Further details on undergraduate studying in 2021

05 February 2021 | DVC A/Prof Lis Lange

Dear undergraduate students,

Greetings and best wishes for 2021. You all did extremely well last year despite the many challenges we faced, and we look forward to welcoming you back into our academic programmes.

You are already aware that the University of Cape Town (UCT) has elected to pursue teaching and learning in 2021 in terms of a “physically distanced, low-density campus” approach. This is to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 during this second wave, and in preparation for a possible third wave.

As such, it was decided by Senate that all undergraduate courses will be offered via a combination of online lectures and face-to-face activities in small groups. To allay any anxiety, we wish to assure you that 2020 taught us, as a university, valuable lessons about how best to conduct online teaching in ways that keep you actively and productively engaged throughout.

Please take note that different courses have different attendance requirements and approaches to learning. While faculties such as Engineering & the Built Environment and Health Sciences require students to be physically present on campus, others, including Humanities, Commerce and Science, specify which courses do and do not require students to attend classes in person. The Faculty of Law will conduct all teaching entirely online.

Please ensure that you consult your faculty’s web page and make contact with your course convenors. It is most important that you understand exactly what is expected from you in your specific programme and faculty.

For your peace of mind, we are confident that all teaching venues identified for use during the year are safe, with appropriate ventilation. All health protocols, including the compulsory wearing of masks, physical distancing and sanitation, are in place to ensure we take care of ourselves and one another as we fight this pandemic together.

For students who have residence accommodation at UCT, we urge you to take advantage of the associated benefits that staying in residence provides, including relevant internet and data access for all courses.

When courses are fully online, you need to ensure you have sustainable internet access during the year, along with a device suitable for home learning.

Should your faculty require you to be on campus for in-person learning for any of your courses, you will be expected to attend. Faculties offering face-to-face teaching cannot provide an online alternative.

Similarly, if you are enrolled in a course that requires invigilated examinations, you will have to travel to Cape Town to write your exams on the set dates.

The normal academic rules will apply to manage situations where students are unable to return to campus for any reason, with each case subject to scrutiny by the relevant faculty committees, as is usually the case.

The university will continue to provide data for students who need it to complete their courses, and further details will be provided on data-arrangements following registration.

We look forward to a productive year ahead, during which we are committed to continue delivering world-class learning experiences, wherever you are in your journey to graduation.

Warm regards

Associate Professor Lis Lange
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning

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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 2020 and to implement a national lockdown from 26 March 2020.

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. Please note that the information on this page is subject to change depending on current lockdown regulations.

Campus communications


Adjusting to our new environment 16:50, 23 June 2022
VC Open Lecture and other updates 17:04, 13 April 2022
Feedback from UCT Council meeting of 12 March 2022 09:45, 18 March 2022
Chair of Council
March 2022 graduation celebration 16:45, 8 March 2022
Report on the meeting of UCT Council of 21 February 2022 19:30, 21 February 2022
Chair of Council
COVID-19 management 2022 11:55, 14 February 2022
Return to campus arrangements 2022 11:15, 4 February 2022

Thank You UCT Community

Frequently asked questions


Global Citizen Asks: Are COVID-19 Vaccines Safe & Effective?

UCT’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM) collaborated with Global Citizen, speaking to trusted experts to dispel vaccine misinformation.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 vaccine check out the FAQ produced by the Desmond Tutu Health Foundation (DTHF). The DTHF has developed a dedicated chat function where you can ask your vaccine-related questions on the bottom right hand corner of the website.

IDM YouTube channel | IDM website

UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre

The University of Cape Town in partnership with the Western Cape Government (WCG) have reinforced our commitment to bringing hope to the residents of the Mother City with the launch of the world‑class Community of Hope Vaccination Centre that opened its doors on Monday, 30 August 2021.

The site is located on Main Road in Mowbray – in the Forest Hill Residence – and access is from Broad Street. The site is open every Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 15:00 and on Saturday from 09:00 to 13:00. Please allow time for attending to COVID-19 protocols and arrive as early as possible at the vaccination centre.


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.