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Your faculty at your fingertips
27 January 2023
UCT has around 29 000 students who study across six academic faculties, including Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law and Science. These faculties are ably supported in their teaching and learning by the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED). Here’s the info you need about your academic faculty.
With approximately 6 700 students, Commerce offers several undergraduate specialisations, namely, accounting, actuarial science, computer science, economics, finance, information systems, law, management studies, marketing, organisational psychology, quantitative finance and statistical sciences.
The faculty is home to seven departments and 14 research groups.
Launched in 2018, UCT’s School of IT responds to the growing needs of the South African and global tech industry, and the increasing demand for university qualifications in the sector. As an interdisciplinary collaboration that bridges the faculties of Science, Commerce and Humanities, the School of IT offers a wide variety of courses and programmes to cater for students’ personal interests and aptitudes.
With just under 5 000 students and staff, state-of the-art facilities and world-renowned teaching staff, the faculty is home to architects, urban planners, landscape architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, land surveyors, GIS specialists, and property and construction managers.
The faculty is proud of its 63 National Research Foundation-rated staff members, not to mention its 20 active accredited research groups, covering African urbanism, fuel cells, minerals, biomedical engineering, robotics, alternative energy and more.
The Menzi Design Laboratory is a space for students and researchers to transform their ideas into prototypes and intellectual property, and ultimately take them into production.
In a novel transdisciplinary project, researchers in electrical engineering are using robotics and artificial intelligence to monitor the health status of wildlife – a game-changer for the fields of ecology and conservation management in South Africa.
The S+CUBE team in the Department of Construction Economics and Management collaborates with local experts across the architectural, engineering, energy and humanities disciplines to design national net-zero sustainable innovative affordable net-zero houses for different climatic zones in South Africa.
In the 2022 annual QS World University Rankings for engineering and technology, UCT was ranked as the best engineering university in South Africa.
New Engineering Building, Menzies Building, Centlivres, Snape, Electrical Mechanical and more.
The oldest medical school in sub-Saharan Africa (established in 1912), the Faculty of Health Sciences has around 2 600 staff members and 4 000 students (2 000 undergraduates and 2 500 postgraduates in 2021). It’s considered a centre of excellence in teaching, learning and research for health professionals and scientists with a strong reputation for having trained some of the best health practitioners and scientists globally, and for our clinical achievements and cutting-edge research across health disciplines.
With 13 academic departments comprising 106 divisions, the faculty is committed to responding to the health challenges facing South Africa and the continent, with the vision of achieving social justice and health equity.
The world’s first successful human heart transplant performed in 1967 by faculty member Dr Christiaan Barnard.
The top-rated health sciences faculty on the continent, and among the top 100 globally in clinical and health.
High numbers of UCT’s National Research Foundation A-rated researchers.
Researchers publishing more than five peer-reviewed articles every day, on average.
Having four out of the top 10 inventors by patents granted at UCT.
Of the 81 accredited research units at UCT, 33 are in the Faculty of Health Sciences.
With over 7 000 students, this faculty comprises 17 academic departments, located in three main clusters: the Arts, the Social Sciences and the Performing and Creative Arts.
The largest faculty at UCT with 15 research centres and institutes offering 30 academic majors as well as the opportunity to choose from 21 majors offered through other faculties.
The faculty has produced a number of world-renowned graduates, including Breyten Breytenbach (author), Philip Miller (international composer and sound artist), Roger Ebert (Pulitzer Prize winner), Richard E Grant (actor), Pretty Yende (opera singer), Akin Omotoso (filmmaker) and two Nobel Prize winners – Emeritus Professor JM Coetzee (Literature) and Ralph Bunche (Peace).
The present faculty was formed in 1999 as a result of a merger of the faculties of Arts, Social Sciences, Education, Music and the Michaelis School of Fine Art.
The faculty is home to over 80 National Research Foundation-rated researchers and four SARChI Chairs.
Made up of more than 1 400 students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and 165 staff members. The Faculty of Law was rated in the Top 150 Law Schools in the world by the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings 2021.
The Faculty of Law is the oldest and smallest faculty at UCT. Organised into three departments – Public Law, Private Law and Commercial Law – the faculty is home to world-class research units that provide the bridge between academic endeavour and social responsiveness. The faculty has two community-serving law clinics, one of which is focused on refugee rights.
The faculty has a range of international agreements that enable students and staff to pursue exchanges and research relationships in Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Europe, Kenya, the UK and the USA.
Students and alumni from the faculty work across the globe, contributing excellence to the legal profession, the development of law, and research in the field.
To support students financially, the faculty runs a funding campaign – Excellence in Law – and contributes around R2 million to student support each year from its endowment fund. This is in addition to a range of scholarships offered.
The first National Research Foundation chair in humanities was given to the Law faculty, which is now home to two National Research Foundation SARChI Chairs.
The faculty’s academic staff are among the leading public intellectuals in the country.
With almost 3 500 students and staff, the Faculty of Science continues to contribute to globally relevant research. This includes, but is not limited to, African climate and development, biodiversity, chemistry and biology for health in Africa, marine biology, southern skies and the evolving universe, and human evolution.
The faculty is made up of 12 departments, including archaeology, astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, computer sciences, environmental and geographical sciences, geological sciences, mathematics and applied mathematics, molecular and cell biology, oceanography, physics and statistical sciences.
The Faculty of Science is placed in the band of 51–100 top universities in Archaeology and Geography and in the band of 101–150 in Environmental Science according to the 2019 QS World University Rankings by Subject.
Two alumni from the Department of Physics have won Nobel prizes: Alan McCormack won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1979 for the development of computer-assisted tomography, and Aaron Klug won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for crystallographic electron microscopy.
Over a third of the university’s annual PhD graduates hail from the Faculty of Science.
CHED is a transversal faculty that works with the other faculties and many units across campus to continually improve access to and quality of higher education, promote excellence through equity, develop curricula in partnership with faculties, support the professionalisation of teaching staff, help students to make informed choices for career planning and readiness for the world of work, and enable systemic improvement through research-led development of informed policies.
CHED comprises several entities that collectively contribute to achieving its goals. These include:
the Academic Development Programme (ADP) – including the Numeracy Centre and the Language Development Group
the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT)
the UCT Careers Service
the Centre for Educational Assessment (CEA)
the Hasso Plattner School of Design Thinking (d-school)
the First-Year Experience (FYE).
CHED staff are deeply involved with rigorous institutional and national conversations and research in key areas of higher education, including academic advising, academic literacy, curriculum development, work readiness initiatives, educational technology, online and blended learning, assessment and diagnostic testing, numeracy, the first-year experience and multilingualism to improve your university experience.
The Distinguished Teacher Award has been awarded to several CHED staff members over the years, including Associate Professor Janice McMillan (2016), Tim Low (2011) and Carla Fourie (2009).
Construction of the first academic 6 Green Star-rated building in Africa has been completed on middle campus; the donation building to UCT by the Hasso Plattner Foundation houses the d-school at UCT, which offers students opportunities to engage with a design thinking approach.
The Careers Service has been voted by employers as the “Best Careers Service” for 13 years in a row.
CILT led the project that culminated in UCT adopting the Brightspace Learning Management System in 2021; a cloud-based system which will replace Vula. Brightspace is a major milestone in enhancing the university’s digital infrastructure to support student success and provide students with rich and engaging blended and online learning experiences.
CILT was awarded the 2020 UCT Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Service Excellence for steering the university’s emergency remote teaching and learning project amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.