offers international students the opportunity
part of an urban campus in Africa’s
leading commercial city.
Wits gives you the edge
Changing your future by challenging your
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
of the Witwatersrand
Private Bag 3
Tel: +27 (0)11 717 1053/4/5
Fax: +27 (0)11 403 1385
Switchboard: +27(0)11 717 1000