The University of the Free State (UFS) is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in South Africa. It opened its doors in 1904 on the Bloemfontein Campus with a mere six students in the Humanities. Since then, our institution has grown to more than 37 851 students, spread across seven faculties over three campuses.
In addition to the founding campus, the university has a South Campus in Bloemfontein. This smaller campus provides alternative access to higher education for promising students who have not obtained the required marks in their final school examinations. Our vibrant Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State serves a rapidly-growing number of rural students from the immediate area and surrounding provinces.
The changes taking place at the university continue to capture the imagination of people everywhere, including the international media, and our growing base of international universities.
Inspiring excellence. Transforming lives. These objectives are the driving forces at the heart of the UFS. 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.
One of the reasons for the broader interest in the UFS is our very public commitment to the highest academic standards. This is at the core of our Academic Project. The UFS is a strong academic institution, marked by distinctiveness in teaching, research, and public scholarship. The Academic Project includes rigorous academic entrance qualifications for first-time students, elevated standards for the professoriate, the transformation of undergraduate curricula, the recruitment of world-class professors, and the identification and promotion of next-generation professors.
The UFS remains conscious, however, of its responsibility to turn ideas into action, to make research count in the lives of ordinary people, and to develop a spirit of service through scholarship among our students. Through our Human Project, the UFS seeks to connect the teaching and research of the university to the improvement of human lives. Our scholarship of service, through myriad projects and initiatives, makes the vital connections between campus and communities through the production and dissemination of knowledge. In these pursuits, the university makes human reconciliation one of the foundations of its mission.
UFS at a glance
- 113 years old
- 37 851 students
- 2 866 faculty and support staff
- 3 campuses
- 7 faculties
- 122 departments
A university recognised across the world for excellence in academic achievement and human reconciliation.
The university will pursue this vision through its mission:
- Setting the highest standards for undergraduate and postgraduate education.
- Recruiting the best and most diverse students and professors into the university.
- Advancing excellence in the scholarship of research, teaching, and public service.
- Demonstrating in everyday practice the value of human togetherness and solidarity across social and historical divides.
- Advancing social justice by creating multiple opportunities for disadvantaged students to access the university.
- Promoting innovation, distinctiveness and leadership in both academic and human pursuits.
- Establishing transparent opportunities for lifelong learning for academic and support staff.
The following five core values represent deeply-held commitments that inform every policy and steer every action. These values underpin both the Academic Project and the Human Project of this university.
- Superior Scholarship
- Human Embrace
- Institutional Distinctiveness
- Emergent Leadership
- Public Service