The University of the Western Cape (UWC)

Vision and Mission
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is a national university, alert to its African and international context. It is committed to excellence in teaching and research, to nurturing the cultural diversity of South Africa and to responding to the needs of a society in transition. Drawing on its proud experience in the liberation struggle, the University is aware of its academic role in helping build an equitable and dynamic society.

Message from the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Brian O’Connell
UWC is an engaged university, remaining responsive to the social and economic development imperatives of the country. The University is one of South Africa’s leading higher education institutions, and is ranked in the top five in the country in the research areas of Development Studies, History, Physics, Biology and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Molecular Biology and Genetics. As an historically disadvantaged university, UWC is committed to supporting Africa’s development through research and to providing teaching and learning opportunities that are contextually responsive to the challenges of globalisation and which enhance the students’
capacities as change agents. In doing so, it has one of the lowest fee structures in South Africa.

Undergraduate programmes
• Community & Health Sciences promotes primary health care and its School of Public Health is a designated World Health Organisation.
• Arts offers high quality education which enables graduates to pursue careers in many fields.
• The Law Faculty offers legal training and carries out legal research within all branches of the legal profession.
• Dentistry, one of five dental schools in South Africa, produces 47% of all the country’s dentists.
• Natural Sciences offers programmes such as Water Studies, Herbal Sciences, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology, Chemistry, Population Studies, Materials Science, Marine culture, Reproductive Physiology and Environmental Science.
• Economic & Management Sciences offers programmes in accounting, economics, business management, finance, politics, industrial psychology (human resource management), information systems, development studies and public administration.
• The Education Faculty covers fields such as pre- and in-service teacher education, language education, science and mathematics education, curriculum studies, adult education, further education, higher education, policy studies, special needs education, the history, sociology and philosophy of education, as well as
educational leadership and management.
Postgraduate programmes and Research The Arts faculty hosts the Centre for Humanities Research, recognised as the leading centre of its kind in South Africa. Cutting-edge research by the Institute for
Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies and by academics in the Community Law Centre in human rights law and children’s rights continue to impact on policy formulation and development at national and international levels. The African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy works towards the development of a more inclusive citizenship in the region and the African Continent.

The UNESCO Centre of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education in Africa, under the UNESCO Chair, has championed research capacity development in these areas. UWC has been awarded 11 South African Research Chairs – in Poverty & Agrarian Studies; Astrophysics; Bioinformatics & Human Health; Mathematics Education; Nano-Electrochemistry and Sensor Technology; Microbial Genomics; Earth observation applications for water resources assessment and management; Multi-Level Government, law and development; Nuclear Science; and Health Systems, complexity and social change.

The South African National Bioinformatics Initiative is one of 18 comparable centres worldwide, hosting a dedicated super Cray Computer for research. The University hosts a National Centre of Excellence, the
DST/MinTek Nanotechnology Innovation Centre (NIC) Biolabels Unit as well as a Biosensors Lab, and the Department of Science and Technology has recently established a Nanoscience Centre at UWC to develop South Africa’s human capital needs in this area.

The International Centre for Indigenous Phototherapy Studies (TICIPS) is a major UWC/University of Missouri (USA) project on indigenous knowledge systems within the South African Herbal Science and Medicine Institute. The University has major research programmes in Biotechnology and hydrogen fuel cells (instead of fossil fuel) as energy resource and hosts a DST (Department of Science and Technology) National Centre of Competence in hydrogen fuel cell technology.

In 1963, UWC capped 23 students with undergraduate degrees. In 2011, the University capped over 4000 graduates – 74 of whom where PhDs.

UWC is a metaphor for South Africa – a place of hope to action through
knowledge. Partner with us in our continent’s journey!

Join UWC in its pledge to find solutions for the challenges facing Africa and the world.
• For International Relations, contact Mr Leolyn Jackson at
• For all Research-related queries and programmes, contact Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic, Prof Ramesh Bharuthram at
• For all Funding Partnership Projects, contact Pro Vice-Chancellor, Ms Patricia Lawrence at