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2021 Undergraduate Plan

2021 Postgraduate Plan

Dear UCT Science Students

Here is some important information about the 2021 academic year, including what to expect and what arrangements you should put in place.

How do I register for the Science Faculty in 2021?

You will find all the information you need as follows:

As indicated in Official UCT announcements, the University and the Science Faculty will be guided by a physically distanced, low-density approach to teaching, which will continue until it is declared safe to move back to the full contact-environment that has defined teaching and learning at UCT and in the Science Faculty. 

This means that for the whole of 2021, all Science Faculty undergraduate courses (from 1st to final year) will run in a physically distanced learning mode (PDL), as follows:

  • All lectures online;
  • All courses to have invigilated final exams in venues on the UCT campus;
  • 2000 and 3000-level courses will have contact sessions (such as practicals) on campus.

Will this be the same for all of my courses?

The nature and frequency of the contact sessions will vary by department, but in all cases these will be run in a low density, physically distanced manner. This is because for a Science degree, some level of contact is needed to develop and assess critical skills and competencies, which is not possible online. The Science Faculty preparation for PDL is in line with international guidelines to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, prioritising the health and safety of our students and staff.

Do I need to be based in Cape Town in residence or living near campus?

Importantly, in order for students to take part successfully in the teaching and learning program of the faculty, each student is required to have sufficient connectivity and access to complete the expected 45 weekly hours throughout the semester and well as be able to participate in all required synchronous and contact sessions on Campus. Students must have term-time accommodation (UCT residence or private) that can provide this. At a minimum this will require:

  • Access to a computer with appropriate software and hardware to maintain stable internet connection and access relevant software.
  • Uninterrupted internet access with no data restrictions
  • Stable internet connectivity to the UCT required platforms (Vula, library resources, Office 365)
  • A stable learning environment in which to participate in the scheduled learning activities without interruption. 


  • students taking any 2000 or 3000-level courses must be in Cape Town, near the UCT campus, for the entire term time
  • students taking only 1000-level courses must be in Cape Town during the exam period only.

Can I stay in residence (or other Cape Town accommodation) even if I am only taking first year courses?

YES. The important thing is for you to make sure you have the best possible access to the internet, and if your home situation does not provide that, you should definitely make alternative arrangements. Note, however, that UCT residence positions are limited, and if you have not already applied, you need to check new residence applications page for full details on how to apply.

If, as a First Year Student, I choose to NOT stay in Cape Town, will I have to travel to UCT to write my final exams?

YES. This is a very important thing to factor into your planning. You will have to plan to travel to Cape Town and stay somewhere near campus for the whole of the exam period, which could mean both May and November if you have exams in both sessions. This means, of course, making arrangements for accommodation and meals for that period. There is no guarantee that UCT residence places will be available for that short period.

What kinds of support will be available to me during the year?

The University and the Science Faculty will ensure that students get help that they need with their academic studies as well as other things like health and well-being. Further detailed information on how to access this, including names and contact details for key people and resources, will be available soon via this website and on the Science Faculty 2021 Vula site.

Who do I contact if I have questions about any of the above information?

Please check this website every few days in case there are updates. If you have any queries, send them in an email to sci-science@uct.ac.za.

What if I am a postgraduate student?

In keeping with the broad UCT policy enunciated in the Postgraduate Online Task Team in December 2020, decisions on Postgraduate Teaching and Learning will be made by Program Convenors in consultation with appropriate Heads of Departments. Should these programs (Honours and taught MSc) require F2F teaching, tutorials or access to specialised laboratories, this will be supported by the Science Faculty to the extent that all Covid-19 health and safety protocols can be met.

Students accepted into one of our postgraduate programs should expect to hear directly from the program convenor in due course.

With regards,
Maano Ramutsindela

Dean of Science