Comprehensive List of all Distance Learning Universities in South Africa (2023)


This Article was Reviewed by The Chief Editor, Godfrey

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Reviewed by Soliu.

Some accredited distance learning universities in South Africa include UNISA, Oxbridge University, and NWU, offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs, online courses, and various fields of study.

Distance learning has become an increasingly popular choice for students in South Africa, offering the flexibility to pursue higher education while balancing work or other commitments. 

This article provides a comprehensive list of accredited distance-learning universities in South Africa, enabling students to explore their options for obtaining fully recognized degrees and diplomas remotely.

Distance Learning Universities in South Africa

Top 10 Accredited Distance Learning Universities in South Africa

1. University of South Africa (UNISA)

University of South Africa (UNISA)

Distance learning universities in South Africa have played a significant role in shaping the country’s educational landscape.

 Among these institutions, the University of South Africa (UNISA) stands as a towering presence with a rich history dating back to its establishment in 1873. 

UNISA has earned its reputation as Africa’s largest open distance learning institution, offering a diverse range of internationally accredited qualifications across various fields of study.

At the heart of UNISA’s mission are three core pillars: teaching, research, and community engagement. 

These pillars form the foundation upon which the university has built its legacy of academic excellence.

 UNISA’s commitment to these areas has contributed to its growth and made it a leading institution in South Africa and beyond.

UNISA’s prominence in distance learning universities in South Africa exemplifies its dedication to teaching. 

Through innovative and flexible approaches to education, UNISA has made quality higher learning accessible to a diverse student body. 

With a broad spectrum of qualifications, ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate levels, UNISA ensures that learners can pursue their academic goals regardless of their circumstances or geographical location.

In the sphere of research, UNISA has consistently demonstrated its leadership through the Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation, and Commercialisation portfolio.

 This portfolio drives the university’s research, fostering an environment where groundbreaking discoveries and scholarly advancements flourish.

 UNISA’s commitment to research extends its influence far beyond its borders, contributing to the advancement of knowledge on a global scale.

Community engagement is another cornerstone of UNISA’s mission, as outlined in the UNISA Community Engagement and Outreach Policy. 

The university recognizes its role in society and actively seeks to give back to the communities it serves. 

Through various initiatives and partnerships, UNISA is committed to positively impacting society, further strengthening its position among distance-learning universities in South Africa.

UNISA’s vision, “Towards the African University shaping futures in the service of humanity,” encapsulates its dedication to imparting knowledge and making a meaningful contribution to the betterment of society.

 This vision reflects the university’s unwavering commitment to its students, research pursuits, and broader community engagement efforts.

As one of the foremost distance-learning universities in South Africa, UNISA continues to set the standard for accessible and quality higher education. Its enduring legacy, rooted in a history dating back to 1873, is a testament to its commitment to shaping futures and serving humanity. 

Through teaching, research, and community engagement, UNISA remains a beacon of excellence in South African and African higher education.

2. Oxbridge Academy

Oxbridge Academy

Oxbridge Academy has established a prestigious reputation among distance learning universities in South Africa over two decades. 

Since its establishment, Oxbridge Academy has been a steadfast provider of remote tertiary education, providing both local and international students with various chances to pursue their academic objectives from the convenience of their homes.

One of the hallmarks of Oxbridge Academy is its commitment to flexibility. Students residing in South Africa or abroad can seamlessly engage in their educational journey through the institution’s remote learning programs. 

Whether students require the flexibility of part-time study or full-time commitment, Oxbridge Academy accommodates their diverse needs.

At the heart of Oxbridge Academy’s mission is its motto, “effortless excellence in education.” This guiding principle underscores their unwavering dedication to delivering education of the highest quality.

 Oxbridge Academy not only imparts knowledge but goes the extra mile to ensure that students receive the support they need to excel in their studies, fostering an environment where academic success is attainable for all.

Oxbridge Academy boasts comprehensive courses catering to a broad spectrum of academic interests. 

From Advertising and Marketing to Events Management, HR, Beauty Therapy, and Engineering, the institution offers a diverse portfolio of programs that equips students with practical skills and knowledge relevant to their chosen fields.

In the dynamic landscape of distance learning universities in South Africa, Oxbridge Academy is a beacon of accessibility, quality, and dedication to student success. 

With a rich history of remote tertiary education spanning over two decades and a commitment to delivering “effortless excellence in education,

” Oxbridge Academy continues to empower students to pursue their educational dreams, regardless of location or scheduling constraints.

3. Open Learning Group

Open Learning Group

As one of the recognized distance learning universities in South Africa, the Open Learning Group (OLG) has been serving students since 1997.

 It is a Private Higher Education Institution (PHEI) that provides qualifications using distance learning and in-person sessions. OLG offers various programs, including Further Education and Training (FET) leadership, skills training, and short learning courses. 

They also collaborate with companies aiming to enhance their employees’ professional growth through accredited programs.

 OLG is where students can learn from a distance while receiving valuable education and practical skills.

4. BMT College

BMT College

Oxbridge Academy has established a prestigious reputation among distance learning universities in South Africa over two decades.

 Since its establishment, Oxbridge Academy has been a steadfast provider of remote tertiary education, providing both local and international students with various chances to pursue their academic objectives from the convenience of their homes.

Recognizing the unique challenges many of their part-time students face, BMT College has tailored programs that facilitate interaction while accommodating busy schedules. 

Aspiring individuals can pursue diplomas and advanced diplomas in HR Management and Business Management through BMT’s flexible offerings.

Over the past 29+ years, BMT College has earned a stellar reputation by deliberately emphasizing students. 

Their unwavering commitment ensures that students can always connect with the proper support and resources, solidifying BMT’s position as a trusted and reputable institution among distance learning universities in South Africa.

5. Milpark Education

Milpark Education

Since its founding in 1997, Milpark Education has dominated the scene of remote learning universities in South Africa.

 It has continually established high standards for academic achievement because it was one of the nation’s first private suppliers of higher management education.

Today, Milpark Education operates as a subsidiary of STADIO Holdings while maintaining its independent identity. It offers a comprehensive spectrum of tertiary learning options, encompassing distance education and in-person instruction.

Milpark Education boasts two teaching campuses strategically located in Cape Town and Johannesburg and a dedicated support office in Durban. This geographical presence underscores its commitment to reaching and serving students nationwide.

The institution’s flagship offering, the Master of Business Administration (MBA), is a testament to its commitment to excellence. 

Milpark Education is the sole institution in Africa with an AMBA accreditation for content and online distance learning, elevating its MBA program to the upper echelons of global business education. 

This accreditation places Milpark’s MBA among the top 2% of business schools worldwide, spanning over 70 countries.

Milpark Education’s steadfast dedication to quality education and innovative approach has positioned it as a leader in distance learning universities in South Africa, empowering students to excel in their academic pursuits and careers.

6. Harvard University Extension


Renowned for its academic excellence, Harvard University expanded its educational reach through the Harvard University Extension School.

 This esteemed institution, based in America, now extends its influence to a global audience by offering over 200 courses through online distance education platforms.

These meticulously curated courses encompass a diverse spectrum of subjects, including but not limited to management, English, environmental management, government studies, and computer science. 

What sets Harvard University Extension School apart is its commitment to providing students with an immersive educational experience. 

Through a sophisticated delivery system, students can access authentic lectures conducted on the Harvard campus, ensuring a genuine connection to the university’s academic environment.

The courses are designed with versatility, accommodating students’ unique requirements and preferences. They are made available in various formats, allowing learners to engage with the material in a manner that aligns with their individual needs and schedules.

Harvard University’s foray into online distance education reflects its dedication to broadening access to world-class education and knowledge resources.

 By leveraging technology and embracing a global audience, Harvard University Extension School continues to uphold the institution’s legacy of excellence in education internationally, reinforcing its status as a beacon of intellectual pursuit and academic achievement.

7. Boston University Online


Boston University is a prestigious university that stands out among South Africa’s recognized online learning universities. 

This reputable American university brings its intellectual prowess to a global audience through its extensive online programs.

Boston University Online encompasses various academic levels, from undergraduate to doctoral programs. Furthermore, the institution recognizes the importance of professional development.

 It provides diverse non-credit professional courses, catering to individuals seeking to enhance their expertise and skills in various fields.

As a vanguard in distance education, Boston University’s commitment to excellence is evident in the quality and accessibility of its online courses. Students worldwide can benefit from the institution’s rich educational resources, tapping into a wealth of knowledge and opportunities.

Boston University’s dedication to bridging geographical boundaries and providing a world-class education underscores its position as a respected institution among distance-learning universities in South Africa and globally. 

By embracing distance education, Boston University continues to facilitate academic growth and empower learners to pursue their educational aspirations, irrespective of their physical location, thereby enriching the landscape of higher education.

8. The Open University of Catalonia

The Open University of Catalonia

The Open University of Catalonia, situated in Spain, though relatively young in its establishment and founded in 1994, has swiftly risen to prominence within higher education.

 Its burgeoning student body, comprising approximately 60,876 individuals, is a testament to its commitment to providing accessible, high-quality education.

This distinguished institution takes pride in its comprehensive academic offerings, boasting a portfolio that includes over 1,000-degree programs spanning from undergraduate to doctoral levels. 

These programs are organized across three distinct Schools, each dedicated to pursuing academic excellence and research advancement. 

Additionally, the university offers Open Programmes, further enhancing its commitment to offering diverse educational opportunities.

The Open University of Catalonia’s rapid growth and the substantial number of students it has attracted underscore its dedication to bridging the gap between education and learners, fostering a rich academic environment where individuals can pursue their educational aspirations. 

In a relatively short span since its inception, it has carved a significant niche for itself within the landscape of higher education in Spain and beyond, making notable contributions to its students’ academic and intellectual growth.

9. University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg (UJ), a prestigious institution among South African distance learning universities, exemplifies dynamism, multiculturalism, and vibrancy.

 Its location in the global metropolis of Johannesburg reflects the area’s vibrant energy and rich cultural diversity. The university, which stands for South African pride, is firmly entrenched in its African past and is dedicated to supporting and fostering the continent’s educational advancement.

UJ stands as a testament to higher education’s potential to shape the future of Africa’s development. 

Its dedication to academic excellence and innovation aligns seamlessly with the evolving needs of the continent. The university embraces its role as a catalyst for positive change and progress, driven by a profound understanding of the transformative power of education.

In distance learning, UJ remains at the forefront, offering accessible and flexible educational opportunities that transcend geographical barriers. 

Through its distance learning programs, the university extends its reach to a broader audience, ensuring that the benefits of higher education are accessible to all, regardless of location.

UJ’s commitment to academic excellence and its dynamic and multicultural environment position it as a key player in South Africa’s higher education landscape.

 It stands as a beacon of opportunity and progress, embodying the aspirations and potential of the continent it serves.

These recognized institutions allow South African students to pursue their academic objectives without being physically present. 

Students can enrol in their varied programs and graduate with degrees and diplomas, leading to a wide range of job prospects while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. 

Education is becoming more accessible to a broader audience thanks to the evolution of distance learning in South Africa.


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About the Chief Editor

Godfrey Ogbo, the Chief Editor and CEO of AtlanticRide, merges his environmental management expertise with extensive business experience, including in real estate. With a master's degree and a knack for engaging writing, he adeptly covers complex growth and business topics. His analytical approach and business insights enrich the blog, making it a go-to source for readers seeking thoughtful and informed content.

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