The University of Cape Town

About the University of Cape Town



UCT’s Role

To provide world-class excellence in teaching and research, and superbly trained graduates to support South Africa’s growing economy.  By independent measures, it is the premier research institution in South Africa and throughout Africa*.  Sited in the friendly, advanced infrastructure of the Cape, UCT offers the best “crucible” for learning in a rigorous and yet liberal environment, and makes a significant impact on Africa's training and cultural needs.

An Afropolitan University

Dr Max Price, UCT’s Vice Chancellor, writes in World University News about his mission to position UCT as a significant global player - the place to come to learn about Africa and African issues. More....

The University of Cape Town

Now over 180 years old, UCT numbers five Nobel Laureates amongst its renowned graduates. It is home to over 34% of South Africa’s A-rated researchers – regarded as world leaders in their fields by the National Research Foundation - and heads the league table in receipt of research grants funded by statutory funders e.g. FRD and MRC.  Some three-quarters of its students are studying the ‘hard’ subjects of Engineering, Sciences, Medicine, Law and Commerce.  It has strong research relations with the major UK Russell League universities at both postgraduate and research levels. 

UCT has been awarded one-fifth (39) out of the total of 197 national Chairs under the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI), established by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and managed by the NRF, to build scientific research and innovation capacity in the country.

Funding UCT

In 2014 UCT received 23% of its budget from the state, the balance being made up from student fees, research contracts, investment income, and donations from supporters in South Africa and around the world. Few grants are made by the state for the student-bridging programmes or capital building projects, thus UCT draws on its operating budget and the help of benefactors to complete its major innovative projects.


UCT has 26,300 students : 35% are postgraduate, 60% black, and over 50% female. 16% are international students, the majority hailing from other African countries.  75% of the South African Rhodes Scholars Class of 2015 at Oxford came from UCT.
In 2014, 981 permanent research or academic staff were employed in 6 faculties: Commerce, Engineering & Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, Sciences. The proportion of full-time academic staff qualified at the doctoral level was 72%.


Since the 1980’s, UCT pioneered and led in providing well-designed access programmes to talented people who have been disadvantaged by poor schooling.  These farsighted interventions:

  •   Identify talent, ability to succeed, and extra needs of under-  prepared school-leavers with specialised tests held
      throughout South Africa;
  •   Help these students bridge the gap with the academic support;
  •   Provide financial aid to help them live and learn at UCT

* UCT is highest ranked African university in the global world university rankings and is the first tertiary institution from any developing country with a placing in the Top 50 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for clinical, pre-clinical and health universities



SHAWCO graduates
Medical Students in SHAWCO clinic




Jameson Hall
Jameson Hall


Campus Gardens
Campus gardens