What is a BSc like at UCT?


How does the BSc work at UCT? What courses can I take? Can I take a course from a different faculty?


Other than a BA, a Science major is probably the most adjustable degree choice. Firstly, you are expected to do a double major. This will generally consist of two Science faculty majors (in my case, Physics and Astrophysics) but it can also incorporate one humanities or BCom major in certain circumstances (for example Economics and Maths, or ‘Human Anatomy and Physiology’ and Psychology). There are certain compulsory courses for each major (you are very lightly to end up taking some maths or physics course). Other than that, you have some degree of freedom (no pun intended), depending on how similar your majors are. The closer the majors, the more likely the additional compulsory courses are to overlap, and so the more room will be left for other choices. In my case, Physics and Astrophysics have identical requirements, and so I ended up being able to choose an additional 4 optional courses this year. When in this situation, it is generally advised to take courses which help towards your major (in my case, Applied Maths, Computer Science and Introduction to Astronomy are all optional but highly recommended). However, you can most certainly choose to incorporate something entirely different. I’m doing a half-year course in Ancient History.

In terms of what it’s like studying a BSc, you’ll find that there is generally a very good attitude amongst students. BSc is one of the most diverse faculties, which in my opinion is a big advantage to studying one. Science and Engineering are often compared, as they often involve similar courses. My impression has been that, between the two, a BSc demands more theoretical understanding of your content, and is therefore more mentally challenging, while Engineering demands more of your time, in assignments, projects and other components of compulsory coursework. The Science Faculty is likely where you’ll find the toughest content, but there are generally good resources available, and so this is by no means something to be intimidated by.

Personally, I’d strongly recommend a BSc with a genuine interest in anything science-related, who has an interest in being at the cutting edge of new discoveries, and having their view of the world challenged and refined.