University of Cape Town

PhD Programmes



UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College, a high school for boys.The College had a small tertiary-education facility that grew substantially after 1880, when the discovery of gold and diamonds in the north – and the resulting demand for skills in mining – gave it the financial boost it needed to grow.


One of UCT's strategic goals is contribute to South Africa's development challenges.

The aim is to share knowledge that will benefit society. By fostering civic literacy in students, and providing them with knowledge and skills, UCT aims to build a more just, equitable and unified South African society.

University Ranking

World University Rankings by Times Higher Education
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World University Rankings is a vital resource that provides the definitive list of the world's best universities.
Academic Ranking of World Universities by Shanghai Jiao Tong University
ARWU World University rankings is the first world university ranking. It ranks the world's top 1000 colleges and universities based on objective indicator.
QS World University Rankings by TopUniversities
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QS World University Rankings is one of the top international rankings measuring the popularity and performance of universities all over the world.
Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News & World Report
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Best Global Universities Rankings by U.S. News & World Report presents all the top universities from the U.S. and 60 other countries around the world.


Student services

These societies are organisations whose primary aim is either to enhance the learning and understanding of students at UCT or to bring students in contact with the leaders in their field of studies. Many of these societies hold seminars on various topics and bring industry leaders to UCT while others concentrate on community development programmes.

Housing services

UCT has a three-tier residence system that provides different services, governance and management to support undergraduate and postgraduate students on and off campus.

Generally speaking, a student will initially enter a fist-tier residence (full catering), move to a second-tier residence (senior catering or self-catering) in subsequent years, and then on to third-tier accommodation (semi-autonomous self-catering).

Library services

UCT Libraries offer state-of-the-art technology, vast collections of reading and research material, and the specialized services of friendly, efficient, and helpful staff.

In keeping with its central role in the academic life of the university, the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library lies at the heart of Upper Campus, while its eight branch libraries are set in locations convenient to the faculties. 

ICT services

Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) is a support organisation that helps staff and students to use information and communication technologies to enhance their work.ICTS offers different services and support for staff and students.

Medical services

The Student Wellness Service offers a comprehensive outpatient medical service by both medical practitioners and nurses, who are dedicated to helping students to remain healthy, and to make the correct life choices while pursuing their academic goals. Students are encouraged to seek assistance and guidance as early as possible.

Student Life

Campus life

The GSB's Breakwater Campus is situated in the heart of Cape Town's most popular tourist attraction, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. The campus derives its name from the fact that the site once housed convicts who built the breakwater for the Cape Town harbour in 1861.The present building dates from 1901. It was built and used as an industrial prison until 1926 when it became a hostel for migrant workers. By the 1990s, the building had been left empty and derelict, In 1991, it was extensively renovated to accommodate the GSB. At that time two new buildings were added to the complex to house the Breakwater Lodge hotel and restaurant facilities.

Sports facilities

UCT offers more than 40 sporting codes, with a total membership of around 9 000 students and staff. So, this is a great opportunity to carry on with the sport you loved at school or to try your hand at something completely new.

Whether you’re interested in athletics, rugby, netball and soccer or archery, paragliding, skydiving and yachting, there will be something for you.

Student clubs

There are more than 100 student societies and organisations at UCT reflecting a wide range of interests, including academic, religious, cultural, social and political activities.Each society is run by students and any student may be a member. Societies hold a number of events every year including an AGM where the new leadership is elected for the New Year.Each society is partially funded by the University and partially by subscription fees which the societies charge.

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa


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