The University of Cape Town (UCT) is a public research university located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. UCT was founded in 1829 as the South African College making it the oldest higher education institute in South Africa. In terms of full university status, it is jointly the oldest university in South Africa and the oldest extant university in Sub-Saharan Africa alongside Stellenbosch University which received full university status on the same day in 1918.
Although UCT was founded by a private act of Parliament in 1918, the Statute of the University of Cape Town (issued in 2002 in terms of the Higher Education Act) sets out its structure and roles and places the Chancellor - currently, Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe - as the ceremonial figurehead and invests real leadership authority in the Vice Chancellor, currently Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng, who is accountable to the University Council. Consisting of 57 departments organised in 6 faculties and the multidisciplinary Centre for Higher Education Development, the university has approximately 29000 to 30000 students in the liberal arts, pure sciences and professional degrees ranging from Bachelor's degree (NQF 7) to Doctoral degree level (NQF 10). A vibrant student community consisting of over 100 societies and clubs caters to diverse interests such as religion, politics, culture, community outreach and sport, prominently appearing in national leagues such as, but not limited to, the Varsity Cup. The historic (and ongoing) academic, sporting and political rivalry between UCT and Stellenbosch University brought about the nickname "Ikeys". Stretching over six campuses in the Cape Town suburbs of Rondebosch, Hiddingh, Observatory, Mowbray and the V&A Waterfront, the medium of instruction is solely in the English language.
UCT is the highest-ranked African university in the QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and its Commerce, Law, and Medicine Faculties are consistently placed among the hundred best internationally. It is the only African member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), within the World Economic Forum, which is made up of 26 of the world's top universities. Five alumni, staff members and researchers associated with UCT have won the Nobel Prize. As of March 2020, 35 UCT staff members are A-rated NRF researchers (constituting 30% of the national total) and 88 staff members are members of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa.
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