Contact Us
Faculties & Programmes

Faculty of Community and Health Sciences

About

The Faculty of Community and Health Sciences (CHS) is an internationally recognised faculty for community-based, interdisciplinary education and research in the health, well-being and social justice fraternity. It has a long history of focusing on promoting equity and community development in its education programmes and training of professionals, and is involved in partnerships with service providers and communities in urban, as well as rural areas within South Africa and other African countries.

Our faculty offers a unique opportunity for career opportunities at both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in physiotherapy, occupational therapy, nursing, dietetics and nutrition, psychology, social work, sport, recreation and exercise science, complementary health sciences (Chinese medicine and acupuncture, phytotherapy, and naturopathy) and in public health.

The faculty has a dual campus modus operandi whereby physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nursing is based at the Bellville CBD campus, while dietetics, psychology, social work, sport, recreation and exercise science and public health are based on the UWC main campus. We also have niche areas postgraduate studies such as postgraduate diploma in sport, development and peace and Master's in sport for development. These are offered through Interdisciplinary Centre for Sport Science and Development (ICESSD). Furthermore, there is a postgraduate diploma in child and family studies as well as Master's and PhD in child and family studies. It is offered through the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Children, Family and Society (CISCFS) under the Social Work department. However our programmes and administration operate in both campuses and our students and staff travel between both campuses. 

Through its excellence in Community Based Education and research the faculty has gained recognition of international organisations such as the Network: Towards Unity for Health (TUFH), WHO, UN and UNICEF. Since 2012, the School of Public Health also has a NRF SARChI Chair in Health Systems research.

Individuals within the faculty also actively contribute towards the national and international arena of publications and conferences in our niche areas of sport for development (ICESSD), scholarship of teaching and learning, social determinants of HIV/AIDS and CDL as well as child, family and community studies. Internationalisation has improved, there is a lot of interest from external partners and institutions internationally and beyond our borders. These are credible, sustainable and mutually beneficial collaborations and partnerships within the health, wellness, community and social justice frame work.

The faculty in all its operations and programmes continues to operationalise the UWC Institutional Operational Plan. The faculty has a total of four B-rated researchers. Currently, the faculty’s community engagement commitments are extensive and growing. We have a multi-lateral agreement with the Western Cape Department of Health, where we place our students in clinical platforms and training. Community outreach projects continue to yield positive results in areas such as Mitchells Plain, Genadendal, Fisantekraal, Klipheuwel and with our presence in Bellville for Mandela Day; we also have activities in Middestad Mall in 2019.   

We thus welcome all prospective and returning undergraduate and postgraduate students to our faculty.

Our Mission

Within a social justice paradigm, CHS is an engaged and connected research and learning environment to transform and sustain health and wellbeing of communities through leadership in innovative collaborative IP approaches locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Our Vision

Using knowledge and research to impact society.

Overview

The Faculty of Community & Health Sciences Bellville campus (CHS) is a faculty for community-based, inter-professional education and research in the health and social sciences whose excellence in education and research is recognised globally.

It offers qualifications in:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Nursing
  • Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Sport, recreation and exercise science,
  • Complementary health sciences
  • Public health

We also have niche areas postgraduate studies such as:

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Child and Family Studies
  • Master's and PhD in Child and Family Studies.
It is offered through the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Children, Families and Society (CISCFS) .

Furthermore, there is:

  • Postgraduate Diploma: Sport, Development and Peace
  • Masters in Sport for Development.
These are offered through Interdisciplinary Centre for Sport Science and Development (ICSSD).

CHS Faculty operates mainly on two campuses, UWC Main campus at Robert Sobukwe and CHS Bellville campus at 14 Blanckenberg Street (view location and video tour here). The CHS Bellville campus is right in the heart of the Bellville CBD and contributes to urban regeneration by encouraging further consolidation of a health and well-being precinct in the Bellville CBD and the development of student accommodation, stimulating the local economy through student demand for services such as transport and entertainment.

The CHS Bellville Campus houses four skills laboratories that simulate hospital ward environments, a rehabilitation gym and laboratories with treatment rooms and dispensaries.

In addition, there are top-of-the-range computer laboratories, a staff canteen and multi-faith prayer rooms. The building, in one of the Greater Tygerberg Partnership’s priority areas, will make an invaluable contribution to the urban renewal of the Bellville city centre. CHS location in Bellville serves a dual role. The first is to strengthen the student experience by offering a facility conducive to enhanced learning, teaching, research and innovation further enhance community engagement. Being situated in Bellville allows UWC to be a catalytic agent for social change by being part of the reinvigoration of the Bellville CBD.

The City of Cape Town is already investing considerable resources in upgrading services and bulk infrastructure in the area. Access to healthcare for the communities of Bellville and the adjacent Cape Flats will also improve through the planned cooperation between the CHS Bellville campus and the Bellville community health centres. Through prescient investments over the years, UWC is transforming itself into a multi-campus institution.
Dietetics is a health profession in which the science of nutrition is applied to the management of individuals or communities in states of health and disease.
The Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of the Western Cape was established around 1984. It is a leading academic entity that offers quality undergraduate and postgraduate occupational therapy education programmes. Our graduates are competent, reflective practitioners who are able to practice at all levels of the health care system.
The department has a proud history of community engagement and professional development of physiotherapists from all over the African continent and has graduated physiotherapists from Honours to PhD all over Africa.
Psychology is the scientific study of human emotion, cognition, and behaviour. Careers in psychology can be very rewarding and fulfilling, albeit challenging. Being allowed entry into the private and often vulnerable sides of others, is a privilege, and the opportunity to contribute to the healing and growth of others, makes for a meaningful life experience.
We at the Department of Social Work at the University of the Western Cape are committed to excellence in Social work education, practice and research.
The Department of Sport, Recreation and Exercise Science (SRES) provides students with the necessary academic and professional skills to promote health through participation in sport, recreation and physical activities. 
The CISCFS is an interdisciplinary entity that aims to advance knowledge production and critically engaged scholarship on children, families, and society.
ICSSD is Africa’s leading interdisciplinary centre promoting sport as a powerful tool for development, wellbeing and social change through high quality research and combining the areas of sports sciences, and community development and wellness.
Natural Medicine can be simply defined as any system of medicine that complements and enhances the body's natural capacity to heal by restoring balance without the use of synthetic drugs or chemicals. Natural medicine generally falls under the umbrella term of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). The various disciplines of natural medicine are highly diverse in foundations, philosophies and methodologies.
The School of Nursing at the University of the Western Cape is located in the Belville Campus in the Community and Health Science Faculty. The school offers both undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education programmes.
Established in 1993, the School of Public Health is unique in many respects both in South Africa and
in the continent.
In South Africa, the need to strengthen its health system based on the principles of primary healthcare has become one of the most urgent challenges for policymakers, health professionals, health workers, managers and community members.

In order for effective collaboration and improved health outcomes, two or more health professionals from different professional backgrounds must first be provided with opportunities to learn about, from and with each other.