Start main page content

Wits academic year begins on Monday, 8 March 2021

- Wits University

35 000 students are registered for the 2021 academic year.

The University of the Witwatersrand will commence with the 2021 academic programme on Monday, 8 March 2021. Wits has registered 35 000 students (the majority online). Late registration will be allowed for undergraduates (until 19 March 2021) and for postgraduates (until 12 March 2021).

The academic programme will take place online for the first semester for the most part, with only a fraction of the students returning to campus at the invitation of faculties in a staggered and intermittent way. These include students who are required to conduct experiments in laboratories, to participate in studio work or to work on the frontline in hospitals and clinics.

“We wish students all the best for the 2021 academic year,” says Shirona Patel, Wits spokesperson. “We have invested in a new learning management system, and ensured that students have access to data and devices, so that learning and teaching can continue, despite the hindrance of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Wits University received over 70 000 applications for just over 5 000 available first year places. Almost all first year students have been registered. These students will also be given preference in terms of residence placement.

“We are allowing selected groups of students to return to residences. We are prioritising first year students, students who have been invited to return by the Faculties, and those students who are unable to study at home due to particularly difficult environments ,” says Jerome September, Dean of Student Affairs. “All COVID-19 protocols will be strictly observed, and there will be no sharing of facilities or large gatherings, etc.”

We are confident that our academics, students, professional and administrative staff and all members of the Wits community will do whatever it takes to ensure that the 2021 academic year is successful.

Did you know?
- Wits has made available a Wits Hardship Fund worth R10 million to assist students who are experiencing financial hardship and who have historical debt (up to R120 000) to register and secure accommodation provided that they meet the criteria.
- Wits has also established a Wits COVID-19 Relief Fund worth R10-million to assist students whose families have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
- Approximately 27 000 of the University’s 37 500 students are on some form of financial aid, scholarship or bursary.
- Wits administers over R1 billion in financial aid and scholarships every year, of which R100 million is funded from the Wits Council budget.
- In 2020, approximately 900 students were assisted through the Wits Hardship Fund. This year, more than 600 students have been assisted to date.
- Wits has charged no interest on fees accrued in the 2020 academic year.
- Students can enter into a payment plan with the Fees Office (with conditions).
- Wits provided significant rebates to students for the 2020 academic year to help mitigate against the effects of the pandemic, insofar as possible.
Wits is doing all that it can to assist students who are in genuine need, but it alone cannot offer free education to all students. It is seeking long-term solutions to these funding challenges.

For more information on student services and facilities, visit