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Vision and Mission

Vision Statement

The University of the Witwatersrand aspires to be a leading world-class research-intensive university firmly embedded among international top league universities by 2022.

Mission Statement

The mission of the University of the Witwatersrand is to grow its global stature as a leading research-intensive university, and to be a gateway to research engagement and intellectual achievement in Africa. It will achieve this by building on the principles of intellectual excellence, international competitiveness and local relevance. As an institution built on principles of intellectual excellence, we are committed to providing high-quality, internationally competitive education, founded on high academic standards, cutting-edge research, public engagement, and productive partnerships with leading institutions throughout the world.


 In pursuing our visionary goal of becoming a top-league university located on African soil, we aim to:

  • Amplify our generation and dissemination of groundbreaking knowledge in niche areas.
  • Optimise our international visibility and impact of research, and our reputation for teaching.
  • Maintain a high proportion of international students and staff.
  • Recruit highly talented students for undergraduate education.
  • Maintain a high proportion of carefully selected postgraduate students.
  • Produce highly influential graduates for the global civil society.
  • Widen our footprint globally through extensive strategic networks.
  • Attract and retain distinguished scholars and prize-winning leaders in niche and strategic fields.
  • Attract and retain the best academic and support staff.
  • Contribute to society through research, teaching and social engagement.
  • Maintain a distinctive focus and reputation for groundbreaking research and scholarships in science, engineering and technology (SET) areas.
  • Benchmark with top-league and top-100 universities, including the UK Russell Group, the Australian Group of Eight, and the Big 5 in South Africa.
  • Provide a high-quality, supportive research and educational environment for students and staff.
  • Establish and sustain a base for diversified sources of income.
  • Retain a high degree of academic freedom and institutional independence.
  • Retain our long-lasting legacy of high-level achievement and excellence
Identity and Values


The University of the Witwatersrand is an internationally leading research-intensive institution located in Africa. The University intends to amplify its international reputation as a gateway and beacon for leading-ede research and intellectual achievement in Africa. Wits supports principles of intellectual elitism and achievement regardless of the cultural background, social class and national identity of its students, staff, partners, guests and stakeholders at large. The legacy of the University's success is founded on values that we are not willing to compromise on. These are:


  • Independent enquiry and trust: Academics and students will demonstrate the capacity to function independently in line with the quality standards, principles and values of the University and in accordance with the mandates and responsibilities that may impact on particular areas of work.
  • International engagement: Members of the University have roles as public intellectuals, members of the global civil society and as intellectual leaders. These roles find expression through curricula and research that demonstrates commitment to our local context, but understands our role as a globally relevant University.
  • Intellectual excellence and integrity: All those associated with the University are active participants in an intellectual community and the work they do must be characterised by the highest standards of intellectual integrity.
  • Academic freedom and institutional autonomy: This includes, but is not limited to, protecting our right to decide who we teach, how we teach, what we teach and what research we undertake. At Wits we will be guided by international standards of intellectual excellence.
  • Collegiality: The University is a collegial community of scholars, which is more than a constellation of economically driven relationships within a legally constituted organisational structure.
  • Social engagement and responsiveness: Members of the University have roles as public intellectuals, members of the society and as intellectual leaders. These roles find expression through curricula and research.
  • Diversity: A sufficiently diverse range of knowledge areas should be maintained and reflected in teaching and research - including an explicit commitment to cross-cultural accessibility and internationalisation.
  • Accountability: Wits governance structures are inclusive and broadly representative, which includes the onus of deliberating on all points of view.
  • Debate and critical engagement: The University’s intellectual project is an educational one predicated on intellectual depth and robust engagement.
Wits VISION 2022


In 2010, the University developed a 12-year strategic framework as a roadmap to achieve this aforementioned vision: the Wits Vision 2022 Strategic Framework. The Wits Vision 2022 Strategic Framework was guided by an extensive consultation process, allowing various internal and external stakeholders an opportunity to contribute to the vision of the University. The University of the Witwatersrand is globally vaunted for its academic and research excellence, which has grown from strength to strength since it acquired its full status as a university in 1922. The reputation and recognition of Wits as a world-class university is evident in its ranking in the past years as one of the two leading universities in the country and on the continent. This legacy of excellence has to be nurtured, sustained and eventually surpassed in the next years. 

The Wits Vision 2022 Strategic Framework articulates a vision that elevates Wits’ position as one of the internationally leading research-intensive universities and a gateway to knowledge and understanding in Africa. It provides the overarching framework for more detailed plans based on current imperatives, and will shape strategic thinking during the respective planning cycles. There are four three-year strategic plans built into the Wits Vision 2022 Strategic Framework, the first being the Wits 2013 Strategy.