UCT Computer Science

UCT Computer Science

UCT Computer Science,
The Department of Computer Science is amongst the strongest in the country and home to academic staff who are well regarded both nationally and internationally. The Department plays an important role in local industry and provides services to industries through technology transfer and applied research.  The Department of Computer Science is part of the cross-Faculty School of IT
Staff research interests are broadly focussed in the following domains: Digital Libraries, Network and Information Security, Visual Computing, High-Performance computing and Big Data, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development. The department maintains links with many IT-based industries within the country, including those in telecommunications, scientific and high-performance computing and visual effects and animation. ICT for Development constitutes an important unifying theme amongst several staff members and this synergy led to the establishment of the Centre for ICT4D, a multi-disciplinary centre supported by several international corporations.
The department produces high quality graduates with knowledge and skills relevant to the international and South African technology communities. A capstone Honours degree in Computer Science, accredited by the British Computer Society, provides graduates with opportunities in stimulating and well-paid careers both locally and abroad.

Mission, Vision and Role

Our mission is to develop and impart knowledge and skills in the field of computer science.
Our vision is to strive to be a department of the first rank in both an International and in an African context, sustaining:

  • high respect for its research and post-graduate education
  • excellence in teaching in order to produce graduates who possess the skills that are needed whenever decision making or creative thinking takes place
  • an influential role in industry and the Information Technology community

Our role is:

  • to produce graduates with knowledge and skills relevant to both the International and the South African Information Technology community
  • to carry out innovative research which adds to basic understanding
  • to produce service courses and provide research assistance in the fields of science and engineering
  • to provide services to Industry through technology transfer and applied research
  • to take an active part in the academic affairs of the University to influence government policy in the field of Information Technology



Undergraduate Students

What is Computer Science?

Computer Science forms part of 4 undergraduate degrees at UCT:1. Computer Science is taught as a major subject in the BSc degree within the Science Faculty. If you wish, you may also take one of the following co-majors in your BSc: Computer Games Development, Business Computing or Computer Engineering. A co-major is optional, and if selected enables you to include some games, business or engineering courses within your Science degree.
2. Computing may be combined with Business Science; this double major course provides you with an understanding of scientific management as well as the skills of a computer scientist, which equips you for the consultancy profession.
3. Computing can be combined with Information Systems as part of a BComm degree within the Commerce Faculty. While Business Science is a 4-year degree offering breadth and depth of business knowledge along with Computer Science, the BComm in Information Systems and Computer Science is a 3-year degree offering fewer business courses and more computing courses.
4. You may also specialise in the field of Computer Engineering within the Electrical Engineering degree. This comprises mainly electrical engineering courses along with some Computer Science courses. It is popular with those who are practically minded, but does not include the full Computer Science major.
More details on Computer Science courses can be found under Teaching.

Entrance Requirements

What is expected of you? In the first place, you should be a very precise person and able to work out, step-by-step, the solution to a problem in a logical manner. You also need to be creative, resourceful, responsible and adaptable.
General academic entrance requirements can be found on UCT’s website, while specific qualification requirements can be found in the Science Faculty Handbook (for BSc) or Commerce Faculty Handbook(for B Business Science or B Comm).

Career opportunities

A wide variety of well-remunerated careers are open to graduates in Computer Science who are in high demand.  Some examples include:

  • Systems Analyst/Designer: These people are in the link between the programmer and the user, converting the user’s requirements into system designs.
  • Programmer (This is an entry level position): These are the people who convert systems designs into a form understood by the computer. Application programmers are concerned more with business requirements, whereas technical programmers are concerned primarily with more complex tasks.
  • Technical specialists: These are experts in areas such as Data Communication Networks, Databases and Operating Systems.
  • Research and development: in both University and commercial worlds is a very rewarding experience for those that are academically minded.

Postgraduate Students

The Department of Computer Science at UCT is a leading research institution in South Africa. Our academic staff are nationally and internationally active and recognized. Our research addresses the issues confronting our country: we actively pursue international excellence while addressing local needs.
We are looking for creative and enterprising students to join us. Postgraduate study in our Department means taking part in our research programmes, because all postgraduate degrees in Computer Science at UCT are research degrees. All degrees are evaluated externally by international experts, who have consistently praised their quality. Students publish internationally and frequently present their work at international conferences. Our graduates are actively recruited by national and international industry.
We can offer a unique learning and research experience. Our postgraduate programme promotes the professional growth of all participants. Exposure to local industry and the pressing issues confronting our profession in this country is part of the training. The study provides access to the network of commercial and industrial high-technology firms in this country and abroad which will position you for furthering your career. Our regular international exchange visits ensure that staff are kept up to date with the rapidly changing field. Foreign visitors allow students to benefit directly from their expertise and many students are given the opportunity to broaden their study and experience at international industrial and research centres.
Further information on Postgraduate Studies in the Computer Science department can be found in the Postgraduate Handbook.

Application Procedure

To apply for our Honours programme, go to the Honours application page. For any of our other postgraduate programmes:

  1. Please ensure that you first contact the department so that we know that you are applying and can expedite the application procedure.  For masters and doctoral applications please contact the appropriate course convenor.
  2. Then, follow the instructions on the UCT website. Applications for programmes by dissertation only are open throughout the year.

For programmes that include coursework (and this includes Honours) the closing date for applications for study in 2019 is 31 October 2018 .  Foreign students are advised to apply a month earlier in view of delays that have been experienced in getting study visas. More information can also be obtained from the Science Faculty.
The Computer Science postgraduate course convenors are as follows:

  • BSc (Hons) – Assoc. Prof. Michelle Kuttel – mkuttel at cs.uct.ac.za
  • MSc IT (conversion) – Prof. Tommie Meyer – mit@cs.uct.ac.za
  • MSc and PhD – Prof. Tommie Meyer – pgcoordinator at cs uct ac za

Degrees Offered

The postgraduate Computer Science degrees are as follows:

  • BSc(Hons): for applicants who hold an undergraduate degree in Computer Science.
  • MSc (conversion degree in Information Technology by Coursework and Dissertation): for applicants who hold an Honours degree in a subject other than Computer Science.
  • MSc (by Coursework and Dissertation): for applicants who hold an Honours degree (or four-year Bachelor) which has a large component of Computer Science
  • MSc (by Dissertation): for applicants who hold an Honours degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science
  • Doctorate: for applicants who already hold an Honours/Masters degree


UCT has information on funding for postgraduate students. Please download the latest funding booklet (2013). UCT has internal funding for postgraduate students which is made available only if you have applied to the NRF first. Funding may also be available within research programmes for masters and doctoral studies: this should be discussed with prospective supervisors.




General Queries: dept@cs.uct.ac.za
Website Queries: www@cs.uct.ac.za

Physical Address

Room 317 Computer Science Building
18 University Avenue
University of Cape Town
Cape Town
South Africa

Postal Address

Department of Computer Science
University of Cape Town
Private Bag X3
South Africa


+27 21 650 2663


+27 21 650 3551