27 August 2020

Faculty Contacts | The 2021 Academic Year | International students | Finance | Student support | Research support

Faculty Contacts

Faculty of Commerce

Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment

Faculty of Health Sciences

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Law

Faculty of Science

Graduate School of Business

  • UCT Graduate School of Business Call Centre: 0860 828 472, +27 (0)21 406 1111
  • Email enquiries:

UCT Research

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The 2021 Academic Year

(Updated 16 October) The closing date for applications for undergraduate admission in 2021 was on 31 August 2020. We will not consider late applications.

Applicants who need financial assistance must submit their applications on the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) online application system. NSFAS applications opened on 1 August and close on 30 November 2020.

(Updated 26 August) The National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) have been a requirement for undergraduate admission at the University of Cape Town. Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the NBT testing programme, the NBTs will not be part of the admission criteria for admission to UCT in 2021. As a result, UCT is considering amendments to the current criteria and expects this to be finalised soon.

(Updated 16 October) UCT will begin the 2021 academic year on 15 March 2021.

(Updated 16 November) There are funds available that have been set aside to manage additional costs related to COVID-19 interventions.

(Updated 16 November) First-year orientation will be scheduled along with all other activities for the beginning of the academic year. The full schedule will be announced ahead of time and, as with all other plans, will take health safety considerations into account.

(Updated 16 November) We will post provisional dates as soon as possible. As with 2020, the 2021 academic calendar is subject to change depending on the progress of COVID-19. The 2021 year pattern has been approved by Council and will soon be posted to the UCT website.

(Updated 16 November) Properties and Services has conducted an audit of all available rooms across campus and will prepare them to ensure that seating, ventilation and other health and safety considerations are followed.

(Updated 16 November) UCT recognises the impact of the lockdown. We had previously taken the decision to make conditional offers based on Grade 11 final results. Also, National Benchmark Tests will not be used for purposes of admission decisions for entry in 2021. The university will continue to apply admissions criteria that are appropriate for university admission, mindful of the impact on the 2020 matric year.

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International students

Please contact the International Academic Programmes Office at UCT for information to assist international students.

(Updated 16 October) International students who are not currently in South Africa need to confirm the entry criteria. South Africa’s borders were partially reopened from 1 October 2020. The Department of Home Affairs has indicated that if you are a student who travelled home at the start of lockdown, you can approach the South African embassy in your home country to validate your visa. The embassy validation is a requirement before you can travel, as it effectively reinstates your visa.

On 30 September 2020, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Dr Blade Nzimande, announced that South Africa’s move to lockdown Level 1 meant that international students who are currently outside South Africa’s borders may now return to their respective campuses. However, he pointed out that this is subject to any restrictions linked to each university’s own risk assessment and phased return, due to local context and conditions.

International students may only return to UCT if they have received a letter of invitation and a letter of authority to do so.

International students who are currently outside South Africa will need to meet the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs regulations and produce a document verifying that they have been tested within 72 hours, showing that they are negative for COVID-19 on arrival in South Africa. If they cannot, they will need to go into quarantine at their own expense for at least 10 days before proceeding to their respective institutions. International travellers must have travel insurance to cover the COVID-19 test and quarantine costs. All these travellers will be subjected to COVID-19 screening on arrival at UCT.

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(Updated 20 July) All students on financial aid will receive their allowances towards the end of each month. If you have not received your allowance or have any queries regarding allowances, please email or phone the office at 021 650 3545.

(Updated 20 July) Please contact Student Financial Aid at or the Postgraduate Funding Office at

(Updated 2 April) UCT’s Postgraduate Funding Office is working hard – albeit remotely – to ensure that postgraduate bursaries and scholarships continue to be paid and applications for new and renewed funding are processed throughout the lockdown.

(Updated 16 November) Students who have been approved to complete their 2020 academic year programme before 20 March will be charged the 2020 fee rates. Students admitted to residence for the 2021 academic year will be charged residence fees for the 2021 year.

(Updated 16 November) Yes, they will still receive a GAP funding loan offer, however UCT will not process any loan funding greater than the fee debt.

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Student support

(Updated 25 August) UCT has taken various wide-ranging steps to enable students across South Africa to study online. UCT has loaned and delivered laptops to eligible students on the basis of responses to the April 2020 student survey. It has also provided prepaid data to all students who have valid South African cellphone numbers recorded on PeopleSoft.

The four main network providers have zero-rated access to specific UCT sites. A dedicated webpage has been created on the ICTS website that will be updated regularly when additional sites are zero-rated.

Contact the ICTS helpdesk on or 021 650 4500 (Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:30 or Thursdays from 08:30 to 15:15).

(Updated 11 May) UCT has set up a system to distribute printed learning materials and USB drives with lecture recordings for students who cannot access the internet in any form. The delivery of distance learning materials began on 11 May. We have assembled a working group and are using the COVID-19 UCT Emergency Fund to support this project. All faculties are monitoring their students and making contact with those who, for whatever reason, cannot cope with online learning.

(Updated 20 July) Laptops have been distributed to students based on certain criteria and special conditions. The overarching criterion is financial need. To make it possible to allocate these laptops, UCT has had to cross-check information from Student Financial Aid, the Postgraduate Funding Office and the faculties with the responses received from you in the Student Access Survey.

If you haven’t yet received a laptop after you requested it via the survey, please contact ICTS via

The laptops are allocated only to students in these categories:

  • undergraduate South African students who are on financial aid or are eligible for financial aid and are residing in South Africa
  • South African postgraduates who are on financial aid or are eligible for financial aid and are residing in South Africa
  • GAP-funded students, either undergraduate or postgraduate, who are residing in South Africa
  • tutors in undergraduate courses who are also postgraduates
  • sponsored South African students who have not been supplied with computers through their funders.

The laptops will be loans – not donations – and they must be returned to UCT at the end of the 2020 academic programme. If the laptop is returned at the end of the 2020 academic programme, there will be no cost to the student. The laptops will be issued to students at a cost of R4 150, which will serve as a deposit, to be charged to the student’s fee account. This charge will be reversed once the laptop is returned after the completion of the 2020 academic programme.

(Updated 20 July) UCT is providing prepaid data to all students who have valid South African cellphone numbers recorded on PeopleSoft. If you have not received data from UCT, please first make sure your cellphone number and other contact details, such as your address, are correct on your PeopleSoft profile. Then contact the ICTS helpdesk on or 021 650 4500 (Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 16:30 or Thursdays from 08.30 to 15:15).

UCT has signed deals with the four major South African cellular network providers – Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom – to provide data bundles. These deals will be renewed on a monthly basis. The renewal date of each bundle will depend on the initial provision date. All bundles consist of 20 GB “night-time” data along with “anytime” data totalling either 10 GB (for Cell C, MTN and Vodacom users) or 20 GB (for Telkom users).

(Updated 27 April) Please contact your faculty advisor or department via Vula if you have any questions about online learning, receiving printed learning materials and USB drives, or other study needs during this time. For technical questions you can also contact the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) Helpdesk by emailing or phoning 021 650 4500 during office hours.

(Updated 20 April) There will be no academic exclusions during 2020. UCT recognises the anxiety caused by the impact that the academic year timeline adjustments will have on National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding, and we are engaging with NSFAS about this.

(Updated 21 April) The university conducted a survey to determine students’ available resources for remote learning. We are grateful for responses from most of our students. Of the 90.4% students who had completed the survey by 15 April, 89.5% had access to a laptop/desktop computer, while 1.3% had no device. UCT has arranged for door-to-door delivery of laptops to eligible students. A total of 91.4% of UCT students have internet access. The university is taking steps to try to support the 8.6% of students who don’t have internet access, in addition to other measures already put in place.

(Updated 20 April 2020) All faculties will communicate directly with students in relation to practical work such as laboratory work, fieldwork, studio sessions and specific courses. Special plans for courses such as dance, music, fine art and theatre will be made in the new academic calendar to accommodate the needs for contact teaching. The Faculty of Health Sciences will use the online option while it is working on the necessary adjustments to clinical training. This will be communicated directly to students.

(Updated 3 May) The four major South African cellular network providers (Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom) have agreed to zero-rate certain important UCT sites and systems for their respective users, which means that they will not consume data from their data bundles. The list of zero-rated sites is different for each service provider. ICTS provides the full list of zero-rated sites offered by each cellular network provider, as well as the structure of data bundles available to students.

See which UCT URLs are zero-rated by each mobile network

(Updated 3 May) UCT has been establishing whether students with disabilities have access to technology and software programmes to ensure “equitable access” to online learning. Hard-of-hearing students using South African Sign Language interpreters will use WhatsApp video for interactions and, if data allows, Zoom conferencing to access sign interpretation. Visually impaired students have access to the Job Access With Speech (JAWS) programme on their computers for ease of learning.

Students with mental health conditions are receiving ongoing support in the form of extra time applications and verified accommodation letters, and carers and psychologists continue to liaise with students who require mental health support during this time.

(Updated 3 May) The UCT Call Centre and Referral System (CARES) is a new support tool being developed by the Academic Advising Project at the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) to provide students with a central connection to UCT’s greater support network. If you are not sure about where to get help, or just need general information, you can direct your query to Student queries will either be responded to immediately or referred to the relevant contact for follow-up. We will soon be launching an SMS query line as well.

(Updated 26 August) Students can reach out to UCT’s Student Wellness Service (SWS), which offers online and telephonic counselling and support.

The UCT Student Care Line continues to provide 24-hour telephonic counselling on 0800 24 25 26 (free from a Telkom line) or SMS 31393 for a callback.

SWS bookings can be made online, via email or on the UCT mobile app.

Counselling: Students can continue to access their therapists for counselling via telephone or Skype. Sessions can be booked as usual, either online or via email. Students can book with any of the counsellors on the SWS booking site – they don’t have to book with their usual faculty counsellor.

Medical advisory: Students can seek medical advice by calling SWS on 021 650 5620. Please note: these calls are not consultations. Students can also book a request online for a consultation with the Clinical Nurse Practitioner, who will call back at the appointed time.

All SWS social workers will be available for telephonic psychosocial support. Sessions must be booked, as usual, either online or via email to

Referral letters to other facilities and external services will be provided upon receipt of an emailed request.

Peer counselling support: Peer-counsellors from SWS will offer counselling and public awareness programmes from 12:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Saturday. Peer support is also available via telephonic contact, Skype, Zoom and email. Appointments can be arranged via direct messenger or the SWS website.

To continue supporting survivors of sexual assault, UCT’s Office for Inclusivity & Change (OIC) is running a weekly online Survivor Support Group (SSG). The OIC’s specialist wellness counsellor and survivor support officer, Yumna Seadat, runs the SSGs, which take place every Tuesday from 17:30 to 19:30. These SSGs will continue online until all staff and students have returned to campus.

To join an online SSG, potential participants should contact Seadat via email at to arrange an initial one-on-one meeting, when Seadat will discuss confidentiality, anonymity and how to gain access to the online SSG via Microsoft Teams.

UCT Student Wellness Service

  • 021 650 5620 (office hours)
  • 021 650 1271 (after hours)
  • 021 650 5685 (staff only)

(Updated 18 May) Provision will be made for students to catch up with their studies through blended learning, which combines online lectures and face-to-face tutorials, once the university is able to reopen. The academic calendar will be adjusted so that students are not prejudiced in terms of the length of their studies and their funding.

To mitigate students’ anxieties, the university has acknowledged that most students will only be able to learn remotely for 30 hours per week and has adjusted the academic calendar to accommodate this. Most courses will use a continual assessment model.

(Updated 16 November) Students need to be vigilant and responsible in adhering to health protocols, including wearing face masks. If students in residence are deemed to be in breach of the regulatory protocols by not wearing masks when leaving their rooms, they may be reported to the residence warden, who will set up a residence disciplinary committee to consider the case. Students working in labs for research purposes could have their letters of authority revoked if they do not conform to health and safety protocols.

(Updated 16 November) At this stage, none of these facilities will be reopened.

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Research support

For more information and contacts specific to research, please refer to the COVID-19 FAQs for researchers on the Research Support Hub.

(Updated 26 August) UCT’s Postgraduate Funding Office is working hard to ensure that postgraduate bursaries and scholarships continue to be paid and applications for new and renewed funding are processed.

(Updated 2 April) Access to both laptops and data is a challenge for many of our postgraduates. There is a plan in place to distribute laptops to a limited group of students in need. The criteria for this and how it will take place is discussed in the DVC Desk of 1 April 2020 titled, “Important: Student access survey and conditions for receiving a loan laptop”. Please complete the Student Access Survey on your needs for working remotely, which will enable us to understand the overall status of your connectivity. The survey will help us prioritise and allocate laptops according to greatest need.

Work is in progress at a national level with telecommunication companies to get students and postgraduates access to South African-hosted websites, including all educational sites, for as long as they are unable to work on campus. This is still under discussion.

(Updated 2 April) Such an agreement is unlikely to provide our researchers with the facilities needed for data-intensive research, for which a different plan will have to be made. We encourage researchers to use UCT’s virtual private network (VPN) where possible to access and operate systems on campus, all of which are running. Data transfer can then be managed in the normal way using the underlying systems via the access granted by the VPN.

(Updated 16 November) Students can submit any time during the year. To qualify for a fee rebate at submission, students should consult the Fees Book or their faculty office. There are fee rebate windows (75%, 50% or 25%) linked to the academic calendar. The submission process system remains as before. Questions can be directed to the faculty office.

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UCT’s response to COVID-19

COVID-19 is a global pandemic that caused President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare a national disaster in South Africa on 15 March and implement a national lockdown from 26 March.

UCT is taking the threat of infection in our university community extremely seriously, and this page will be updated regularly with the latest COVID-19 information.

Frequently asked questions


Daily updates

Thursday, 19 November 09:30, 19 November 2020
Friday, 13 November 12:40, 13 November 2020
Friday, 16 October 10:05, 16 October 2020
Wednesday, 14 October 12:50, 14 October 2020
Tuesday, 22 September 14:10, 22 September 2020
Friday, 11 September 10:05, 11 September 2020
Monday, 31 August 12:20, 31 August 2020
Wednesday, 12 August 10:20, 12 August 2020
Friday, 7 August 11:24, 7 August 2020
Thursday, 6 August 18:26, 6 August 2020
Monday, 27 July 14:00, 27 July 2020
Wednesday, 15 July 09:30, 15 July 2020
Monday, 13 July 14:25, 13 July 2020
Monday, 6 July 16:20, 6 July 2020
Thursday, 25 June 10:15, 25 June 2020
Tuesday, 23 June 12:30, 23 June 2020
Thursday, 18 June 17:35, 18 June 2020
Wednesday, 17 June 10:45, 17 June 2020
Tuesday, 2 June 12:20, 2 June 2020
Friday, 29 May 09:25, 29 May 2020
Monday, 25 May 14:00, 25 May 2020
Thursday, 21 May 12:00, 21 May 2020
Wednesday, 6 May 10:00, 6 May 2020
Tuesday, 5 May 17:05, 5 May 2020
Thursday, 30 April 17:10, 30 April 2020
Tuesday, 28 April 10:30, 28 April 2020
Friday, 24 April 09:35, 24 April 2020
Thursday, 23 April 17:00, 23 April 2020
Wednesday, 22 April 14:25, 22 April 2020
Monday, 20 April 17:45, 20 April 2020
Friday, 17 April 12:30, 17 April 2020
Thursday, 16 April 09:45, 16 April 2020
Tuesday, 14 April 11:30, 14 April 2020
Thursday, 9 April 09:00, 9 April 2020
Wednesday, 8 April 15:40, 8 April 2020
Wednesday, 1 April 15:50, 1 April 2020
Friday, 27 March 11:40, 27 March 2020
Thursday, 26 March 18:30, 26 March 2020
Tuesday, 24 March 15:40, 24 March 2020
Monday, 23 March 15:40, 23 March 2020
Friday, 20 March 16:00, 20 March 2020
Thursday, 19 March 09:15, 19 March 2020
Wednesday, 18 March 16:00, 18 March 2020
Tuesday, 17 March 12:50, 17 March 2020
Monday, 16 March 17:15, 16 March 2020

Campus communications

New SRC and other updates 16:44, 4 November 2020
Virtual graduation ceremonies 13:30, 21 October 2020
Online staff assembly and other updates 15:09, 30 September 2020
Fee adjustments and other updates 15:21, 16 September 2020
Call for proposals: TLC2020 10:15, 26 August 2020
SAULM survey and other updates 15:30, 5 August 2020
COVID-19 cases and other updates 15:26, 5 August 2020
New UCT Council and other updates 15:12, 15 July 2020
Upcoming UCT virtual events 09:30, 15 July 2020
Pre-paid data for UCT students 14:25, 22 April 2020
Update for postgraduate students 12:55, 20 April 2020


Video messages from the Department of Medicine

Getting credible, evidence-based, accessible information and recommendations relating to COVID-19

The Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town and Groote Schuur Hospital, are producing educational video material for use on digital platforms and in multiple languages. The information contained in these videos is authenticated and endorsed by the team of experts based in the Department of Medicine. Many of the recommendations are based on current best evidence and are aligned to provincial, national and international guidelines. For more information on UCT’s Department of Medicine, please visit the website.

To watch more videos like these, visit the Department of Medicine’s YouTube channel.

Useful information from UCT

External resources

News and opinions

Statements and media releases

Media releases

Read more  

Statements from Government


In an email to the UCT community, Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said:
“COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, is a rapidly changing epidemic. [...] Information [...] will be updated as and when new information becomes available.”


We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will be updating the UCT community regularly – as and when there are further updates. If you are concerned or need more information, students can contact the Student Wellness Service on 021 650 5620 or 021 650 1271 (after hours), while staff can contact 021 650 5685.