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Wits offers international students the opportunity
to become part of an urban campus in Africa’s
leading commercial city.
Johannesburg, Gauteng

Wits gives you the edge

Changing your future by challenging your mind
The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, known as Wits, is renowned for its intellectual leadership and its commitment to nurturing critical thinkers, creative innovators, problem-posers and problem-solvers. ‘Witsies’ can look forward to delving into a comprehensive academic programme, they are exposed to and participate in leading research across twelve unique thrusts and constantly engage in current developments in South Africa, Africa and the global society.

Brief history and location
Studying at Wits offers students the opportunity to become part of an urban campus in Johannesburg, Africa’s leading commercial city and the powerhouse of the African continent. Spread over more than 100 hectares, Wits University has a distinctive capacity to contribute to the reconstruction and development of South Africa and Africa through research and the production of skilled, critical and adaptable graduates. With its more than 100 000 graduates in its 82-year history, Wits has made and will continue to make its mark nationally and internationally.

The University’s origins lie in the School of Mining Engineering that celebrates its centenary year in 2004. The University was formally inaugurated in 1922. Wits is home to almost 25 000 students and comprises seven major ‘clusters’ spread over Braamfontein and Parktown: East and West Campus, Sturrock Park, the Wits Education Campus, the Management Campus, the Medical School Campus and the Donald Gordon Medical Centre.

Entrance requirements
All applicants for undergraduate degrees must be in possession of a university entrance matriculation or an equivalent examination certified by the Matriculation Board. For some degrees such as medicine, engineering and commerce, there are additional requirements such as a minimum pass in mathematics.

Requirements for postgraduate students vary from faculty to faculty, but the minimum entrance requirement is a Bachelor’s degree. International students need to have a proven proficiency in the English language.

Faculties and teaching staff
The University is structured into five Faculties which comprise 37 Schools. The five Faculties are: l Commerce, Law and Management Engineering and the Built Environment Health Sciences Humanities Science. There are approximately 1 000 teaching staff at Wits. Wits has also produced 86 Rhodes Scholars and three Nobel Laureates over the years. The Jessup International Moot Law Competition was won by two ‘Witsies’ in 2002 and the first recipient of the National Geographic Research and Exploration prize was also a ‘Witsie’.

The University hosts 20 residences which accommodate 22% of the student population. Seven residences are on the main campus while the rest are off campus. International House, which caters largely for international students, opened in 2003.

Student facilities
The fully computerised Wits University library system comprises two main libraries and 14 divisional libraries. Students have access to over 740 000 book volumes and 12 000 journal titles. Specialist collections include rare and early books, the Mandela Memoirs, two Piper Tapestries and the Bartholomew Diaz Cross amongst others. Wits has full Internet and email access in its computer laboratories.

Wits has a wide range of sporting facilities including playing fields, tennis and squash courts, an indoor sports hall, swimming pools, a gymnasium and a practice tank for the Rowing Club. The University is home to the biggest football club in South Africa. The ‘Clever Boys’ is the only South African University team that competes in the Premier Soccer League and has three players in the South African national team. In addition, there are over 60 student societies catering for a diverse range of interests, including a club that caters for the social and cultural needs of international students.

The University also boasts over 14 museums and two art galleries housing a variety of rare and valuable artworks. The Wits School of Arts is one of the first integrated arts schools in South Africa that covers Fine Arts, Music, Dramatic Art, History of Art, Television and Film Studies, as well as Heritage and Tourism Studies. It is home to the Wits Theatre Complex which has staged close to 2000 different productions over its 20 year history.

The Faculty of Health Sciences offers a range of degrees in Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy and the Therapeutic Sciences. Training is offered with practical experience in five major hospitals in Johannesburg as well as several rural hospitals, the state of the art Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre and various clinics.

The Counselling, Careers and Development Unit offers graduate placement services to students while the Campus Health and Wellness Centre offers medical services and health-related educational programmes and advice to students. The Students’ Representative Council enjoys membership on all major university committees and councils.

The Matrix Student Centre and Mall houses numerous retailers that offer a wide range of quality commercial services to students and staff.

Wits has over 23 research entities, 10 of which are recognised Medical Research Council Units. Over R150 million per year is spent through contract and grant-funded research, most of this in the area of HIV and AIDS.

The University has a long history of research excellence, offering a strong foundation for postgraduate study. Over a third of the student body consists of postgraduate students.

Wits is home to nine A-rated scientists, who are conducting world significant research in areas ranging from bioinformatics and climatology to liver cancer and modelling and process synthesis. The University is also internationally recognised for its research in the fields of mining engineering, palaeo-anthropology, rock art and palaeontology.

The University has embarked on several research thrusts in 2004 including: HIV/AIDS, life-threatening diseases, environment, creatures great and small, origins of species and evolution, society, mining and engineering, molecular science, material science, commerce and telecommunications.

Several strong research and other collaborations exist between Wits and universities in Africa, the US, the UK, and Australia amongst others. Many research programmes are internationally funded by organisations like UNESCO and the WHO.

In the globalised world that we live in, there is a rapidly evolving process entailing the establishment of complex power and communication relations on a global basis between societies, cultures, institutions and individuals. One of the most powerful interpersonal tools of globalisation is the international exchange of academics and students. As an international University, Wits exists within global rather than local borders. The University engages at both levels in order to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas in the social, cultural, political and economic domains.

As part of the African Renaissance and the regeneration of Africa, the University has a fundamental role to play as a modern, research-focused, engaged and influential African University, an institution that champions African scholarship, that puts emphasis on African values, like Ubuntu, and an institution that celebrates achievement and success.

In the international arena, Wits is involved in the development of a significant range of linkages with international institutions including staff/student exchanges, joint research projects, the promotion of international mobility through conference attendance and the encouragement of post-doctoral fellows to conduct research at the University.

With over 1 300 international students registered in 2003, from more than 66 different countries and speaking over 74 languages, Wits University is a thriving, cosmopolitan centre for cultural, social, economic and political exchange.

The Wits International Students Association refers to “Education through Interaction” and this was kept in mind when International House, a high-quality residence catering largely for international postgraduate students and visiting academics, was opened in 2003. The international/local split of postgraduate students and staff intake into the residence is 70% international and 30% local. This is the first residence at the University, which from inception, has been cabled for online connectivity. This makes it easier for students to communicate with their families and friends in distant lands quickly and cost-effectively. It also helps visiting academics access international resources and databases at the click of a button.

The International Office has been established to cater for the needs of all international students. The Office has a number of services and programmes to assist international students integrate with the Wits community and to harmonise with their new environment. These programmes range from welcome programmes through to orientation and mentoring programmes. Services range from the provision of technical assistance to ongoing personal support, access to English Language programmes, social excursions to places of interest and referral adjustment.

The International Office also facilitates exchange programmes with universities around the world. These include exchange programmes with several universities such as the University of Namibia and Mozambique’s Eduardo Mondlane, as well as Cambridge and Warwick in the United Kingdom and the Pennyslvania State, Harvard and Indiana Universities in the United States. The University of Queensland in Australia, Putra Malaysia, Thammasat in Thailand, Rotterdam, Twente in the Netherlands and Soka in Japan places Wits in the heart of the international academic and research arena.

University of the Witwatersrand
International Office
Private Bag 3
Wits 2050
South Africa
Tel: +27 (0)11 717 1053/4/5
Fax: +27 (0)11 403 1385
Switchboard: +27(0)11 717 1000


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