South African career opportunities you won’t want to miss

If you’re considering an international move to build your academic career, increase your experience and widen your network and horizons, it’s well worth considering one of South Africa’s many universities.

South Africa’s beauty and biodiversity, complex history and rich culture are unique. A sunny, dry, climate makes an active, outdoor lifestyle an appealing possibility, with world-class national parks, beaches and wildlife reserves to explore.

The country’s vibrant higher education sector offers a wealth of job opportunities for academics looking for a fresh challenge. Six South African universities feature in the QS World University Rankings 2019, including the University of Cape Town (#200), Stellenbosch (#405), Pretoria (#501-510) and Rhodes University (#801-1000).

Many institutions are truly international, with high proportions of staff and students from across the world. The South African government has set an ambitious target to increase the number of doctoral graduates by 2030 in order to meeting growing demands for higher-level skills in the country. Ensuring the availability of supervisors will be essential to delivering this, and international candidates with expertise in scarce, critical and special skills are actively being sought.

Based in Bloemfontein, the City of Roses, the University of the Free State was founded in 1904 with an intake of just six students. Now a research-led, student-centred and regionally-engaged university with over 40,000 students, its research output has increased 221% over the last decade. A team from its Department of Chemistry, for example, is working on a collaborative study with researchers from Kenya, Sudan and Lesotho, linking radio isotopes to known natural products (such as rooibos tea and South African aloe extracts), which possess anti-cancer qualities.

Established in 1908, the dynamic and diverse University of Pretoria has one of the highest research outputs in the country and is the largest contact university in South Africa. The university launched the first MBA programme outside North America in 1949, and its Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) has been consistently ranked the top business school in Africa for executive education. It seeks to undertake socially impactful research to find solutions for the world’s most pressing issues – and researchers from the university recently pioneered the world’s first middle-ear transplant using 3D-printed bones.

Rhodes University, located in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape Province, was established in 1904 and is the province’s oldest university. With just over 8,200 students, it’s a small university which enjoys the distinction of having among the best undergraduate pass and graduation rates in the country. With the highest academic staff to student ratio of all South African universities, its students benefit from easy access to academics and close supervision. An active community engagement programme provides numerous opportunities for staff and students to develop and share expertise as well as contribute to social development.

Stellenbosch University is located in a historic, oak-lined town in the Western Cape winelands. Staff development and innovative teaching and learning programmes are high priorities, and it is regarded as a leader in the fields of biomedical tuberculosis research and management, wine biotechnology, animal sciences and mathematical biosciences. It also has the highest weighted research output per full-time academic staff member of all South African universities and the second-highest number of scientists rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF).

To find out more, check out the latest academic job opportunities at South African universities here.

Take the next step in your international academic career and add valuable experience to your CV by joining a South African university today.

Further reading

University of the Free State

University of Pretoria

Rhodes University

Stellenbosch University

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Jo Mitchell is an experienced writer and editor. After studying Modern Languages at the University of Oxford she worked in fundraising at Oxfam GB and Viva, where she specialised in writing communications for major donors. She now provides freelance editing and copywriting services at Nightingale Ink in the firm belief that sometimes words can sing.

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