University of the Witwatersrand: Pioneering outstanding research
Image courtesy of the University of the Witwatersrand

Students choosing to study at research-led Universities are seizing a valuable opportunity to develop their skills within a flourishing knowledge ecosystem that offers long-term investment in their chosen industries and supplies access to the frontier of developing expertise. One such institute standing out for its contributions to the fields of research-based education is the University of Witwatersrand (Wits).

Wits University is a multi-campus South African University established in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa. A strongly-rated University, Wits is named one of the Best Universities in South Africa, and is also listed in the World’s Top 200 Universities, but its greatest asset lies in dedicated research contributions.

Wits has many distinguished and widely-cited researchers, as well as three research-focused Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Literature, and Physiology and Medicine – a testament to the scope of Wits’ inclusive dedication to subject-based projects across its five faculties of Commerce, Law, and Management, Engineering, Sciences, Health Sciences and Humanities.

Image courtesy of the University of the Witwatersrand

There is an abundance of subject matter offered in over 3000 courses at the part-time, Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels, with the additional options of Pure Research degrees and Study Abroad programmes. Each Faculty has access to the University’s two main libraries and 14 divisional libraries that offer a wealth of specialised study materials.

Another huge talking point are the areas of Research Excellence and plethora of facilities available for students across all five faculties, from computer labs and study halls, to more specialised centres, like the Anthropology Museum, Pullen Nature Reserve for fieldwork and ecology, Wits Law Clinic for practical legal studies, and Wits Art Museum and Theatre where students can display their own skills and visiting professionals can instruct.

The sheer number of industry-based learning opportunities on offer demonstrate this University’s commitment to ensuring the best education for its students, and best possible graduates for their affiliated industries. These facilities ensure that students gain not only up-to-date transferable skills in developing research fields, but also allow for involvement in revolutionary discoveries.

For example, Science students at Wits can benefit from partnership access to the Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory facilities and the Bleloch Geological Museum. Wits University is also the curator for the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, an international wonder named the Cradle of Humankind for its archaeological and geological finds, such as the Homo naledi fossils.

Additionally, Wits Scientists were also part of the team that discovered the Higgs-Boson ‘God Particle’ using the Large Hadron Collider in 2012.

Image courtesy of the University of the Witwatersrand

Wits University is continually investing in cutting-edge technologies for study and industry, with its most recent offering, a new Geosciences Isotope Laboratory, contributing to future findings in geology, palaeontology, and medical explorations in disease isotopic studies.

The lecturers and researchers at Wits lead updated, experience-based courses, with many actively contributing research papers and innovations within their respective fields. Wits geologist, Professor Lewis Ashwal, was noted for his involvement in this year’s discovery of a ‘lost continent’ under the island of Mauritius.

At Wits, both students and teachers profit from the symbiotic nature of research-led learning, as Economic & Business Professor Vishnu Padayachee reflected on the Knowledge Ecosystem at Wits in his Lifetime Fellowship acceptance speech, saying his students taught him “the real business and the purpose of academic endeavour: the freedom to think openly and critically, about the excitement of graduate teaching, about the value of elegant writing, about the fuzzy warmth generated by good research and publishing in top journals, about aiming ever higher and higher, about never settling for an average career.”

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