Discover the Benefits of Studying at the University of Cape Town (UCT)

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Founding and Early Years

The University of Cape Town (UCT) boasts a rich history as South Africa's oldest university, established in 1829. Originally named the South African College, it was conceived as a high school for boys, reflecting the educational needs of the time. The early curriculum was designed to provide a classical education, emphasizing subjects like Latin, Greek, and mathematics, which were considered essential for grooming young men for leadership roles in society.

 Development into a Tertiary Institution

The transition from a high school to a tertiary institution began in earnest towards the late 19th century. This evolution was driven by the growing demand for higher education and professional training in the Cape Colony. By the early 20th century, the South African College had expanded its curriculum and facilities to accommodate college-level education. In 1918, it officially became the University of Cape Town, marking its transformation into a comprehensive institution of higher learning.

Establishment as a Full-Fledged University

The year 1918 was pivotal as UCT gained full university status, allowing it to award degrees and establish itself as a centre for research and advanced studies. This period saw the introduction of various faculties, including the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Engineering. The university also began to attract a diverse body of students and faculty, fostering an environment of intellectual rigor and innovation.


The role of Chancellor at UCT has been held by various distinguished individuals. The Chancellor is the ceremonial head of the university, while the Vice-Chancellor is responsible for its day-to-day running. Some notable Chancellors include:

- Harry Oppenheimer: Serving from 1967 to 1999, Harry was a prominent businessman, industrialist and philanthropist

- Gra├ža Machel: The Mozambican politician and humanitarian served as Chancellor from 1999 to 2019.

- Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe: She took office in 2020, bringing her experience as a businesswoman and philanthropist to the role.

 Awards and Achievements

UCT is renowned for its contributions to research, academic excellence, and societal impact. It has produced numerous Rhodes Scholars and Nobel Laureates, including:

- Allan McLeod Cormack: Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1979 for his work on X-ray computed tomography (CT scan).

- Ralph Bunche: Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, notable alumnus and former UN diplomat.

- Aaron Klug: Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982 for his work on crystallographic electron microscopy.


UCT consistently ranks as the top university in Africa. According to the QS World University Rankings, it is among the top 200 universities globally. Times Higher Education (THE) also places UCT highly in its world rankings, particularly noting its strong research output and international outlook.

Open Days

The annual UCT Open Day is designed for high school learners in Grades 10, 11, and 12, as well as their families and teachers this is an opportunity to explore the campus, meet faculty members, and learn about the courses and facilities. These events usually take place in May, offering a comprehensive look at student life, academic programs, and support services.

This event offers an excellent opportunity to explore the wide range of undergraduate study options available at UCT. Obtaining information about the different academic programs and their specifics is crucial for making informed study choices.

 Faculties, academic departments, and support departments participate in this event, with activities including:

- Lectures by academic staff from various faculties

- Information about financial assistance

- Virtual residence tours and details about some of the facilities offered on campus.

Why Choose UCT

Studying at the University of Cape Town (UCT) is a great choice for many reasons. UCT is really good at teaching, and they offer lots of different classes. They also do a lot of research to make sure students learn the latest stuff. At UCT, there are students from all over the world, which is cool because you get to meet different people and learn new things. The campus is super pretty, right near Table Mountain, so it's a nice place to study. And UCT helps students in lots of ways, like with classes, making friends, and other stuff. Whether you want to use top-notch facilities, join clubs, or have fun with other students, UCT has everything you need for a great college experience.

Faculties and Departments

UCT comprises several faculties, each with its own departments and specialized programs:

1. Faculty of Commerce

   - Departments: Accounting, Finance and Tax, Information Systems, Economics, Management Studies.

2. Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment

   - Departments: Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Construction Economics and Management, Architecture, Planning, and Geomatics.

3. Faculty of Health Sciences

   - Departments: Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Human Biology, Medicine, Public Health and Family Medicine, Surgery.

4. Faculty of Humanities

   - Departments: African Studies, English, History, Philosophy, Political Studies, Social Anthropology, Sociology, Drama, Music, and more.

5. Faculty of Law

   - Departments: Private Law, Public Law, Commercial Law.

6. Faculty of Science

   - Departments: Astronomy, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental and Geographical Science, Geological Sciences, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics, Physics, Statistical Sciences.

Courses Offered

UCT offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across its faculties. Some popular courses include:

- Bachelor of Commerce (BCom)

- Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSc Eng)

- Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB)

- Bachelor of Arts (BA)

- Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

- Master of Business Administration (MBA)

- Doctoral programs (PhD) in various disciplines

Minimum Admission Requirements

-Minimum admission requirements for applicants holding a National Senior Certificate (NSC) include obtaining an achievement rating of 4 (Adequate Achievement, 50 – 59%) or better in four subjects for admission to a Bachelor's degree program.

-Assessment of academic performance for NSC applicants is based on an Admission Points Score (APS), a Faculty Points Score (FPS), and a Weighted Points Score (WPS). These scores are detailed below.

-Percentages achieved in NSC examinations (grade 11 final, grade 12 preliminary, and grade 12 final) are converted into admissions scores equivalent to the percentage achieved.

To calculate the APS:

- Add the percentages obtained in the six best subjects, excluding Life Orientation and scores for "Advanced Programme" (AP) subjects, but including English and any other required subject(s) for the relevant program.

- For example, for a program requiring Mathematics and Physical Sciences, include scores for English, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and the best three of the remaining subjects other than Life Orientation to calculate the APS.

- Results below 40% for any subject do not contribute to the APS score.

Requirements for Each Course

Requirements vary by program, but generally include:

- Undergraduate Programs: National Senior Certificate (NSC) with a minimum achievement level in required subjects, specific course prerequisites, National Benchmark Tests (NBTs).

-Postgraduate Programs: Relevant undergraduate degree, minimum academic achievement in previous studies, professional experience (for some programs), research proposal (for research-based degrees).

 Application Process

Application opening and closing dates for the year 2024 are as follows:

- 2 April 2024: Applications for admission to all programs will open at 12:00 SAST. Registration for the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) will also commence.

- 31 July 2024: All undergraduate applications will close. Late applications will not be accepted. Additionally, applications for student housing will close on this date. It is also the final date to submit the Bachelor of Architectural Studies (BAS) portfolio and the last opportunity to write the NBTs for conditional offers by the Faculty of Health Sciences.

- 31 August 2024: This marks the closing date for undergraduate program changes. Requests for program changes must be sent to with the subject line "Request for program change." Also, portfolios for the Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art (BA(FA)) program are due.

- 11 October 2024: The last date to write the NBTs for admission to UCT.

- 31 October 2024: For applicants completing secondary school in 2024, all grade 12 interim results or predicted scores (for non-NSC candidates) are due. Transferring applicants must submit interim and past transcripts, and proof of English language proficiency.

- 15 November 2024: International applicants must receive an offer of admission by this deadline to allow sufficient time to obtain a study visa.

- 31 December 2024: All final transcripts and non-NSC school-leaving results (except CAIE, IB, NSSC, and ZIMSEC) must be submitted.

For the year 2025:

- 15 January 2025: Final CAIE, IB, NSSC, and ZIMSEC results from the November 2023 session are due.

Documents Required

Applicants need to submit:

- Completed application form

- Certified copies of academic transcripts

- Proof of payment of application fee

- Identity document (ID) or passport

- Curriculum Vitae (for postgraduate applications)

- Personal statement or motivation letter (for certain programs)

- Letters of recommendation (for postgraduate programs)

 Application Fee

The application fee for South African applicants is R100, international applicants need to pay R 300. Applications to the Graduate School of Business (GSB) for South African and African citizens/residents incur a fee of R1,000. For applicants outside of Africa, the application fee is USD 100.

Housing and Transportation


UCT offers various accommodation options, including:

Students residing in university accommodations will begin in a first-tier residence with full catering services, progress to a second-tier residence offering senior catering or self-catering options, and eventually transition to third-tier accommodation with semi-autonomous self-catering facilities.

- University Residences: Catered and self-catering options available, with single and shared rooms.

- Off-Campus Accommodation: The university provides resources to help students find private housing.

- Postgraduate Housing: Dedicated residences for postgraduate students with more independent living arrangements.


- Shuttle Service: UCT operates a free shuttle service that runs between campuses, residences, and key points in the city.

- Public Transport: Cape Town's MyCiTi bus service and Metrorail train services are commonly used by students.

- Biking and Walking: The campus is pedestrian-friendly, and many students use bicycles to navigate.

Contact Details

For general inquiries, prospective students can reach UCT via:

- Website: UCT Website

-Admissions Office:

- Telephone: +27 (0)21 650 9111

-  Address: University of Cape Town,

Private Bag X3,

Rondebosch 7701,

South Africa

The University of Cape Town is a top choice for higher education in Africa. It's well-known for its challenging courses, many different programs, and important research work. The campus is beautiful, and the university offers lots of help for students. There are also many activities for students to enjoy, making it a popular place for people from all over the world.


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