Get to know your faculty

24 January 2019

There are six faculties at the University of Cape Town (UCT) – Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law and Science – which are supported in their teaching and learning by the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED).


Who? With almost 7 000 students, Commerce offers several undergraduate specialisations, including accounting, actuarial science, computer science, economics, finance, information systems, law, management studies, marketing, organisational psychology, quantitative finance and statistical sciences.

What? Seven departments. Twelve research groups. R150.4 million in research grants, contracts and donations.

Wow! The faculty’s College of Accounting regularly has the highest number of successful first-time candidates to sit the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Initial Test of Competence (ITC) exams of all residential universities in the country.

Where? Leslie Commerce building on upper campus and the School of Economics building on middle campus. Faculty office: call 021 650 4375 or email

Engineering & the Built Environment

Who? With more than 5 000 students and staff, state-of-the-art facilities and world-renowned teaching staff, the faculty is home to architects, engineers, planners, quantity surveyors, geomaticians and more.

What? Sixty-six National Research Foundation-rated staff members. Home to 20 active research groups spanning subjects such as African urbanism, fuel cells, minerals, biomedical engineering, robotics and alternative energy.

Wow! Houses built with bio-bricks made from urine? Waterless urinals feeding home-based fertiliser factories? Four final-year civil engineering projects are showing the way in a future of increasing water scarcity.

Where? New Engineering Building on upper campus, Menzies Building and others. Faculty office: call 021 650 2699 or email

Health Sciences

Who? Established in 1912 and comprising more than 2 600 staff, 2 100 undergraduates and 2 300 postgraduates, the faculty is a centre of excellence and research enterprise for health professionals.

What? An outstanding teaching and research faculty. Educating for life. Addressing the challenges facing our society.

Wow! On average, researchers at the UCT Health Sciences faculty publish more than three peer-reviewed articles every day.

Where? Health Sciences campus. Undergraduate admissions office: call 021 406 6328 or email


Who? With over 7 000 students, this faculty comprises 16 academic departments located in three main clusters: the Arts, the Social Sciences and the Performing and Creative Arts.

What? Thirty-one academic majors. Twenty-one majors offered through other faculties.

Wow! Esteemed graduates include Professor Sakhela Buhlungu (sociology), soprano Pretty Yende, Akin Omotoso (film-maker), and Nobel Prize winners JM Coetzee (literature) and Ralph Bunche (peace).

Where? From Hiddingh Campus in the city centre to the Arts Block on upper campus. Undergraduate office: call 021 650 2717 or email


Who? Made up of more than 1 200 students (45% postgraduates) and 145 staff, the UCT Faculty of Law was rated in the Top 100 Law Schools in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2018.

What? The oldest and smallest faculty at UCT Home to various research units focusing on legal research and practice. Two community-serving law clinics, one focused on refugee rights.

Wow! The faculty has 25 international agreements that allow law students to pursue exchanges in countries around the world. UCT Law’s Associate Professor Jacqui Yeats was among the winners of a Distinguished Teacher Award in 2017.

Where? Wilfred and Jules Kramer Law Building on middle campus. Faculty office: call 021 650 3086 or email


Who? The almost 3 000 students and staff in this faculty contribute to globally relevant research, including African climate and development, biodiversity, chemistry and biology for health in Africa, marine biology, southern skies and the evolving universe, and human evolution.

What? The faculty’s 12 departments are archaeology, astronomy, biological sciences, chemistry, computer sciences, mathematics and applied mathematics, molecular and cell biology, oceanography, physics and statistical sciences.

Wow! Two alumni have won Nobel Prizes: Alan Cormack (computerised axial tomography) and Aaron Klug (crystallographic electron microscopy).

Where? Several buildings on upper campus, including PD Hahn and RW James. Faculty office: call 021 650 2712 or email

Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED)

Who? CHED is headed by an academic dean. It works across faculties and aims to continually improve access to and the quality of higher education, promote excellence through equity, develop the curriculum in partnership with faculties, enhance the professionalism of teaching staff, help students to make informed choices, provide opportunities to make the most of their university experience to be employable and enable systemic improvement through the research-led development of informed policies.

What? Academic Development Programme (ADP). Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT). Careers Service Centre for Educational Testing for Access and Placement (CETAP). Centre for Extra-Mural Studies (EMS).

Wow! CHED is supported by rigorous research in key areas, including academic literacy, curriculum development, work-readiness initiatives, educational technology, online and blended learning, testing, numeracy, the first-year experience and multilingualism. The Distinguished Teacher Award has been awarded to several CHED staff over the years including Associate Professor Janice McMillan (2016), Tim Low (2011) and Carla Fourie (2009).

Where? Huri ǂoaxa (Hoerikwaggo) building, North Lane on upper campus. Call 021 650 2645 or email

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