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Why UCT?


The University of Cape Town was founded in 1829 as the South African College, a high school for boys. In 1886 the Professor of Chemistry, Paul Daniel Hahn, convinced the Council to admit four women into his chemistry class on a trial basis. Owing to the exceptional standard of work by the women students, the College decided to admit women students permanently in honour of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1887.

UCT was formally established as a university in 1918, on the basis of the Alfred Beit bequest and additional substantial gifts from mining magnates Julius Wernher and Otto Beit. The new university attracted substantial support from well-wishers in the Cape Town area and, for the first time, a significant state grant.

Ten years later, in 1928, the university was able to move the bulk of its facilities to the magnificent site at Groote Schuur on the slopes of Devil’s Peak on land bequeathed to the nation by Cecil John Rhodes as the site for a national university, where it celebrated its centenary the following year.


Today, UCT is rated as the foremost African university in a number of international ratings, often surpassing well-known international universities in these ratings. As a medium-sized, research-led university, UCT offers high levels of student-staff interaction, excellent teaching based on relevant South African, African and international research, and financial support for all who qualify for entrance.

UCT offers vibrant student life in the form of a large number of student societies. The student body is diverse and challenging debate is part of UCT’s culture.

We welcome you to our community and wish you a unique educational experience.