University of Pretoria

THE FIRST tertiary education opportunities available in Pretoria were provided by the Transvaal University College. This tiny institution – with 32 inaugural students – was established in 1908 in a four-bedroom residential property in the centre of town. The acronym of the college, TUC, gave rise (in Afrikaans) to Tuks or Tukkies, by which the University of Pretoria – now coping with more than 50 000 students – is still
popularly known. In the early days, courses were presented predominantly in Dutch and covered such subjects as English language and literature, philosophy, Latin and Hebrew, as well as the natural sciences.

Today, the academic activity of this large institution (an Act of parliament changed its name to the University of Pretoria in 1930) is divided into the following faculties: Economic and Management Sciences; Education; Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology; Health Sciences; Humanities; Law; Natural and Agricultural Sciences; Theology; Veterinary Science; and to this list must be added the university’s postgraduate Gordon Institute of Business Science. What was once a mainly white Afrikaner institution has now been transformed. Courses are offered in both Afrikaans and English on campuses that are multicultural and multiracial and that, according to the literature, offer quality education to South Africans from all walks of life.

The main campus is situated in the Pretoria suburb of Hatfield and accommodates six of the faculties listed above. The Faculty of Education is situated on the Groenkloof campus. The Mamelodi campus of the erstwhile Vista University (Mamelodi is one of greater Pretoria’s largest townships) was incorporated into the university in 2004, bringing with it nearly 150 permanent and contractual staff members. The Prinshof campus is home to the extensive Faculty of Health Sciences, while Veterinary Science is housed at Onderstepoort, and the Gordon Institute of Business Science has been established at the Sandton campus in the northern suburbs of greater Johannesburg.

Facts and Figures  at a Glance1

In 2007, the University of Pretoria had 38,635 contact students and 14,433 distance students. It had 34,445 full-time students and 4,190 part-time students (contact students only). Of the contact students, 36,047 were South African citizens, 1,515 from other SADC countries and 1,073 from non-SADC countries (actual data, 2007).

Table 1: University of Pretoria - Summary of Enrolment Numbers (Actual data, 2007)2


Number of students enrolled per level of study

Major Field of Study

Total Number of Students (Headcount)

Under- graduate degree/ diploma Post-graduate degree/ diploma Masters Degree Doctoral Degree Other qualifications (short courses, certificates etc.)
Science, Engineering & Technology 13,135 9,114 1,694 1,773 479 3,356
Business, Management & Law 11,053 8,743 795 1,204 242  6,218
Humanities and Social Sciences 5,992 4,196 424 941 404 1,390
Health Sciences 4,456 3,305 238 779 36 1,214
Veterinary Science 767 535 23 139 51 145
Education 17,665 11,337 5,828 307 181 196
Priority Courses 0 0 0 0 0 1,561
TOTALS 53,068 37,230 9,002 5,143 1,393 14,080

Source: University of Pretoria questionnaire response

Table 2: University of Pretoria: Academic and Research staff (Actual data, 2007)

Major Field Of Study

Total Number (headcount)

Science, Engineering & Technology 737
Business, Management & Law 295
Humanities and Social Sciences 245
Health Sciences 717
Veterinary Science / Education 255
Academic innovation and other support 12
TOTALS 2,261

Source: University of Pretoria questionnaire response


[1] All data presented in this section is headcount data.
[2] Some of the student number totals presented in this table to not tally exactly.