Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University: An Overview of Academic Excellence and Research Innovation

Located in Ga-Rankuwa, Gauteng Province, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) stands as a pivotal institution in South Africa’s higher education landscape, particularly in the field of health sciences. Established on 1 January 2015, the institution is named after Sefako Makgatho, a prestigious figure in the nation’s history, and is dedicated to providing comprehensive education and research opportunities in various medical and health-related disciplines.

SMU has garnered attention for its dynamic approach to health sciences education, with a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Its curriculum and research initiatives are tailored to address the health needs and challenges not just within South Africa, but also across the Southern African Development Community. The university is at the forefront of nurturing skilled professionals in medicine, oral health, pharmacy, health care sciences, and science and technology, thereby contributing significantly to the regional healthcare system.

The university’s commitment to academic excellence and research is reflected in its offer of Masters and Doctoral Programmes across multiple faculties. As an educational hub, SMU extends opportunities to South African citizens and specific SADC nationals, supporting an ethos of inclusivity and diversity, vital for the advancement of healthcare in the continent.

University Overview

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, often abbreviated as SMU, is a specialised institution in South Africa dedicated to health sciences education and research.

History and Foundation

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, named after an ANC leader and champion of non-racialism, emerged from the previous Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA) and part of the University of Limpopo. It was established in its current form on 1 January 2015, building on a legacy of democratic, transformed, and a quality-centric approach to higher education.

Vision and Mission

SMU’s mission is to provide professional training across various healthcare fields through excellence in teaching, learning, and research, coupled with community engagement. It embraces an inclusive environment that strives for academic innovation and non-sexist values.


Under the guidance of its president and management, SMU fosters a culture of leadership that prioritises the well-being and education of its students, ensuring that its values align with the progressive ethos of the African National Congress.

Campus Location

The university’s campus is located in Ga-Rankuwa, within Gauteng Province, positioning it strategically to serve the community and contribute to the region’s healthcare system.

Affiliations and Partnerships

SMU has formed various partnerships to enhance its educational programmes and research endeavours. Through collaborations, the university aims to have a wide-reaching impact on healthcare both locally and internationally.

Academic Profile

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) stands as a specialised institution in South Africa dedicated to health sciences education, underpinned by a robust academic and research framework. The university’s commitment to producing qualified healthcare professionals is realised through its diverse academic offerings and research initiatives.

Schools and Programmes

The university houses several schools catering to a wide range of health sciences disciplines. Key schools include:

  • School of Health Care Sciences: Offers undergraduate programmes encompassing various healthcare fields.
  • School of Medicine: Provides comprehensive undergraduate medical education.
  • School of Pharmacy: Delivers focused pharmaceutical studies at undergraduate levels.
  • School of Oral Health Sciences: Specialises in dentistry and related undergraduate courses.
  • School of Science and Technology: Engages in undergraduate teaching of subjects like Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, contributing to the interdisciplinary nature of healthcare education.

Each school is aligned with the university’s mission to support health needs through quality education.

Departments and Courses

SMU’s departmental structure reflects a blend of traditional and emerging scientific disciplines relevant to health sciences. Students can pursue courses in:

  • Chemistry: Fundamental for understanding pharmaceutical compounds.
  • Physics and Biology: Crucial for medical imaging and understanding bodily functions.
  • Statistics and Mathematics: Provide essential tools for medical research and data analysis.
  • Biochemistry: Bridges basic science and clinical medicine.
  • Psychology: Acknowledges the importance of mental health in overall well-being.

The university remains adept at integrating these academic disciplines into healthcare training.

Interdisciplinary Research

The establishment encourages interdisciplinary research, fostering innovation at the intersection of multiple scientific domains. Research output from departments such as Neurosurgery indicates dynamic collaboration across specialities. With a growing number of publications, the university is moulding a solid research community that contributes to both academic advancement and societal health improvements.

Quality of Education

SMU emphasises the quality of education through a curriculum that combines rigorous academic study with practical teaching methods. The university’s focus is on nurturing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities among its students. These educational principles ensure that graduates are well-prepared for the demands of the healthcare industry and equipped for lifelong learning and leadership in their respective fields.

Student Affairs

At Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU), the Student Affairs department plays a pivotal role in overseeing admissions, providing comprehensive support services and resources, and fostering an engaging student life with numerous organizations.


SMU welcomes applications from prospective students who exhibit a strong academic record and a desire to pursue a career in health sciences. Admissions are competitive, especially for the School of Medicine. The application process leverages an online application system, and applicants are encouraged to meet all deadlines and criteria to be considered for enrollment.

Support Services and Resources

The Student Affairs department provides a suite of support services aimed at enhancing the academic journey. Students can access resources such as:

  • Counseling services: for mental health and well-being.
  • Career guidance: to prepare for future employment.
  • Academic support: including tutoring and study resources.

These services contribute to a conducive environment for study, ensuring that students at SMU receive a holistic educational experience.

Student Life and Organizations

Student life at SMU is vibrant and diverse, with numerous student organizations that complement academic learning. They provide:

  • Cultural groups: that celebrate the rich heritage of the community.
  • Professional societies: aligned with medical and health science disciplines.
  • Recreational clubs: for extracurricular enjoyment and development.

Through these platforms, students can indulge in various interests, contribute to university life, and foster leadership skills. Events such as workshops and seminars are routinely organized, enhancing the students’ networking and learning opportunities outside the classroom.

For any enquiries related to Student Affairs, students may contact the university during office hours for assistance.

University Achievements

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) is renowned for its significant contributions in the Health Sciences landscape. Through various measures of performance, distinguished alumni, and forward-thinking initiatives, SMU has cemented its reputation in the academic and research domains.

Performance and Rankings

SMU has consistently performed well on national and international stages. In the latest evaluations, the university is ranked 23rd in South Africa and 5525th globally, with particularly high standing in Family Medicine, achieving 733rd place worldwide. The university’s commitment to excellence is exemplified by its determination to scale the ranks of higher education.

Notable Alumni and Contributions

The university has produced professionals who have made noteworthy advances in the health sciences. While specific alumni are not listed in the provided data, it is evident from the university’s acclaim that its graduates are making impactful contributions across various sectors within health sciences.

Innovations and Developments

SMU has a strong emphasis on innovation, reflected in its academic achievements and research developments. The university’s engagement in health sciences research and its application in the real-world context underscore its commitment to advancing the field. It fosters an environment where both academics and researchers are recognised for their contributions, which propels the institution’s status in health sciences education and innovation, benefiting a diverse student body, including black students, who make a significant portion of the university’s demographic.

News and Events

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) has actively embraced digital transformation, announcing significant developments on the 30th of August 2023, demonstrating its dedication to integrating technology within its academic fabric. On another front, accolades are due as SMU proudly recognised the achievements of seven esteemed academics and researchers, who received ratings from the National Research Foundation on the 22nd of February 2022, a testament to the university’s commitment to research excellence.

Additionally, SMU has engaged in a strategic partnership, signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Moses Kotane Municipality on 4th October 2023, marking a significant collaboration with local government entities. This venture looks set to explore and optimise the rich mineral reserves within the region, particularly focusing on areas with the highest concentrations of the world’s known platinum reserves.

Upcoming Events:

  • Digital Transformation Seminar — Details pending; follow SMU updates for scheduling.
  • Recognition Ceremony — Commemorating the achievements of rated researchers; date to be announced.

General Enquiries:

  • For more information, individuals may contact the student administration at SMU during office hours, Monday to Friday 7:30 – 16:00.

SMU’s progress and community engagement, driven by its mission to provide superior health sciences education, continues to generate news that underscores the university’s expanding footprint within the academic and research-oriented sectors.

Contact and Further Information

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) is equipped with various contact channels to assist applicants and stakeholders with enquiries. The university’s website serves as a comprehensive resource for information on academic programmes and admissions.

Enquiries and Contacts

For direct communication, interested parties and current students can reach out to SMU’s contacts for specific departments. Below is a list of essential contact information:

  • General Enquiries:
    • Phone: (012) 521-5759, 5760, 4464, 5060
    • Fax: (012) 560-0086
  • Postal Address:
    • Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Registry P.O Box 60, Medunsa, 0204

The School of Medicine and School of Pharmacy also maintain their own contacts for programme-specific queries:

  • School of Medicine:

    • Phone: +27 (0)12 521-5853
    • Fax: +27 (0)12 521-5811
    • Student admin enquiries: ext. 4979, 4204, 4319, 4058, 3357
  • School of Pharmacy:

    • Offers a Higher Certificate in Vaccinology

Accessing the University Website

Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University’s website is a valuable portal for both prospective and current students. It contains detailed information regarding academic programmes, admissions, and campus news. To explore the offerings of the School of Pharmacy, the School of Medicine, or other faculties, individuals can visit the official SMU website at:

Applicants and others interested can find pertinent information about the courses, entry requirements, and how to apply by navigating through the user-friendly website interface.