University of the Free State: An elite law education in the heart of South Africa

“Through our human and academic projects, we are a university internationally recognised for human reconciliation and compassion, as well as for excellence in academic achievement.” Dr Liezel Alsemgeest, Senior Lecturer of the Faculty of Law’s School of Financial Planning Law at the University of the Free State

As one of South Africa’s oldest institutions of higher education, the University of the Free State (UFS) has forged a long tradition of graduate success and academic prestige. Since its inauguration in 1904, when UFS lectures were spread across two buildings and delivered to just six students, the university has grown to a powerful force in the global education sphere. Now, the university teaches more than 34,127 students across seven faculties and three cutting-edge campuses, representing a strong, globally-focused, and student-led facility.

Inspiring excellence and transforming lives are the pillars that drive the university’s meaningful achievements. With world-class faculties that include Economic and Management Studies, Education, Health Sciences, Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Distance Learning, the Humanities, Theology, the Free State Business School, and the Faculty of Law, UFS is making student dreams become reality within each and every discipline.

Dedicated to providing each student with a firm and comprehensive grounding in the realm of legal theory, the Faculty of Law at UFS prepares each student for entrance to their chosen profession through the provision of a specialist, respected qualification. “The Faculty of Law is one of the leading faculties…in South Africa, being the intellectual home of a significant number of South Africa’s leading academics, located at the judicial heart of the country,” says Professor Caroline Nicholson, the faculty’s current Dean.

“…The faculty boasts the capacity to offer postgraduate degrees and diplomas in a diversity of legal disciplines,” she adds. “…The structured LLM programmes include an LLM own choice and diverse specialist LLMs, which include some areas of law in which specialists remain scarce, such as Environmental Law, International Economic Law, Financial Planning Law and Education Law. The range of modules from which students may select their programme content is extensive, offering an unparalleled degree of flexibility within the programmes.”

The Faculty of Law’s School of Financial Planning Law is just one example of how UFS goes above and beyond to ensure students leave instilled with the necessary skills to succeed. Through the provision of a broad range of postgraduate diplomas in the diverse, specialised fields of financial planning, UFS helps students acquire specialised academic and professional expertise, allowing students to take the next crucial step in their career.

Every first-rate programme offered by the school hones in on the element of ethics in one form or another; ethics are, after all, the groundwork on which the industry was built. This is why the School promotes the FAIS Code of Conduct, as well as the practice standard set by the Financial Planning Institute (FPI), priding itself on high academic standards, integrity, and its ability to provide students with real-world and relevant focus.

“Financial planning is the profession of identifying the needs and goals of clients and building a holistic, lifelong plan to address those needs and achieve the goals,” says Dr Liezel Alsemgeest, Programme Director of the B.Iuris in Financial Planning Law.

“It deals with all the aspects of ensuring that financial matters are managed well on a month to month basis – thus making sure that you have sufficient cash flow to meet all your expenses; are all risk areas covered such as medical expenses, short term insurance, possible disability, and so forth,” she explains. “It specifically focusses on long-term planning such as ensuring enough funds for retirement, estate planning and any other aspects that surround financial planning for the client and their loved ones.”

This path is perfectly suited to students who believe they could realise the financial goals of potential clients, all as they pave the way to triumph in their own lucrative business. Personal finance is an integral part of every person’s life, making this role ever more important in an increasingly complex world. Though we live in an age that seems uncertain and sometimes volatile, one thing we can and should take control of is the management of personal and business cashflow.

“Financial Planning, in comparison to other professions, is a relatively new field,” Dr Alsemgeest concludes. “The school is incredibly passionate about the role that financial planners play in the lives of every citizen of this country. The School ensures that financial planners are taught the importance of proper holistic financial planning and the important role that they as the planner can play in the life of each of their clients.”

With its industry-informed, applicable teaching and preeminent reputation, UFS is helping prospective financial planners, not only in South Africa, but also across the globe, gain the skills they need to thrive. In a world that depends on global currencies and yearns for constant supply of competent financial leaders, there can be no greater investment than a degree from the Faculty of Law from the University of the Free State – an elite law-based education in the heart of South Africa.

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All images courtesy of the University of the Free State

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