications for nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, dentists, anaesthetists and a range of medical professions.
CMSA stands for The Colleges of Medicine of South Africa. This institution acts as a custodian of South Africa’s quality medical care and has 28 constituent medical and dentistry colleges. CMSA was founded in 1954 by professionals in the medical industry and in 1955, CMSA was registered as a non profit-making company. CMSA is unique in the way it contains all dental and medical specialities within a single representative framework.
Of all the various medical schools in South Africa, there are 6 universities that are recognised as the best among the rest:
- The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT): This is the oldest of South Africa’s medical schools. UCT offers both postgraduate and undergraduate courses for a variety of healthcare disciplines. UCT’s Department of Medicine also is a leader in medical research and education.
- The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Limpopo. This school developed as the University of the North and former Medical University of Southern Africa merged into one institution. The Faculty of Health Sciences’ School of Medicine has departments that are accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
- The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria: This faculty has both national and international recognition as a leader in research, clinical service and health professionals. The University’s Faculty of Medicine was established in 1943 and the School of Medicine was formed from this. The following degrees are offered: MMed; MMilMed; MBChB; MPharm Med; MPhil; MPH; MD; PhD; MEIC;BSc (Hons); MSc; and a Postgraduate diploma in Family Medicine.
- The Faculty of Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University: This faculty is known for its top academic training and international contribution in the field of health sciences.
- The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State: This is one of the oldest universities in South Africa, providing postgraduate and undergraduate education in Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health Professions.
- The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand: Here you can do undergraduate degrees in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, pharmacy, nursing, medicine and dentistry.
Other well known medical schools in South Africa are:
- The Faculty of Medicine at the Medical University of Southern Africa (MEDUNSA). Medunsa can be contacted at P.O. Box 210, Pretoria 0204, via phone on +27 12 529 4321 or via fax on +27 12 529 5811.
- The University of Kwa Zulu Natal’s Faculty of Medicine. For more information about this school of medicine, you can visit the department’s website on: http://www.nu.ac.za/. The department can be contacted on Umbilo Road, Private Bag 7, Durban, 4041, Kwa Zulu Natal, you can call them on +27 31 260 4232, or fax on +27 31 260 4410.
- The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Transkei (UNITRA). Situated in the Eastern Cape, this department can be contacted on 2 East London Road, Private Bag 11, Umtata 5117, Eastern Cape. For more information you can also contact UNITRA on +27 471 302 233, fax on +27 471 302 235.
A profession in health care is both challenging and rewarding. To apply to study at one of these South African medical schools is very competitive (some medical professions more than others) and you need to have excellent matric results, as well as show your desire to pursue a career in medicine.
If funding is a problem, there are a number of bursaries offered at the different South African medical colleges that you can apply for to get funding for your studies.