UCT Cape Town



UCT Cape Town

UCT Cape Town, The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa’s oldest university, and is one of Africa’s leading teaching and research institutions.



The birth of an institution

UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, a high school for boys.
The College had a small tertiary-education facility that grew substantially after 1880, when the discovery of gold and diamonds in the north – and the resulting demand for skills in mining – gave it the financial boost it needed to grow.
The College developed into a fully fledged university during the period 1880 to 1900, thanks to increased funding from private sources and the government.
During these years, the College built its first dedicated science laboratories, and started the departments of mineralogy and geology to meet the need for skilled personnel in the country’s emerging diamond and gold-mining industries.
Another key development during this period was the admission of women. In 1886 the Professor of Chemistry, Paul Daniel Hahn, convinced the Council to admit 4 women into his chemistry class on a trial basis. Owing to the exceptional standard of work by the women students, the College decided to admit women students permanently in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1887.
The years 1902 to 1918 saw the establishment of the Medical School, the introduction of engineering courses and a Department of Education.
UCT was formally established as a university in 1918, on the basis of the Alfred Beit bequest and additional substantial gifts from mining magnates Julius Wernher and Otto Beit. The new university also attracted substantial support from well-wishers in the Cape Town area and, for the first time, a significant state grant.
In 1928, the university was able to move the bulk of its facilities to the magnificent site at Groote Schuur on the slopes of Devil’s Peak. It was here, on land bequeathed to the nation by Cecil John Rhodes as the site for a national university, that UCT celebrated its centenary the following year.



“Moscow on the Hill”

Apart from establishing itself as a leading research and teaching university in the decades that followed, UCT earned itself the nickname “Moscow on the Hill” during the period 1960 to 1990 for its sustained opposition to apartheid, particularly in higher education.
The university admitted its first small group of black students in the 1920s. The number of black students remained relatively low until the 1980s and 90s, when the institution, reading and welcoming the signs of change in the country, committed itself to a deliberate and planned process of internal transformation.
From the 1980s to the early 1990s, the number of black students admitted to the university rose by 35 percent. By 2004, nearly half of UCT’s 20 000 students were black and just under half of the student body was female. Today we have one of the most diverse campuses in South Africa.

Transformation

Today, against the backdrop of a rapidly changing and diversifying democratic society, UCT is implementing an action guide on transformation looking at issues such as:



  • staff diversity
  • student equity and access
  • the curriculum
  • leadership and governance
  • attitudes and behaviour.

UCT strives to:

  • redress past injustices
  • promote equal opportunity for all
  • reflect the demographics of South Africa
  • safeguard human rights
  • uphold the inherent dignity of all
  • meet the development needs of South Africa’s emerging democracy.

For further information on UCT’s transformation process view the transformation pages.

Aspiring to academic excellence

The university has 6 faculties – Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Law, Health Sciences, Humanities and Science – which are all supported by the Centre for Higher Education Development, which addresses students’ teaching and learning needs.
Among its more than 100 000 alumni are the late Professor Christiaan Barnard, the world-renowned heart surgeon, and 3 Nobel laureates, Sir Aaron Klug, the late Professor Alan MacLeod Cormack and JM Coetzee.
UCT also has more than 80 specialist research units that provide supervision for postgraduate work and is home to more than a third of South Africa’s A-rated researchers – academics who are considered world leaders in their fields.
The early history of the university is also set out in the following publications:

  • The History of the SA College: 1829-1918 (2 volumes), by William Ritchie (Maskew Miller, Cape Town, 1918)
  • The SA College and the University of Cape Town: 1829-1929, by Eric A Walker (Centenary Volume published for the Council of the University of Cape Town by the Cape Times, 1929)
  • The History of the University of Cape Town 1928-1948: The Formative Years, by Howard Phillips.

Heritage at UCT

Heritage Day is celebrated nationally on 24 September. The Heritage Trail was established to allow the UCT community to explore its own heritage in relation to broader issues in the country.
Heritage has many different meanings, for example biological heritage and the heritage determined by language, landscape and trauma. It is important to note that heritage is not static and that it evolves with time. In the landscape of UCT, which spans more than 180 years, there are many symbols that relate to our heritage.
The Heritage Trail explores some of these symbols. UCT plans to expand this trail in the future to reflect UCT’s changing social and political landscape.

Mission

Vision

UCT is an inclusive and engaged research-intensive African university that inspires creativity through outstanding achievements in learning, discovery and citizenship; enhancing the lives of its students and staff; advancing a more equitable and sustainable social order and influencing the global higher education landscape.

Mission

UCT is committed to engaging with the key issues of our natural and social worlds through outstanding teaching, research and scholarship. We seek to advance the status and distinctiveness of scholarship in Africa through building strategic partnerships across the continent, the global south and the rest of the world.
UCT provides a vibrant and supportive intellectual environment that attracts and connects people from all over the world.
We aim to produce graduates and future leaders who are influential locally and globally. Our qualifications are locally applicable and internationally acclaimed, underpinned by values of engaged citizenship and social justice. Our scholarship and research have a positive impact on our society and our environment.
We will actively advance the pace of transformation within our university and beyond, nurturing an inclusive institutional culture which embraces diversity.

Vision and Mission approved by UCT Council: 10 December 2016.

 

General contacts

Postal address
University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
Contact numbers and email addresses
UCT switchboard: +27 (0)21 650 9111
The web manager can only be of assistance with website-related queries, not IT-related queries. For the latter (including queries about online systems and email), please contact IT Helpdesk on +27 (0)21 650 4500. If you have queries about Vula, please contact the Vula Helpdesk.



Faculties Email address Contact numbers
Commerce com-faculty@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 4375
+27 (0)21 650 4369
website
Engineering & the Built Environment ebe-faculty@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2699
+27 (0)21 650 3782
website
Graduate School of Business info@gsb.uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 406 1922
+27 (0)21 421 5510
website
Health Sciences (Undergraduate) fhs-ug-admiss@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 406 6328
+27 (0)21 650 3002 (HSF Reception)
website
Health Sciences (Postgraduate) fhs-pg-admiss@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 406 6340
+27 (0)21 650 3002 (HSF Reception)
website
Humanities (Undergraduate) hum-ugrad@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2717
+27 (0)21 686 7469
website
Humanities (Postgraduate) hum-postgrad@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2691
+27 (0)21 650 5751
website
Law law-studies@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3086
+27 (0)21 650 5662
website
Science sci-science@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2712
+27 (0)21 650 2710
website
Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) ched@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2645
+27 (0)21 650 5045
website
General enquiries
Accounts: Creditors fnd-finance@uct.ac.za   +27 (0)21 650 4403
Accounts: Debtors fnd-debtors@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 5270/2143
+27 (0)21 650 4379
Accounts: Fees fnd-fees@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 1704
+27 (0)21 650 4768
Admissions / Applications admissions@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2128
Campus Protection Services    +27 (0)21 650 2222/3
Communication & Marketing Charmaine Dublin    +27 (0)21 650 3732
Disability Service dsa-disabilityservice@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2427
+27 (0)21 650 3794
Educare educare@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3522
+27 (0)21 689 8078
Emergencies    +27 (0)21 650 2222
Fees Office fnd-feeenq@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 1704
+27 (0)21 650 4768
Finance Helpdesk fnd-finance@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2111
+27 (0)21 650 4897
Human Resources HR Contacts
International students iapo@uct.ac.za    +27 21 650 2822/3740
+27 (0)21 650 5667
IT Helpdesk (ICTS) icts-helpdesk@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 4500
Libraries libraries@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3134
Maintenance    +27 (0)21 650 4321
National Benchmark Tests adp-aarp@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3523
+27 (0)21 650 5045
Off-Campus Student Accommodation Services (OCSAS) ocsas@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 4934
Payment and Procurement Services (PPS) Helpdesk fnd-purch@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2990
+27 (0)21 650 3663
Postgraduate Centre and Funding Office pgfunding@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3622
+27 (0)21 650 4352
Protea Hotel Mowbray reservations1@phmowbray.co.za
Offers special rates for staff & students
   +27 (0)21 442 5300
website
Research and Innovation researchvisibility@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 4015
Sports and recreation Peter Buckton    +27 (0)21 650 3557
+27 (0)21 650 5011
Staff Housing Nomonde Sikiti
Melissa Patience
   +27 (0)21 650 2975
+27 (0)21 650 1048
Student Affairs Nadierah Pienaar    +27 (0)21 650 3535
+27 (0)21 650 5011
Student Development Office Nolindo Wabani    +27 (0)21 650 5389
+27 (0)21 650 5011
Student Housing res@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3010/2429
+27 (0)21 650 4014
Student Orientation and Advocacy Centre UCTOrientation@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 5082
Student Records (academic records & transcripts) reg-records@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3595
+27 (0)21 650 5714
Student Representative Council (SRC) src@uct.ac.za
Student Systems Support sss-helpdesk@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 5227
Summer School ems@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2888
Switchboard / general enquiries    +27 (0)21 650 9111
Traffic enquiries traffic@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3314
UCT Careers Service careers.service@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 2497
UCT Retirement Fund uctrf-enquiries@uct.ac.za
Undergraduate financial aid financialaid@uct.ac.za    +27 (0)21 650 3545
Vacation accommodation vac-accom@uct.ac.za     +27 (0)21 650 1049
Vula Helpdesk help@vula.uct.ac.za
Welcome Centre     +27 (0)21 650 3121

Office hours Monday to Friday

Admissions
(Middle Campus)
08:30–16:30
Fees Office
(Middle Campus)
Counter: 09:00–15:30 (Mon–Fri)
Phone enquiries: 08:30–16:30
(Mon–Fri, Thurs from 09:30)
Student Housing
(Lower Campus)
08:30–12:30; 13:30–16:30
Receipts Cashier
(Middle Campus)
09:00–15:30

Vice-Chancellor: vc@uct.ac.za