University of the Western Cape

University of the Western Cape (UWC) is a public research university in Bellville, Cape Town, South Africa.

In 1959, the South African government established the University College of the Western Cape (UCWC) as a constituent college of the University of South Africa (UNISA) for people classified as "Coloured" under the apartheid system. The university was intended to provide limited training for lower- to middle-level positions in schools, the civil service, and other institutions designed to serve the Coloured community. The first group of 166 students enrolled at UCWC in 1960. The university initially offered only a limited range of courses, primarily in education and teacher training.

UCWC faced numerous challenges in its early years. The university was underfunded and understaffed, and its facilities were inadequate. The institution was also subject to the oppressive laws of apartheid, which limited the opportunities for Coloured people in South Africa. Despite these challenges, UCWC quickly established itself as a leading institution for Coloured education. The university attracted many talented students and faculty, and it played an important role in the development of Coloured intellectual and cultural life.

In 1970, UCWC was granted full university status and was renamed the University of the Western Cape (UWC). This gave the university the right to award its own degrees and diplomas, and it further enhanced its reputation as a leading institution of higher learning. UWC continued to grow and develop in the 1970s and 1980s. The university expanded its academic offerings, increased its student enrollment, and improved its facilities. However, the university also remained a target for government repression during this period.

UWC students and faculty were active participants in the struggle against apartheid. The university played a significant role in organizing and mobilizing students against the government's racist policies. UWC was also a haven for many anti-apartheid activists, including Nelson Mandela, who visited the university in 1990 after his release from prison.

The end of apartheid in 1994 marked a new era for UWC. The university was no longer subject to the restrictions of apartheid, and it was free to pursue its mission of promoting social justice. UWC has continued to grow and develop in the post-apartheid era. The university has expanded its academic offerings, increased its research output, and strengthened its international partnerships. UWC has also become more diverse, with students from all over South Africa and the world. Today, UWC is a leading research university with a strong commitment to social justice. The university is dedicated to providing its students with the skills and knowledge they need to make a positive impact on the world.

University of the Western Cape is ranked as the #10 top university in South Africa during 2024. The rank decreased by 2 points from last year.

University Profile

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2024 Ranking #10
University Name University of the Western Cape
Acronym UWC
Year Established 1959
Motto Respice prospice
Motto in English Look to the future, learn from the past
Colors Blue and gold


The university is located in Bellville, Western Cape. Find the address and map of the university below.

Address Private Bag X17, Bellville, Western Cape, South Africa


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Phone +27 (21) 959 2911
Fax +27 (21) 959 3126
Website University of the Western Cape Website
Email Click here to send email
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Programs and Courses

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Bachelor's Degrees Master's Degrees Doctorate Degrees Diplomas
Arts & Humanities n/a n/a
Business & Social Sciences n/a n/a
Engineering n/a n/a n/a n/a
Language & Cultural Studies n/a n/a
Medicine & Health n/a n/a
Science & Technology n/a n/a

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Ranking History

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Admission Info

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International Students Allowed Yes
Student Body Men and Women
Admission Info Click here

Scholarship and Financial Aids

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