About UCT and Cape Town

27 January 2024
About UCT and Cape Town
Photo UCT News.

Here are some facts and figures you need to know about the University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Western Cape in general.

The university is committed to Vision 2030, which has three pillars:

  • excellence
  • transformation
  • sustainability

UCT will:

  • attract students with exceptional potential from our country, our continent, and the international community
  • offer a transformative and socially engaged undergraduate and postgraduate education
  • provide both contact and digitally mediated education
  • expand its capacity to offer continuous education and micro-credentials
  • produce research that answers the complex problems of today and tomorrow.

40 different sporting codes are available at UCT.

Sports facilities include:

  • astro turf hockey fields
  • tennis and squash courts
  • an indoor sports facility
  • soccer (including blind soccer), rugby and cricket facilities.

The UCT Gym is on lower campus near Graça Machel Hall and the Sports Science Institute of South Africa is based in Newlands.

For students seeking an affordable fitness option, Zone Fitness, a public gym located near Pick n Pay in Rondebosch, offers a student discount on its membership fees.

There are over 100 societies to choose from.

Societies are run by students and reflect various interests, including academic, religious, cultural, social and political activities.

*Students by faculty in 2023

  • Commerce: 6 819 (23%)
  • Engineering & the Built Environment: 4 735 (16%)
  • Graduate School of Business: 1 144 (4%)
  • Health Sciences: 5 213 (18%)
  • Humanities: 7 324 (25%)
  • Law: 1 335 (5%)
  • Science: 3 378 (11%)

* Numbers still to be audited.


About UCT and Cape Town
Photo IAPO.

More than 100 countries were represented on campus in 2023.

Almost 30 000 students were enrolled at UCT in 2023.

  • 16 342 female
  • 13 588 male
  • 34 transgender
  • 2 unspecified
  • 17 862 undergraduates
  • 11 638 postgraduates
  • 465 occasional students

3 421 new first-year students were accepted at UCT in 2023.

* Numbers still to be audited.

Approximately 4 950 permanent staff

  • 3 673 professional, administrative support and service (PASS) staff
  • 1 277 academic staff

10 things that make UCT unique

  • #1 in Africa: UCT is the highest ranked African university according to Times Higher Education, Quacquarelli Symonds and other leading world university rankings.
  • Oldest: Established in 1829, UCT is South Africa’s oldest university.
  • SA’s first: In 2021 Groote Schuur Hospital became the first public-sector hospital in Africa to offer robot-assisted surgery.
  • Language: In 2020 UCT launched the country’s first certified foundational Khoekhoegowab language short course.
  • 25 km2: The total area of UCT’s campuses, including its satellite facilities in Gardens, Observatory, Philippi and the Atlantic Seaboard.
  • Online High School: UCT launched the UCT Online High School in 2021, becoming the first university on the African continent to extend its expertise and impact initially only to the secondary schooling market.
  • The UCT Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking attained a Six Star Green Star Design rating – a first for an academic building on the continent.
  • MOOCs: UCT now has 23 massive open online courses, which have attracted more than 680 000 people from over 180 countries.
  • Last year UCT launched a mechanical engineering isiXhosa glossary which aimed to increase access and success for students who speak isiXhosa.
  • UCT’s School of Languages and Literatures has been offering Kiswahili since February 2023 as a credit-bearing course.

10 things you might not have known about Cape Town and the Western Cape

  • KwaLanga is the oldest township in the Western Cape and celebrated a centenary in 2023 since its establishment.
  • Cape Town is locally known by at least three other names: The Mother City, the Cape of Good Hope and //Hui !Gaeb.
  • After being released from prison, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech on the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall.
  • Geordin Hill-Lewis became the youngest City of Cape Town mayor in the city’s history when he was sworn in after the 2021 local government elections at the age of 34.
  • Table Mountain was originally known as Hoerikwaggo, the name given to it by the indigenous Khoisan people. UCT also has a Hoerikwaggo – a building on upper campus.
  • Afrikaans is the most widely spoken language in the Western Cape.
  • Cape Town is home to the only commercial nuclear power plant on the African continent. Located at Koeberg, the two nuclear reactors account for 5% of South Africa’s electricity production.
  • The Knysna–Tsitsikamma region has South Africa’s biggest indigenous forests.
  • South Africa has three official capital cities and Cape Town is one of them. Pretoria is the administrative and executive capital, Bloemfontein the judicial capital and Cape Town the legislative capital.
  • The Western Cape is roughly the size of Greece.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.