Schools South Africa

University of the Western Cape

The University of the Western Cape is a research-driven institution that responds to the requirements of a world in change by providing excellent teaching, learning, and research opportunities as well as the creation and application of new knowledge.

The University continues to empower its students, staff, and partners to advance its mission of serving the greater public good and looking for humane and sustainable solutions to the problems of our time, firmly rooted in its local and sub-regional context and inspired by its distinctive academic role in creating a more equitable and dynamic society. This is accomplished through rigorous academic standards, intellectual rigor, and fruitful collaborations and networks that transcend disciplinary and geographical borders.

About the University of the Western Cape

A public research university located in Bellville, close to Cape Town, South Africa is known as the University of the Western Cape (UWC; Afrikaans: Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland). The university was founded in 1959 by the South African government exclusively as an institution for people of color. Other universities in Cape Town include Stellenbosch University, Cape Peninsula the University of Technology, and the University of Cape Town (UCT), which was founded by English-speaking whites (originally for Afrikaans-speaking whites).

The 1959 Extension of University Education Act had a direct impact on UWC’s establishment. This law made it possible for higher education in South Africa to be segregated. Only a small number of non-white universities accepted students of color. Other “ethical” universities like the University of Zululand and the University of the North were also established at this time. It was a multiracial and integrated institution even before apartheid was abolished in South Africa in 1994.

Under the direction of the University of South Africa, UWC originally began as a “bush college,” a university institution without authority. The institution only provided a little amount of training for entry-level to middle-level jobs in government agencies and schools.

The majority of the teaching staff was Caucasian during the school’s early years. The University of Stellenbosch supplied a large number of lecturers. The majority of lectures were delivered in Afrikaans. N.J. Sieberhagen served as the first rector (from 1960 until 1973). The university was founded as a modest institution with only 17 faculty members and 166 students enrolled in its first year. The organization was granted university status in 1970, enabling it to confer its diplomas and degrees.

The board and personnel were predominately white throughout the first 15 years, backing the National Party and apartheid. Adam Small, the dean of the philosophy department, was one of the rare exceptions. Due to his participation in the Black Consciousness Movement, Small was fired in 1973. Apart from professors like Small, there were a lot of students who were committed to the Black Consciousness Movement and actively engaged in the fight against apartheid. Richard E. van der Ross, the first colored rector, was chosen in 1975 as a result of student protests against the university’s conservative board and a lack of involvement.

In the years that followed, the university steadily distanced itself from the apartheid and embraced a more liberal environment. The university explicitly renounced the apartheid philosophy in its mission statement in 1982, and the University of the Western Cape Act granted it the same autonomy as white universities the following year.

Many UWC students worked on Bush Radio, an anti-apartheid media project that transmitted political and cultural radio programming via cassette tape due to the lack of a license to broadcast on a traditional radio platform, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The station began broadcasting in 1993 as a pirate radio station and later obtained a license to operate as a community radio station in South Africa.

Making UWC an “intellectual home of the left,” Rector Jakes Gerwel focused on social and political issues. Increasing numbers of pupils from underprivileged backgrounds attended the university. In addition to persons of color, more and more black students are enrolling. Cecil Abrahams succeeded Gerwel in 1995. Brian O’Connell then took over in 2001. 

Throughout the 2002 school reorganization, UWC maintained its status as an independent institution. UWC was elected to the OCWC board in 2007 and is the only institution from Africa to be a member of the organization.

A lot of research is conducted at University of the Western Cape. The majority of the academic personnel have doctorates, making them highly qualified. Most departments offer graduate programs, some of which have the greatest student enrollments in the nation. There are numerous institutions and centers with a significant focus on research. Also, some important projects and programs rely on faculty and departmental expertise. Moreover, the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and the Western Cape collaborate on projects together. At UWC, postgraduates make up 20% of the student body.

Since 2015, UWC, like other universities in South Africa, has experienced periodic student demonstrations. With each new protest era, the causes of the demonstrations shift. They started with the Fees Must Fall movement, whose major objective was to have the government pay for university tuition, and they later expanded to include concerns about student housing and safety.

The university’s academic operations are frequently suspended as a result of these demonstrations. The most recent suspension of academic activity occurred from February 5 to February 7, 2020, as a result of a delay in financial clearance, which prevented many students from registering for the new academic year. UWC research has a worldwide component. 

A flow of students and distinguished scholars from different nations is brought in to enhance the environment thanks to UWC’s extensive network of international partners. Some significant projects are carried out together with foreign partners. Several UWC academics give presentations at conferences throughout the world and write in publications and journals that are well-known elsewhere.

Also, there is a solid and expanding link with organizations in other African, European, and North American nations that have resulted in research alliances, cooperative capacity building, and a flow of postgraduate students to UWC. Graduates of the UWC Honours and Master’s programs have also been awarded numerous significant overseas scholarships. In foreign doctoral programs, they have performed well.

According to Webometrics, the university was ranked 885th globally, 7th in Africa, and 6th in South Africa in 2014. The university’s faculties of law and dentistry were regarded as the finest in Africa by Webometrics.

Faculty and Departments At the University of the Western Cape

Faculty Of Arts And Humanities

  • Department of African Language Studies
  • Department of Afrikaans and Nederlands
  • Department of Anthropology
  • Department of English
  • Department of Foreign Languages
  • Department of Geography, Environmental Studies, and Tourism
  • Department of History
  • Department of Library and Information Science
  • Department of Linguistics
  • Department of Philosophy
  • Department of Religion and Theology
  • Department of Sociology
  • Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

Faculty Of Community And Health Sciences

  • Department of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Department of Physiotherapy
  • Department of Psychology
  • Department of Social Work
  • Department of Sport, Recreation and Exercise Science

Faculty Of Dentistry

  • Department of Community Oral Health
  • Department of Conservative Dentistry
  • Department of Maxillofacial and Oral Pathology
  • Department of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery and Anaesthesiology and Sedation
  • Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Department of Oral Hygiene
  • Department of Oral Medicine and Periodontology
  • Department of Orthodontics
  • Department of Paediatric Dentistry
  • Department of Prosthetic Dentistry

Faculty Of Economic And Management Sciences

  • Department of Accounting
  • Department of Economics
  • Department of Industrial Psychology
  • Department of Information Systems
  • Department of Political Studies

Faculty Of Education

  • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Department of Educational Studies
  • Department of Language Education

Faculty Of Law

  • Department of Criminal Justice & Procedure
  • Department of Mercantile and Labour Law
  • Department of Private Law
  • Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence

Faculty Of Natural Sciences

  • Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology
  • Department of Biotechnology
  • Department of Chemistry
  • Department of Computer Science
  • Department of Earth Sciences
  • Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics
  • Department of Medical Biosciences
  • Department of Physics and Astronomy
  • Department of Statistics and Population Studies

FAQS about the University of the Western Cape

Q. How many Students Does the University of the Western Cape admit per year?

A. The University is among the institutions that don’t provide data on acceptance rates. However, it is a large (uniRank enrollment range: 15,000-19,999 students) coeducational South African higher education institution.

Q. Is the University of the Western Cape a Federal or State School? 

A. It is a public university.

Q. What is the cut-off point for the University of the Western Cape?

A. The candidate must have obtained a minimum of 27 points for degree studies and a minimum of 23 points for diploma studies to be admitted.

Q. What is the University of the Western Cape Official Website?


Q. Is the University of the Western Cape a good school?

A. Yes. It is ranked #625 in Best Global Universities. The university is ranked 601 in World University Rankings by Times Higher Education and has an overall score of 3.8 stars. 

Q. Are there hostels at the University of the Western Cape?

A. Yes.

Q. When is the admission form coming out for the University of the Western Cape?

A. Check the school’s website.

Q. Who founded the University of the Western Cape?

A. The University was founded by the South African government as a university for Coloured people only.

Q. What are the requirements for the University of the Western Cape?

A. A National Senior Certificate with an accomplishment level of 3 (moderate achievement, 40–49%) or better in four recognized NSC 20-credit subjects, as certified by Umalusi, is the prerequisite for admission.

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