The Department of Chemistry provides a high level, quality learning experience for all of its students, from undergraduate to postgraduate, in both the theoretical and practical aspects of Chemistry.

There are a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Chemistry leading to the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Science (BSc) with Chemistry Major
  • BSc Honours
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The Department offers mainstream undergraduate courses in Inorganic, Organic and Physical Chemistry. Chemistry is a key foundation course at UCT and is taken by over 1600 undergraduate students from the Faculties of Science, Engineering & the Built Environment and Health Sciences.

The Department is committed to teaching. There is a vibrant, innovative and highly successful Academic Development Programme (ADP) to assist students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. In addition to normal lectures and practicals, these students receive intensive tutorial instruction in small groups. The Department is proud that many of its best graduates have come through the ADP.

The Department conducts research into curriculum design as it continually strives to improve its teaching and students’ comprehension of laboratory practicals. A writing course is also offered at 3rd year level which is designed to improve the scientific writing and communication skills of those students whose first language is not English.

Recognition of Teaching Excellence

“The UCT Distinguished Teacher Award, given only once to an individual, recognises teaching at any or all levels by a member of the faculty that has made a significant and lasting impression on students.” The Department of Chemistry is proud to have in its current staff cohort, no fewer than four recipients of the Distinguished Teacher Award. They are Prof Tim Egan (1999), A/Prof David Gammon (2003), A/Prof Bette Davidowitz (2004) and Dr Gregory Smith (2011).

Transformation & Diversity

The Department of Chemistry is committed to transformation and diversity.

  • 70% of our undergraduate student body is black
  • Two thirds of 96 postgraduate students are black (46% are black African)
  • 44% of the postgraduate students are women
  • 28% of the academic staff are black

Why study Chemistry at UCT?

  • Chemistry is a highly prized qualification
  • Graduates are directly employable
  • Postgraduate degrees are in demand in many industries
  • The versatility of the Chemistry qualification is borne out by the fact that our graduates find employment in diverse fields such as: Energy (fossil fuels); Agrochemicals; Mining and minerals; Pharmaceutical & medicinal e.g. Biotechnology, Drug production, Vaccines; Polymers e.g. Plastics; Food e.g. Quality control, wine and beer making; Computational chemistry.

A Chemistry degree at UCT

A BSc (Chemistry) Degree allows entry into UCT’s intensive, one–year Honours programme in Chemistry. The Honours degree is the minimal academic qualification for practising as a professional chemist and is recognised both nationally and internationally. A Chemistry Honours degree will enable students to enter MSc and PhD programmes.

Courses offered

First Year Courses

  • CEM1000W
  • CEM1009H
  • CEM1010F/S

Senior Courses

  • CEM2005W Chemistry II
  • CEM3005W Chemistry III

Postgraduate Courses

  • CEM4000W BSc(Hons) in Chemistry
  • CEM5000W MSc in Chemistry
  • CEM5004W MSc in Tertiary Chemistry Education
  • CEM6000W PhD in Chemistry
  • CEM6001W PhD in Chemistry