How Long Does It Take To Study Medicine at Uct

six years

The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree programme at University of Cape Town (UCT) takes six years to complete.

The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree programme at University of Cape Town (UCT) takes six years to complete. Students who graduate with an MBChB and complete two year’s internship and a year’s community service are allowed by the Health Professions Council of South Africa to practise as a medical doctor.

The curriculum for the MBChB at UCT programme produces competent doctors with the requisite attitudes, knowledge and skills to enter the health care field with confidence. The programme offers a comprehensive approach to health care that is balanced between preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative health care, in a Primary Health Care or community setting.

In addition, the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree programme at University of Cape Town promotes communication skills, teamwork, professional values and competent clinical practice, in the context of the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Health Care systems. Students are equipped with critical thinking and lifelong learning skills.

The curriculum follows the structure set out below, and the details for each year will be developed during the year before implementation.

All students are admitted to the same Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery programme. Students who by the middle of the first year have not met certain minimum requirements are transferred to an Intervention Programme, which starts in Semester 2 and continues to the end of Semester 3, i.e. the middle of the second year, after which they join Semester 2 of the standard programme. (A semester is half a year.)

The courses prescribed for each semester are as follows:

Semesters 1 and 2 (first year)

  • Becoming a Professional
  • Introduction to Integrated Health Sciences: Part 1
  • Chemistry for Medical Students
  • Introduction to Integrated Health Sciences: Part 2
  • Physics
  • Becoming a Health Professional

A student who fails any first or second semester course must register for the Intervention Programme before continuing with semester 2.

Semesters 3 to 6 (second and third years)

  • Integrated Health Systems Part IB
  • Becoming a Doctor Part IA
  • Becoming a Doctor Part IB
  • Integrated Health Systems Part IA
  • Becoming a Doctor Part 2A
  • Becoming a Doctor Part 2B
  • Integrated Health Systems Part 2
  • Introduction to Clinical Practice

In semester 4, students study Special Study Modules.

Semesters 9 to 10 (fifth year)

  • Anaesthesia
  • Primary Health Care Elective
  • Paediatrics (including Paediatric Surgery)
  • Medical and Surgical specialities (including Dermatology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology and Rheumatology)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Surgery (including General Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Urology)
  • Pharmacology and Applied Therapeutics
  • Trauma
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Forensic Medicine

Semesters 11 and 12 (sixth year)

  • Surgery
  • Medicine (including Dermatology)
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Family Medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Paediatrics (including Paediatric Surgery)

The curriculum is subject to change as a result of on-going curriculum development processes.

During the student’s internship and community service training, the National Department of Health of South Africa will employ the student, and the student will receive a salary.

Once registered by the Health Professions Council of South Africa upon completion of your internship and community service, successful graduates may set up their own practice as a medical doctor, or may choose to work in a hospital, clinic, or other institution where a doctor’s services are required.

Graduates may also choose to become a specialist, in which case the student will embark on postgraduate studies (and register for the Master of Medicine or “MMed” degree) in the field of their choice.

Some graduates who have excelled academically may choose to pursue an academic career, involving teaching and research in addition to clinical practice, at a university’s Health Sciences Faculty such as this one.


Overview of Public Universities in South Africa

Here's an overview of some public universities in South Africa, including general admissions requirements and estimated application periods. Keep in mind, specific program requirements and dates can vary significantly, so it's important to check each university's official website for the most current information.

University of Pretoria

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with minimum scores in specific subjects related to the chosen program; for international students, equivalent qualifications.
  • Application Period: Usually opens in March and closes at the end of July for most programs.

University of Cape Town

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with pass levels required for degree study; subject-specific requirements depending on the program.
  • Application Period: Application opens in April and closes at the end of July.

Stellenbosch University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required marks; some programs have additional testing.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and typically closes at the end of June.

University of the Witwatersrand

  • Admissions Requirements: Matriculation certificate with university exemption; required scores vary by faculty.
  • Application Period: Begins in March and ends on the 30th of September.

University of Johannesburg

  • Admissions Requirements: Matric exemption with a minimum APS score; specific subject requirements based on the faculty.
  • Application Period: Opens in April and generally closes by the 30th of September.

University of the Free State

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific marks for the program applied to; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Typically opens in April and closes at the end of August.

University of Venda

  • Admissions Requirements: Completion of the National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for diploma or degree studies; specific APS scores needed.
  • Application Period: Usually from May to September.

University of Fort Hare

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; certain programs may have specific requirements.
  • Application Period: Opens around May and closes at the end of September.

University of the Western Cape

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific performance levels; additional requirements for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Generally from May to September.

North-West University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; program-specific requirements may apply.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and usually closes by the end of August.

Rhodes University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate or equivalent; minimum academic performance in certain subjects.
  • Application Period: Applications open in April and close at the end of September.

Nelson Mandela University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; portfolio or additional tests for some faculties.
  • Application Period: Opens in April, with a deadline at the end of August for most programs.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Opens in May and typically closes by the end of September.

University of Limpopo

  • Admissions Requirements: Senior Certificate with endorsement for diploma or degree courses; specific APS scores for different programs.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

University of Zululand

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for bachelor’s degree studies; specific score requirements for various programs.
  • Application Period: Usually between April and November.

Central University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores for the chosen field of study; additional criteria for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Application period generally starts in May and ends in October.

Vaal University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with a pass that qualifies for admission to bachelor’s degree, diploma, or higher certificate programs.
  • Application Period: Typically from May to September.

Walter Sisulu University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; additional criteria for certain faculties.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

This list provides a starting point for understanding the admissions landscape across South Africa's diverse higher education institutions. Given the variability in programs and requirements, it's crucial to consult each university's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.