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Welcome to the UWC Department of Psychology.

Psychology is a fascinating discipline that spans a wide array of applications, from health and education to broader areas such as development studies, politics, and environmental studies.

Like many other psychology departments, we offer both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Our undergraduate students typically register with the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences and undertake psychology modules as part of their undergraduate degree. Students interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in psychology are required to complete all psychology undergraduate modules.

Our postgraduate programmes are the Honours degree in Psychology, which in turn can be followed by Masters degrees in Clinical Psychology or Research Psychology. After successfully completing these Masters programmes, an internship and an HPCSA examination, students can register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as Clinical Psychologists or Research Psychologists. More information is available regarding these qualifications on this website.

The staff in the Department of Psychology are involved in diverse areas of research such as trauma, resilience, substance abuse, grief and bereavement, HIV research, reproductive health, evidence-based practice in PTSD, experiences of first-generation students, teaching and learning related research such as research on the supervisory relationship, human-animal interaction, family and community resilience, as well as child and adolescent research, research on psychological test development and adaptation of tests amongst others.

The uniqueness of the department can be traced to its historical role in the development of a more relevant and socially just psychology, that received much national and international recognition. It was the first institution to gather progressive psychologists for the Psychology of Apartheid Conference in the '90s and this provided the impetus for the unification of previously divided psychologists under the banner of PSYSSA (Psychological Society of South Africa).

Today, Saths Cooper (Member of the International Science Council, President of the Pan-African Union and Past President of the International Union of Psychological Sciences); Shahnaaz Suffla (President of PSYSSA); Norman Duncan (Vice-Principal: Academic at the University of Pretoria), Umesh Bawa (Head of International Relations at UWC) and Tyrone Pretorius (Rector at UWC) all hailed from UWC, specifically the Department of Psychology. There are many other leading national and international figures that started their careers at UWC and some of these include Ashley Van Niekerk, as director, and Kopano Ratele as co-director, of the Violence, Injury and Peace Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council, as well as Garth Stevens as the Dean of Arts at Wits University. These are just some of the many individuals who typify the contribution of the department to the landscape of national and international psychology.  More recently we have had some additional staff move to other positions within the university. Prof Rashid Ahmed is now the Director of the HIV/AIDS unit; and within the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, Prof Michelle Andipatin is the Deputy Dean of Research and Prof Maria Florence is the Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching. We also have two National Research Foundation rated researchers within the Department: Prof Shazly Savahl as a B2 rated researcher and Prof Anita Padmanabhanunni as a C2 rated researcher.

While some these individuals are no longer within the Department, this legacy continues with the current staff composition. The vision of a transformed, socially just and equitable society through collective efforts remains our guiding vision. Academic and administrative staff work together with students and a rich network of associations outside the department (most importantly local communities) to realise this vision. 

It is therefore a pleasure to invite you to be part of this vision in the context of the current local and global challenges that we are all facing.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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