About UCT and Cape Town

27 January 2023
About UCT and Cape Town
Photo Michael Hammond.

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.

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 2022

  • 6 821 – Commerce
  • 4 737 – Engineering & the Built Environment
  • 1 145 – Graduate School of Business
  • 5 214 – Health Sciences
  • 7 326 – Humanities
  • 1 336 – Law
  • 3 379 – Science

* Numbers still to be audited.


About UCT and Cape Town - International presence
Photo IAPO.

103 countries were represented on campus in 2022.

*29 958 students were enrolled at UCT in 2022.

  • 16 332 female
  • 13 588 male
  • 37 transgender
  • 1 unspecified
  • 17 858 undergraduates
  • 11 628 postgraduates
  • 472 occasional students

3 796 new first-year students were accepted at UCT in 2022.

* Numbers still to be audited.


About UCT and Cape Town
Photo Lerato Maduna.

5 023 permanent staff

  • 3 728 professional, administrative support and service (PASS) staff
  • 1 295 academic staff

10 things that make UCT unique

  1. #1 in Africa: UCT is the highest ranked African university according to Times Higher Education, Quacquarelli Symonds and other leading world university rankings.
  2. Oldest: Established in 1829, UCT is South Africa’s oldest university.
  3. SA’s first: In 2021 Groote Schuur Hospital became the first public-sector hospital in Africa to offer robot-assisted surgery.
  4. Language: In 2020 UCT launched the country’s first certified foundational Khoekhoegowab language short course.
  5. 83%: In 2021, 83% of UCT staff were from designated groups, of which 71% were black South Africans.
  6. 25 km2: The total area of UCT’s campuses, including its satellite facilities in Gardens, Observatory, Philippi and the Atlantic Seaboard.
  7. 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.
  8. d-school: The UCT Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking is one of only three in the world.
  9. MOOCs: UCT now has 23 massive open online courses, which have attracted more than 680 000 people from over 180 countries.
  10. All-women: UCT is led by an all-women academic executive team, which is rare in higher education institutions around the world.


About UCT and Cape Town - Facts - Langa
Photo Nasief Manie.

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

  1. Langa is the oldest township in the Western Cape, celebrating a centenary since its establishment.
  2. Cape Town is locally known by at least three other names: The Mother City, the Cape of Good Hope and //Hui !Gaeb.
  3. After being released from prison, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech on the balcony of the Cape Town City Hall.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Afrikaans is the most widely spoken language in the Western Cape.
  7. 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.
  8. The Knysna–Tsitsikamma region has South Africa’s biggest indigenous forests.
  9. 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.
  10. The Western Cape is roughly the size of Greece.

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