University of Cape Town UCT Faculty of Humanities

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University of Cape Town UCT Faculty of Humanities

University of Cape Town UCT Faculty of Humanities – see details below:


With close to 6000 students, the Faculty of Humanities is the second largest faculty at the University of Cape Town. 75% of our student population is at undergraduate level. The Faculty comprises 16 vibrant academic departments located in three main clusters: the Arts, the Social Sciences and the Performing and Creative Arts. Common to all is a focus on the human condition, in all its dimensions.

With four SARChI Research Chairs, 2 Mellon Research Chairs as well as 86 new and renewed NRF-rated researchers, UCT Faculty of Humanities enjoys a strong tradition in interdisciplinary research and teaching.  Our academics equip students with skills that are crucial for engaging with the material and non-material aspects of being human. We produce exceptional graduates who possess imagination, insight, mental agility and analytical skills. We prepare young people for a variety of career paths in the public and private sectors, in the media space, in the NGO sector and in research and academia.

Geographically our academic departments are housed on four UCT campuses, one in the city centre and three in Rondebosch. Hiddingh Campus is in the heart of Cape Town on the site of UCT’s predecessor, The South African College, and houses the Michaelis School of Fine Art; the Drama Department and The Institute for Creative Arts (ICA). The majority of our academic departments are located on Upper Campus, while the School of Dance and the South African College of Music are located on Lower Campus. University of Cape Town UCT Faculty of Humanities

UCT Faculty of Humanities is an Afropolitan institution, a centre of excellence on the continent and an intellectual meeting point between Africa and the world.

SARCHi Research Chairs:

1.Professor Carolyn Hamilton

2.Professor Rajend Mesthrie

3.Professor Abdulkader Tayob

4.Professor Lungisile Ntsebeza

Mellon Research Chairs:

  • Dr Matthias Brenzinger: Centre for African Language Diversity
  • Professor Fiona Ross: The First Thousand Days of life

Click here to read more about Humanities research institutes.

NRF rated researchers:

There are a total of *89 NRF-rated Researchers in the Faculty of Humanities. Currently, our overall ratings for new or renewed NRF ratings for researchers is: 5 A, 29 B, 46 C and 6 Y. (*as at November 2017) Read more here.


Distinguished Teacher Awards:

The Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA) is the highest accolade given to teaching staff at all levels within the university and recognises excellent teaching. The following are current members of staff of the Faculty of Humanities who have received the award:

Academic Department Year of award
Mr N Bakker School of Education 1988
Professor H J Snyman School of Languages and Literatures 1989
Associate Professor L Marx English Language and Literature 1992
Professor N Worden Historical Studies 1992
Mrs G Solomons School of Languages and Literatures 1993
Associate Professor C Weare Drama 1993
Associate Professor M Adhikari Historical Studies 1995
Associate Professor R Mendelsohn Historical Studies 1996
Professor D H Foster Psychology 1999
Professor D Benatar Philosophy 1999
Professor V Bickford-Smith Historical Studies 2000
Associate Professor R S Edgecombe English Language and Literature 2001
Professor H Philips Historical Studies 2001
Professor A Mager Historical Studies 2002
Associate Professor B Liebl South African College of Music 2003
Dr H Schomer Psychology 2004
Dr P Anderson English Language and Literature 2005
Dr Z Erasmus Sociology 2006
Associate Professor J Bennett African Gender Institute 2007
Dr V Everson School of Languages and Literatures 2008
Associate Professor C Clarkson English Language and Literature 2009
Associate Professor M Steyn Sociology 2009
Associate Professor M Campbell South African College of Music 2011
Dr S Levine Social Anthropology 2011
Dr H MacDonald Social Anthropology 2013
Dr H Twiddle English Language and Literature 2013
Dr I Rijsdijk Centre for Film and Media Studies 2013
Dr J Hardman School of Education 2015
Dr A Reisenberger School of Languages and Literatures 2015

UCT Book Awards:

The UCT Book Award recognises the publication of outstanding books written by members of staff. Published works in any category, including monographs, textbooks, novels, collections and popularisations are eligible for consideration by the Book Award Committee.

  • Dr Litheko Modisane (Centre for Film and Media Studies) received the 2016 UCT Book Award for his new book South Africa’s Renegade Reels. He wrote the book while doing his post-doc at UCT and the university of Michigan between 2010 and 2011. He has subsequently given talks on the book in various places including at Wits, UCT, University of Michigan, and the New School University in New York.
  • Associate Professor Sa’diyya Shaikh (Department of Religious Studies) received the 2015 UCT Book Award for  Sufi Narratives of Intimacy.Her book combines feminism and Sufism in such a unique way that critics have labelled it “ground-breaking” and “pioneering”
  • The 2014 UCT Book Award was presented to Professor Nicoli Nattrass (School of Economics) for her book The AIDS Conspiracy: Science Fights Back. This is the second time that Prof Nattrass recives this award; the first was in 2005 for her book, The Moral Economy of AIDS in South Africa.
  • Sirkusboere, a novel by Sonja Loots (School of Languages and Literaturesreceived the UCT Book Award in 2013.
  • The Jewish Book Council announced in 2010 that Place and Displacement in Jewish History and Memory: Zakor V’makor,edited by David Cesarani, Tony Kushner and Milton Shain (2009), placed as joint runner-up in the annual National Jewish Book Award in the category of Anthologies and Collections.
  • In 2009 Professor Pippa Skotnes of the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts was awarded the prize for her work Claim to the Country: The Archive of Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd.
  • In 2009 Prof Nigel Penn of the Department of Historical Studies was recognised for his book Forgotten Frontier: Colonist and Khoisan on the Cape’s Northern Frontier in the 19th Century.
  • The UCT Book Award for 2007 was presented to Professor Bill Nasson of the historical studies department for his book Britannia’s Empire – Making a British World (Tempus, 2004). This was his second such award.
  • The 2006 UCT Book Award was presented to Professor Peter Knox-Shaw, an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of English Language and Literature, for his work Jane Austen and the Enlightenment. Knox-Shaw was a full-time member and senior lecturer of the English department from 1975 to 1991.


The Faculty of Humanities is the largest faculty at UCT, with approximately 6000 students, of which 79% are undergraduates. Students from 65 countries study in the Faculty, many of whom are Semester Study Abroad students.

The Faculty comprises 15 academic departments in three main clusters- the Arts, the Social Sciences and the Creative and Performing Arts- located on three campuses (Upper, Lower and Hiddingh).

The present Faculty was formed in 1999, as a result of a merger of the Faculties of Arts, Social Sciences, Education, Music and the Michaelis School of Fine Art.

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5 thoughts on “University of Cape Town UCT Faculty of Humanities

  1. Emmily Mukuve

    I’m currently doing my 4th year in Bachelors of Arts in Social Work (Honors). I want to do My MA degree in clinical social at UCT. How do I go about applying?

  2. Motshidisi Sebeela


    I would like to know more about the PhD programme. Do you offer courses and dissertation?


  3. Jonathan Molise

    I have just completed my Masters degree in Development Studies and I want to further my studies and do PhD. Do you offer PhD in the related field??

  4. Chris Masocha

    Chris Masocha
    I am a holder of a Master of Arts in Development Studies and would like to pursue a PhD in that field

  5. Nomvula Mguni

    I am a Member of Parliament in Zimbabwe with Hoors in Environmental Public Health and a Masters in Public Policy and Adminstration Management seeking to pesure a PHD in agrofood systems and food security .


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