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Welcome to The Faculty of Natural Sciences

The Faculty is developing a reputation as an important centre of research in South Africa. It equips graduates with solid academic and research skills and gives them the ability to succeed in the market place.

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    • Department of Biotechnology

      The simplest definition of biotechnology is “applied biology” through the application of biological knowledge and techniques to develop products or services. It may be further defined as the use of living organisms to make a product or run a process. By this definition, the classic techniques used for plant and animal breeding, fermentation and enzyme purification are to be considered biotechnology.

    • Department of Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

      When we think of biodiversity we tend to think of different types of animals and plants that may be found in our environment. In reality, the term biodiversity encompasses all living and non-living elements around us, the different ways that they interact and how they are arranged within their terrestrial, marine or freshwater environments.

    • Department of Chemistry

      Chemistry has often been described as the central science because it encompasses all the other sciences. Chemistry can be defined as the study of matter and its transformations. Since all the natural sciences (apart from the mathematical sciences) involve working with or studying matter in some form or another, chemistry plays a central supporting role in fields such as biochemistry, biotechnology, geology, food science, agriculture, pharmaceutics, polymer science, electronics and forensic science.

    • Department of Computer Science

      Almost every aspect of our daily lives is influenced by computers. Computer Scientists study topics related to the use and operation of computers. This includes topics such as: algorithms, programming languages, data structures, software engineering, networking protocols, databases, operating systems and many more. By Better understanding these topics, Computer Scientists are able to come up with novel, interesting and fun ways to use computers.

    • Department of Earth Science

      The Department of Earth Sciences at UWC offers challenging opportunities in the nationally strategic areas of natural resources combining the disciplines of Applied Geology and Environmental and Water Sciences. These rapidly expanding programmes have established an international profile through teaching and research. The range of research topics covered within the Department and in collaboration with other research institutes and universities is very broad, and reflects the diversity in the research interests of the staff.

    • Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics

      Mathematics is a language that express solutions to our everyday problems. To improve your working environment, familiarize yourself with the language of mathematics. It opens doors to fascinating fields, like the possibilities of space travel. Its also the heart of technology. Engineers, Scientist and many others rely on mathematics as a tool to predict the behavior of many phenomena. Mathematics helps us to understand the way in which natural and man mad environments operate.

    • Department of Medical BioScience

      In the Medical Biosciences Department we aim at training and developing scientist who will conduct research with a view to reduce the many lifestyle associated diseases. To prepare students, the Medical Biosciences programme teaches students Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Microbiology thereby providing an understanding of the structure and function of the human body, and how the body protects itself against disease.

    • Department of Physics and Astronomy.

      The Department of Physics at UWC distinguishes itself as a major contributor to the research needs both regionally and nationally. The department has collaboration with several national research institutions, including the CSIR, NMISA, SAAO, iThemba LABS and with leading international institutes..

    • Department of Statistics and Population Studies

      The popular image of Statistics in one of tables and graphs of everyday occurrences such as car crashes, car sales, rainfall, births and deaths and so on. The application of the science of Statistics usually results in a meaningful interpretation of tables and graphs, but this kind of investigation forms only a small part of the activities of this versatile discipline. Population Studies is a scientific study of the human population and more specifically the study of size, geographic distribution; age-sex structure and the socio-economic composition of populations. Population Studies furthermore studies the measurement of demographic processes in relation to economic development, social development, cultural and biological factors. Nationally the field of Population Studies is classified as a scarce skill.

    • School of Pharmacy

      The school is responsible for the training of pharmacists. This training fulfills the need for pharmacists to make meaningful contributions to the healthcare of people they serve. This is done through emphasis on the correct and rational use of medicines and related products. There remains a high demand for pharmacists in South Africa and many parts of the world. A first degree in pharmacy offers the chance to serve as a pharmacist and also presents many varied worldwide opportunities to expand on this. This B Pharm is one degree that opens avenues for many varied opportunities.

    • Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics (IMBM)

      The Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics was established by Professor Don Cowan in 2007. Recognised as one of the leading research units at UWC, IMBM forms part of the Department of Biotechnology. IMBM is dedicated to excellence in research and in the training of future research leaders, and additionally contributes to the Department’s undergraduate teaching and activities.

    • Institute For Water Studies

      The Institute for Water Studies (IWS) at the University of the Western Cape was formed in 2009 with the goal of promoting research, postgraduate training, and outreach on water-related issues through the collaborative efforts of UWC staff. The Institute for Water Studies aims to increase the understanding of surface water, groundwater, and ecosystems linkages and how water users are affected and affect these linkages. IWS has a multi-disciplinary approach to its research since water issues cut across disciplines.

    • South African Institute of Advanced Materials Chemistry (SAIAMC)

      The research thrust based at the SAIAMC has been developed over a period of several years. A small postgraduate research grant from the Eskom TESP programme was used to initiate postgraduate research, and a research group was formed,namely the Inorganic Porous Media Group (IPMG). Groundbreaking and industrially relevant research done by the IPMG with cutting-edge technology generously funded by Eskom, was consolidated by the inauguration of the Eskom Center for Electro-catalytic Research (ECER).

    • South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI)

      The South African National Bioinformatics Institute delivers biomedical discovery appropriate to both international and African context. Researchers at SANBI perform the highest level of research and provide excellence in education.

    • Inter-University Institute for Data Intensive Astronomy (IDIA)

      IDIA is a partnership of four South African universities (University of Cape Town, University of the Western Cape, North West University, and the University of Pretoria) seeking to build capacity and expertise in data intensive research to ensure global leadership on MeerKAT large survey science and projects, as well as large projects on other SKA pathfinder telescopes, leading to leadership on SKA phase 1 Key Science programs.

    • UWC Nature Reserve

      The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is the proud owner of the 34ha Cape Flats Nature Reserve. Though first created as a refuge for Strandveld and Coastal Fynbos, it now functions as a base for ecological training, environmental education and research support. The unit responsible for the nature reserve operates in 3 spheres of activities: indigenous horticulture, environmental education and nature conservation. The unit is located within the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of the Western Cape and functions independently within the faculty.

    • Proteomics Unit

      Proteomics is the term that describes a multitude of tools and expertise used primarily to profile and identify proteins of interest in any organism at a large scale.

    • SARCHI Chair (AstroPhysics)

      The AstroPhysics group carries out research in observational and theoretical astronomy and cosmology, covering topics such as: galaxy evolution, hydrodynamical N-body simulations, pulsation modes in dwarf stars, multiwavelength survey science, large-scale clustering statistics from radio surveys, dynamical evolution of galaxies in groups, dark energy and modified gravity, astro-statistics, and methods of exploration for life on Mars.

    • UNESCO Chair (Hydrogeology)

      ​UNESCO Chair (Hydrogeology)


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