Graduation is the highlight of the university calendar. Undergraduate and postgraduate students receive their degrees at ceremonies that take place at certain times during the year.

The university also confers honorary degrees on distinguished visitors who have made a valuable contribution to society. Other awards which are conferred during graduation include:

  • The Distinguished Teacher Award is the highest accolade given to teaching staff at all levels in the university and recognises excellent teaching. Through the award, UCT acknowledges the primary place of teaching and learning in the university’s work.

  • The UCT Book Award recognises the publication of outstanding books written by members of staff.

  • The Creative Works Award recognises major creative works, including art works, performances, productions, compositions and architectural designs produced by UCT staff.

  • The Social Responsiveness Award recognises UCT academics who demonstrate that social engagement has enhanced the teaching and learning process – one of the university’s priorities.

Virtual graduation ceremonies

Graduations are celebratory occasions where families come together to rejoice in the success of their loved ones. They are occasions we all look forward to and want to be part of.

While the country has moved to lockdown alert Level 1 and many restrictions have been eased, we still need to adopt a very cautious approach to any situations that could increase the risk of spreading the virus. However, these are large groups of people, far in excess of what is permissible under alert Level 1 regulations: a limit of 250 persons for an indoor event, and a limit of 500 persons for an outdoor event.

Graduation is a very important milestone after years of hard work that were put in to get to this point. Some of our graduating students may even be the first to graduate in their family. We share fully the sadness of our students not being able to walk the stage to the joyful cheers of family and friends. But at this point, during this global pandemic and the unpredictable nature thereof and to ensure the safety of everyone, it will be too risky and thus not feasible to host an in-person event.

This does not mean that our students cannot celebrate with those closest to them wherever they may be. I encourage students to celebrate in their own way safely at home and to share these moments with us.

To the affected students, we will share details of the virtual events shortly so that you and your loved ones can find a way to be part of this special moment. The details will relate to arrangements for:

  • On Monday, 14 December 2020: the virtual event in respect of the ceremonies that were planned for March 2020 but had to be suspended following the national lockdown, and for which qualifications were awarded in absentia
  • On Tuesday, 15 December 2020: the virtual ceremony in respect of the December 2020 graduating cohort.

Further details will be communicated closer to the time, and there will also be a special feature page on the UCT News website in celebration of Graduation 2020.

Please note that you need to use Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and above to view the stream. The use of Google Chrome is recommended.

For news and stories about graduation, visit the UCT News website.