Completing your academic courses during 2020

13 July 2020

Dear students

We hope you and your families are well and that you are taking care of yourselves. We have finished one term of remote teaching and you are now being assessed in your courses. We are writing about concerns you may have around incomplete course work or exams for undergraduate and postgraduate courses at the end of the first semester 2020.

We are aware that in the context of remote teaching, some of you, through no fault of your own, cannot complete your work as planned. This communication provides you with the general guidelines to deal with this situation. Within the framework of these guidelines each faculty will communicate its specific arrangements to their students.

First semester coursework
If you cannot submit your coursework on time, you must inform the designated person or faculty ad hoc committee created for this purpose of your circumstances and request an extension. The designated person or faculty committee will set a new due date depending on your circumstances.

If you cannot complete your coursework within the prescribed period and are duly identified by your faculty, you will be marked outcome suspended (OS) in order to allow you to continue with your academic work in the second semester.

In making these decisions, you need to pay attention to the faculty’s advice, which might encourage you to drop courses to lighten your load and ensure that you are successful in finishing your first semester courses.

If you have been marked OS for a first semester (F) course, you may be allowed to continue with the second semester even if the F course is a prerequisite for the second semester (S) course. The waiving of a pre-requisite will be made at the discretion of the head of department, who will consider the nature and extent of the outstanding work in the required course and how this might impact success in the S course. You will, however, need to complete and pass your F course by the second semester deadline date as determined by the faculty. If you do not complete and pass the F course by this deadline, you will need to repeat the course. If you fail the F course but pass the S course, the pass will be recorded and only the F course must be repeated.

Whether you are granted an OS or not will depend on the nature of the outstanding work, and OS approval will be guided by course rules as set by the faculty concerned.

Although you can make use of the provisions above, you are strongly advised to make every effort to complete outstanding course work during the winter vacation and submit your coursework as soon as possible. Doing so will help you better cope with the academic demands of the second semester.

Clinical courses
Students taking clinical courses must follow the guidance provided by the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Courses in performing and creative arts, and engineering
Some of these courses cannot be completed until students are able to return to campus. The results in these courses are not expected to be posted by 24 July 2020. If you are in one of these courses, you will be advised of arrangements for completing the courses by the conveners.

First semester exams
If you are unable to take or complete an exam during the set time frame due to reasons beyond your control (eg connectivity problems, home circumstances), you must inform the designated person or faculty committee created for this purpose of your circumstances and ask to write the exam at a later date. You need to provide only a brief reason for missing the exam.

The designated person or faculty committee will condone the missed exam and advise you when the exam needs to be taken. There is no prescribed date: it could be before the start of the second semester, during the second semester, in the December exam period, or in the January 2021 exam period.

The decision to grant a supplementary exam lies with the Faculty Examinations Committee and is not affected by the OS concession.

Deferred exams
The Deferred Examination Committee (DEC) will be considering applications for the deferral of exams on medical and compassionate grounds. The usual Deferred Examination Application Form (ACA44) must be completed and submitted on PeopleSoft.


  • Only applications for exam deferrals (not coursework) can be considered by the DEC.
  • A deferred exam is already a second opportunity, so no supplementary exam can be granted.
  • The deferred exams will be scheduled in January or at another date set by the department.

The DEC will not be considering cases that relate to connectivity issues or home circumstances that make it impossible to take the exam.

Please contact your faculty if you have specific queries. We are fully aware of the effort and dedication that you have put into the work during this semester, and we salute you for that.

Take care of yourselves.

Warm regards

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

Professor Sue Harrison
Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 updates

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.

Campus updates

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Daily updates

Friday, 5 February 14:20, 5 February 2021
Monday, 4 January 16:50, 4 January 2021
Friday, 18 December 11:30, 18 December 2020
Thursday, 19 November 09:30, 19 November 2020
Friday, 13 November 12:40, 13 November 2020
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Wednesday, 18 March 16:00, 18 March 2020
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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
UCT Human Resources and COVID-19 16:05, 19 March 2020
UCT confirms second COVID-19 case 09:15, 19 March 2020
Update on UCT COVID-19 response 13:50, 11 March 2020
Update on COVID-19 17:37, 6 March 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.

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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.