South Africa’s oldest university, founded in 1829, has one of the most picturesque campuses in the world.
Between 1902 to 1918, when UCT was formally designated as a university, the Medical School was established and engineering courses and a Department of Education were introduced. Today, the academic project is arranged across eight faculties. The University is also home to Groote Schuur Hospital, where the world’s first heart transplant by Dr Chris Barnard took place in 1967.
Apart from establishing itself as a leading research and teaching university in the decades that followed, UCT provided 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 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. Currently, approximately half of UCT’s students are black and just under half of the student body is female. The student body also comprises 22% international students who contribute to the rich diversity of UCT. Like the City of Cape Town, UCT has a vibrant, cosmopolitan community. Staff and students come from over 100 countries and the University has built links, partnerships and exchange agreements with leading African and international institutions that further enrich the academic, social and cultural diversity of the campus.
UCT is regarded as one of the top research institutions on the Continent. Ranked 146 in the Times Higher Education World Rankings in 2009, UCT has more “A” rated researchers than any other South African university. It has 27 SARChl Chairs and 322 NRF-rated researchers.