Study in South Africa: University of Cape Town Ranking, Tuition fees, and Admission Requirements

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa’s oldest university and leading institution of learning in cape town in the western cape province of South Africa.

UTC in 1829 officially kicked off for its first academic session and then developed into a fully-fledged university between 1880 and 1900.

Tourists to cape town traveling along the M3 road cannot but notice the enviable sight of the ivy-clad walls of the University of Cape Town (UCT) on the hills as they travel through to the south peninsula.

University of Cape Town Ranking, Tuition fees, and Admission Requirements

University of Cape Town Ranking

According to the QS world university rankings, UCT is the highest-ranked African university. It achieved a rank of 156 in the 2011 QS world university rankings, making it the only African university in the top 200.

The university also prides itself on having about 60 research units and 35 A-rated researchers, a rating awarded by the national research foundation in recognition of them being leading international scholars in their fields.

University of Cape Town Admission Requirements

  • UCT offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs across its six faculties: Commerce, Engineering and built environment, Law, Health Sciences, Humanities and science, Extramural studies.
  • The University of Cape Town offers a range of courses in their undergraduate and post-graduate schools including a center for extramural studies that offer opportunities for on-going adult learning to the public.
  •  A range of undergraduate diplomas and certificates and postgraduate diplomas are also available.
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University of Cape Town Entry Requirements

Undergraduate Diploma Study

The minimum need for admission to undergraduate diploma study is a national senior certificate (NSC) as certified by umalusi with an achievement rating of 3 (moderate achievement, 40-49%) or better in four recognized NSC 20-credit subjects.

Bachelor’s Degree Program

To be eligible for admission to degree study, applicants need to meet minimum requirements for eligibility:

  • Applicants holding a South African national senior certificate need to pass a minimum of four subjects at a rating of 4 (adequate achievement, 50-59%) or better from a designated list of subjects relevant to their respective degree of study.
  • Applicants holding a South African senior certificate need matriculation endorsement
  • International applicants willing to enroll for any degree course must qualify for a matriculation exemption from the South African matriculation board.
  • For international applicants, all credentials will be subject to reviews by the admissions committee of intended departments to check the standards according to the Ontario educational system.

International students should have:

  • a residency permit and a study permit
  • Medical aid cover
  • Valid international passport
  • Transcripts of their results
  • A certificate showing fluency in English language.
  • They must also meet UCT’s language requirements, as well as certain minimum faculty entry requirements.
  • The language of instruction and examination at UCT is English. International applicants who are non-native speakers of English have to pass specific language tests.

Minimum subject requirements for each faculty:

  • Commerce – satisfactory pass in mathematics in the final year of schooling.
  • Engineering and the built environment – satisfactory pass in mathematics in the final year of schooling. Applicants for engineering and geomatics also need a satisfactory pass in chemistry and/or physics. Applicants for architectural studies must submit a portfolio of creative work.
  • Health sciences – satisfactory pass in mathematics and chemistry and/or physics
  • Humanities and law – satisfactory passes in English. A pass in mathematics is recommended for law.
  • Science – satisfactory passes in mathematics and a natural science subject (chemistry, physical science or biology). If students have not completed physics as part of their school-leaving examinations, they might not be eligible for certain study options in science.
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Entry requirements for a Postgraduates degree program

The criteria for admission to postgraduate diplomas and honors, masters and doctoral degrees vary from one program to another. Prospective applicants are advised to consult the faculty concerned directly to determine the requirements for admission.

Minimum Language Proficiency

  • All applicants must have attained a certain level of proficiency in English and are required to submit evidence of this, as outlined below as part of their application to study.
  • South African senior certificate undergraduate applicants to UCT must have achieved a pass of 40% or more on the higher grade in English (first or second language) at senior certificate level.

Language requirements for international applicants

UCT language policy in accordance with applicants holding non-south African school-leaving certificates must have

A pass in the English language at A-level, IGCSE, GCSE or O-level, international baccalaureate or a level equal to any of those listed here.

A recent overall band score of 7.0 on the international English language testing system(IELTS), with no individual element of the test scoring below 6.0.

University of Cape Town Tuition Structure

The general fees quoted for the courses/degree you are doing are being quoted yearly. UCT raises its student tuition fees every year and publishes a new student fees handbook to communicate what the new fees will be for the year.

In the student handbook, the fees quoted for your degree are for South African citizens and permanent residents. As an international student, you will pay more than the prescribed annual fee, usually multiplied by a set factor.

Application fees

The appropriate fees reflected below should accompany all applications:

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Undergraduate and postgraduate applications from South Africa and the SADC regionR100
Undergraduate and postgraduate applications from outside the SADC regionR300
GSB applications from South Africa and African citizens/residentsR1250
GSB applications from outside of AfricaUS$250


  • Application fees are not refundable.
  • Paying an application fee does not mean that your application will be successful.
  • The application fee may be paid by cheque, postal order, electronic funds transfer (EFT) or credit card.
  • Cash payments may be made only at the cashier’s office, Kramer building, cross-campus road, middle campus UCT, Rondebosch.

Tuition fees

For an academic year, undergraduates will pay between $2,500 – $4,500 while postgraduates will pay between $2,700-$3,000 for their programs.

Students at the University of Cape Town pay tuition fees for every course taken. This University of Cape Town tuition fees vary from course to course and cover:

  • Registration
  • All charges for classes, tutorials, and laboratories
  • University examinations
  • Library access
  • Compulsory personal accident insurance
  • The use of general sporting facilities
  • In the case of medical students, hospital fees for clinical instruction

Estimate of fees

External bursars often request an estimate of student fees before awarding the bursary. This can be obtained from:

Student Handbook

Cost of Living in South Africa

The cost of living is not too high. With about $400 feeding, accommodation, travel, and others can be covered monthly

Contact us today if you need assistance in any way to study in this prestigious institution of learning.


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