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61 PhDs conferred at UWC April 2018 graduation

Author: Aidan van den Heever

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) celebrated the achievements of thousands of graduates this month at its April graduation.

61 PhDs conferred at UWC April 2018 graduation

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) celebrated the achievements of thousands of graduates this month at its April graduation.

The institution saw 61 Doctorates, 168 Masters Degrees, 467 Honours degrees, 1957 Bachelors degrees and 504 Certificates and Diplomas in total.

UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Pretorius who is a former student, at the ceremonies said that while graduation was the culmination of many years of hard work and sacrifice it was also the beginning of the next chapter in the lives of the graduates. From here, they will have to put into practice what they have learnt -- for the betterment of society.

“This humble institution, born as an apartheid creation, has offered hope to thousands of students,” he said. “And it will continue to do so because UWC is a catalyst for change and a place of possibilities.”

Pretorius said this was evident in the many successes achieved over the five decades of UWC’s existence, and in the innovation that the University is constantly seeking to introduce into the teaching and learning as well as the research environment.

UWC, having been started by the apartheid government as an institution of learning exclusively for coloured people in 1960, has steadily risen in reputation and achievement as a research-led university.

The Times Higher Education (THE), in its 2018 World University Rankings list of the top 1000 research‐intensive universities, placed UWC in the top 3% of research‐intensive universities worldwide. Locally, UWC holds joint 5th position with two other South African universities in the 601‐800 band. UWC was also singled out as the only university on the African continent to be placed in the Times Higher Education list of the top 100 Golden Age research‐intensive universities for 2017. The term Golden Age Universities refers to universities founded in the period after World War 2 between 1945 and 1966.  

“Last week, we launched our first Data Science programme in our new Computational and Mathematical Sciences building,” he noted. “Big Data is an emerging strategic niche area for UWC not only in commerce, but also in other forms of data intensive fields like astronomy and bioinformatics. The new Master’s programme will have many benefits - but most importantly, it will give students access to the business world and associated networks.”

A number of exciting and intriguing PhD and Masters research topics, not only relevant to the South African context, but also to the rest of Africa (and beyond), have emerged from this year’s crop of top-performing graduates.

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