Student enrolment approaches 19 000 mark

05 August 2002
UCT's 2002 student enrolment reached its highest mark ever with close on 19 000 undergraduate and postgraduate students signing up to study at the institution this year.

According to figures released on July 22, 18 994 students registered at UCT, 1 226 (7%) more than last year and 1 998 (12%) up on 2000's figure. Of the 2002 total, 13 449 (71%) are undergraduates and 5 545 (29%) are postgraduates, figures that have put some pressure on academic staff and facilities at UCT, which is seen as a medium-sized, residential university.

"Part of the unexpected increase in undergraduate student numbers can be attributed to a much higher take-up of offers of academic places, compared with previous years," said Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin West. "We are pleased that there is a very high demand for places at UCT, and particularly that this has increased in the formative faculties of Humanities and Science.

"While it is gratifying that so many students are choosing to come here, we cannot afford to overshoot targets to the extent that this puts added stress on staff and facilities," he added. "The Admissions Committee is working in collaboration with the faculties to ensure, in a fairly volatile situation, that this does not happen again in 2003."

Humanities maintained its position as the largest faculty with 5 392 registrations (4 109 u/g, 1 283 p/g), followed by Commerce with 5 096 (4 098 u/g, 998 p/g), Engineering and the Built Environment with 2 672 (1 963 u/g, 709 p/g), Health Sciences with 2 581 (1 546 u/g, 1 035 p/g), Science with 2 338 (1 585 u/g, 753 p/g), and Law with 915 (148 u/g, 767 p/g).

UCT continues to attract a diverse student body with increasing numbers of black students enrolling. A total of 9 263 black students (Coloured, Indian and African) registered in 2002, 820 up on last year's figure, comprising 49% of UCT's student body.Women continue to make inroads into student figure numbers. Of this year's 18 994 students, 9 294 are women, constituting 49% of UCT's students.There are several discernable trends among the figures, notably that:
  • The Science and Commerce faculties are growing the most rapidly (at 8.4% pa and 6.9% pa respectively).
  • The growth in undergraduate enrolments between 1998 and 2002 has exceeded growth in postgraduate enrolments (4.7% versus 4.1% a year); the growth in undergraduate enrolments between 2001 and 2002 was 6% (there are almost 800 additional undergraduate students on Campus this year). Most of these new undergraduates are in three-year bachelor programmes and undergraduate diplomas and certificates. There has been particularly rapid growth in undergraduate enrolments in Science (9.3% a year) and in Commerce (8% a year) in recent years.
  • Only Science and Health Sciences have exceeded the target of 5% postgraduate growth a year (both faculties had an average annual growth rate of 6.7% a year between 1998 and 2002).
  • Masters and Doctoral enrolments grew by 175 (6%) between 2001 and 2002.
  • In terms of over-enrolment, the Humanities and Science first-year classes were 18% greater than target. The first-year EBE class was also 15% greater than target. There have been certain noticeable changes to the demographics of the postgraduate student body. The percentage of white postgraduates has dropped markedly from 62% in 1998 to 55% in 2002. Change has been the most marked in EBE (down from 65% white in 1998 to 50% white in 2002) and Law (down from 70% white in 1998 to 44% white in 2002).
The percentage of female postgraduates increased by 5% points to 46% between 1998 and 2002. Only EBE and the Graduate School of Business have less than 40% female postgraduates. At 62%, Humanities has the highest proportion of female postgraduates. 45% of the postgraduate student body is black.

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