The teaching and researching of Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand represents a long history of innovation and excellence. From its origins as a sub-discipline of Philosophy, Psychology has grown significantly and is now one of the three largest departments at Wits University. Psychology remains one of the most popular course choices and students from Humanities, Health Sciences, Science, Engineering and Built Environment and Commerce, Law and Management faculties are all enrolled in various courses. Unlike many other universities nationally, the University of the Witwatersrand offers specialist training in all the registration categories recognised by the Professional Board of Psychology and the Health Professions Council of South Africa within a single department. This allows for a particular richness of exchange and appreciation of the diversity of fields in which psychologists have expertise.
The Department has enjoyed a fruitful and complex history, producing and attracting many scholars of international note. Staff in the department have produced much scholarly work as well as excellent training programmes and teaching innovation and expertise. Our graduate programmes enjoy a very positive reputation within South Africa and on the continent and attract large numbers of applicants. Currently, the Department trains more than 50 professionals at Masters level annually. Additionally, it registers approximately 200 new postgraduate students per annum.
Wits Psychology has not remained untouched by the political climate of South Africa over the past 77 years (and there is evidence of research and practice that sought to address many of the ills of Apartheid) and still remains sensitive to the current imperatives of transformation. The review of the history of the department indicates that there have been times of turmoil and times of harmony, times of rapid change and times of consolidation, periods of weakness and periods of strength, as is inevitable in a growing department responsive to changes in staffing and in the educational and political climate. The history of the department has also reflected some of the major paradigm shifts that have taken place in the fairly young discipline of Psychology internationally, as well as some of the contributions that working in the South African context have enabled local psychologists to make to the international arena. Based on these early foundations, the current department is flourishing and is home to a large and increasingly diverse group of staff and students. We hope to continue to build on the best of the past, to sustain areas of excellence and to develop in new areas shaped by our dual commitment to remain contextually sensitive and internationally competitive.
For a full history of the department of Psychology at Wits click here