The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university located in the port city of Cape Town, South Africa. Its campus is situated at the foot of Table Mountain’s Devil’s Peak, offering stunning views of the city.
Founded in 1829 as the South African College, UCT is oldest higher education institution in the country. In 1918 it was awarded full university status, allowing it to award degrees and be renamed the University of Cape Town.
The university’s motto ‘Spes Bona’ translates as ‘Good Hope’, which reflects the university’s official creed of optimism, dating back to when UCT was a centre of opposition to government policy in the apartheid years.
The university admitted its first black students, in small numbers, during the 1920s, although it wasn’t until the apartheid era was at its close that the demographic of students significantly changed. Today almost half of the university’s 22,000 students are black and just over half are female.
Today, the university claims one of the most diverse campuses within South Africa. Its stated aim is ‘to promote equal opportunity for everyone.’
UCT is split into six different faculties: Commerce, Engineering and the Built Environment, Science, Health Sciences, Law and Humanities. All of these faculties are supported by the university’s Centre for Higher Education Development, which addresses students’ teaching and learning demands. There are also over 100 clubs and societies that students can join.
The university is home to many of South Africa’s leading researchers and over 60 specialist research units; it hopes to eventually become Africa’s leading research university.
Its alumni includes the heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who performed the first successful heart transplant, and three Nobel laureates: the novelist JM Coetzee, chemist Sir Aaron Klug and the physicist Alan MacLeod Cormack.
UCT’s mascot is the tiger and its language of instruction is English.