About University of Cape Town
University of Cape
Town is an inclusive and engaged research-intensive African university that inspires creativity through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery and citizenship; enhancing the lives of its students and staff, advancing a more equitable and sustainable social order and influencing the global higher education landscape.

In terms of full university status, it is the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa together with Stellenbosch University which received full university status on the same day in 1918.

Although UCT was founded by a private act of Parliament in 1918, the Statute of the University of Cape Town (issued in 2002 in terms of the Higher Education Act) sets out its structure and roles and places the Chancellor - currently, Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe - as the ceremonial figurehead and invests real leadership authority in the Vice Chancellor, currently Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, who is accountable to the University Council. Consisting of 57 departments organised in 6 faculties and the multidisciplinary Centre for Higher Education Development, the university has approximately 29000 to 30000 students in the liberal arts, pure sciences and professional degrees ranging from bachelor's degree (NQF 7) to Doctoral degree level (NQF 10).[5] A vibrant student community consisting of over 100 societies and clubs caters to diverse interests such as religion, politics, culture, community outreach and sport, prominently appearing in national leagues such as, but not limited to, the Varsity Cup. The historic (and ongoing) academic, sporting and political rivalry between UCT and Stellenbosch University brought about the nickname "Ikeys". Stretching over six campuses in the Cape Town suburbs of Rondebosch, Hiddingh, Observatory, Mowbray and the V&A Waterfront, the medium of instruction is solely in the English language.

UCT is the highest-ranked African university in the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and its Commerce, Law, and Medicine Faculties are consistently placed among the hundred best internationally. It is the only African member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), within the World Economic Forum, which is made up of 26 of the world's top universities. Five alumni, staff members and researchers associated with UCT have won the Nobel Prize. As of March 2020, 35 UCT staff members are A-rated NRF researchers (constituting 30% of the national total) and 88 staff members are members of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa.

Former names
South African College
Spes Bona
Motto in English
Good Hope

1 October 1829; 192 years ago

List of UCT departments and divisions

  • Commerce
    Accounting, College of
    Actuarial Research, Centre for (CARe)
    African Institute of Financial Markets & Risk Management
  • Engineering & the Built Environment
    Architecture, Planning & Geomatics, School of
  • Health Sciences
    Anatomical Pathology
  • Humanities
    African Cinema Unit (ACU)
    African Gender Institute, Department of
    African Studies, Centre for
    Afrikaans and Netherlandic Studies, Department of
    Albertina & Walter Sisulu Institute for Ageing in Africa (IAA)
  • Law
    Advanced Legal Studies, School for
  • Science
    Department of Archaeology
    Department of Astronomy

Sarah Baartman Hall and Memorial Plaza, the focal point Upper Campus.
Hiddingh Hall Library on Hiddingh Campus in Gardens, Cape Town.
The main teaching campus, known as Upper Campus, is located on the Rhodes Estate on the slopes of Devil's Peak. This campus contains, in a relatively compact site, the faculties of Science, Engineering, Commerce, and Humanities (except for the arts departments), as well as Smuts Hall and Fuller Hall residences. Upper Campus is centered on Sarah Baartman Hall, the location for graduation and other ceremonial events, as well as many examinations. The original buildings and layout of Upper Campus were designed by JM Solomon and built between 1928 and 1930. Since that time, many more buildings have been added as the university has grown. Upper Campus is also home to the main library, The Chancellor Oppenheimer Library, which holds the majority of the University's 1.3 million volume collection.

Contiguous with Upper Campus, but separated from it by university sports fields and the M3 expressway, are the Middle and Lower Campuses. These campuses, which are spread through the suburbs of Rondebosch, Rosebank and Mowbray, contain the Law faculty, the South African College of Music, the School of Economics, most of the student residences, most of the university administrative offices, and various sporting facilities. The state of the art artificial grass soccer field has been approved by FIFA for training for World Cup teams. The Upper, Middle and Lower Campuses together are often referred to as the "main campus".

The Faculty of Health Sciences is located on the Medical School campus next to the Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory. The Fine Arts and Drama departments are located on the Hiddingh Campus in central Cape Town. The University's original building, now known as the Egyptian Building, on the Hiddingh campus, was built in the Egyptian Revival style. The only other campus built in this style was the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia in the United States. The UCT Graduate School of Business is located on the Breakwater Lodge Campus at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

The Baxter Theatre Centre, located on the Lower Campus, is part of the University of Cape Town; it is also the second largest performing arts complex in Cape Town, after the Artscape Theatre Centre. It has three venues:

the 665-seat Main Theatre
the 638-seat Concert Hall, with a Von Beckerath organ
the 172-seat Golden Arrow Studio
For his contribution of the tract of land which the campus was founded on, a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes was erected in 1934 on the Upper Campus, overlooking the university's rugby fields. The statue was removed in April 2015 following pressure from student groups due to its representation of South Africa's colonialist apartheid past and the university's inadequate representation of black students, faculty, and staff.

The upper campus was affected by the Table Mountain fire in April 2021; the Jagger Library building, which housed rare books and documents including a large African Studies collection, was gutted.[


    Residential halls

    The university has 19 student residences (or "rez" as known colloquially), offering both single-gender and mixed-gender housing. The Department of Student Housing oversees the residence system College House is the oldest university residence in Africa, being established in 1887. UCT's residence system is composed of three tiers. Students living in residence are placed in a tier according to the length of time that they have been in the residence system, studying in the university and service or part-time employment in a residence. As a student progresses through their academic journey they are moved into a higher tier. Postgraduate students are usually housed in the third-tier residences unless employed in lower-tier residences.

    First-tier residences:

    • Avenue Road Residence
    • Baxter Hall
    • Clarinus Village
    • College House
    • Dullah Omar Hall
    • Fuller Hall
    • Glendower Residence
    • Graça Machel Hall
    • Kilindini
    • Kopano Residence
    • Leo Marquard Hall
    • Rochester House
    • Smuts Hall
    • Tugwell Hall
    • University House
    • Varietas

    Second-tier residences:

    • Forest Hill
    • Groote Schuur Flats
    • Groote Schuur Residence
    • Liesbeeck Gardens
    • Medical Residence
    • Obz Square
    • The Woolsack

    Third-tier residences:

    • 1 Woodbine Road
    • 8 Avenue Road
    • Amalinda
    • Dullah Omar Hall
    • Edwin Hart Annex
    • F Block (Forest Hill)
    • Harold Cressy Hall
    • Inglewood
    • JP Duminy Court
    • Linkoping
    • North Grange
    • Rondeberg
    • TB Davie Court


University of Cape Town

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