University of the Free State

In Veritate Sapientiae Lux (In Truth is the Light of Wisdom)

South Africa

From the centre of South Africa beats the heart of the University of the Free State (UFS), born from the soil of Bloemfontein – the City of Roses.

The university, its staff, students and alumni are not only transforming lives in the surrounding communities and the Free State province, but its reach stretches across the country, the continent of Africa and abroad.

The UFS was established in 1904 as the Grey University College with 6 students. Today we pride ourselves on having more than 33 000 students thriving across three campuses.In 2003 the university brought the Qwaqwa Campus – situated in the picturesque Eastern Free State – and in 2004 the South Campus –nestled in the hills overlooking the vibrant city of Bloemfontein – into its fold. 

As part of the mission to become ‘a university recognised across the world for excellence in academic achievement and in human reconciliation’, our university, its staff, students and alumni play a pivotal role in the central parts of South Africa, the country as a whole, the region, Africa and abroad.

Over 2 000 students from across the African continent and around the world find a home here on campus, representing 40 countries. These students are attracted by the vast variety of programmes in seven faculties for undergraduate and postgraduate students. Some of these are programmes where the UFS takes a leading role in Africa.

The university’s extensive and growing relationships and agreements with universities and institutions overseas assist in the UFS becoming a global player in academic research and leadership.


Our responsibility

At the UFS we realise that the future starts today. For this reason, it is imperative to support students throughout their student lives by means of the Student Life Colleges, advising and counselling services, Health and Wellness programmes, sport and cultural activities and safe integrated residences. Students are part of the broader community to which we as a university belong and thus have a responsibility to.

The UFS encourages social programmes, community involvement and the sharing of knowledge in an effort to uplift those within the community. At the university students become leaders in a global society, our research improves lives and we add millions to the economy of the province and country through projects and expertise.

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Key staff:

Chancellor: Dr Khotso Mokhele

Prof Francis Petersen
Rector and Vice-Chancellor

Key facts:

  • 40 491 Students
  • Over 4 000 faculty and support staff
  • 7 Faculties
  • 114 Departments
  • 59 Satellite campuses
  • We are 114 years old (1904-2018)
  • 158NRF-rated researchers
  • 5 Tier-1 SARChI research chairs (internationally recognised researchers)
  • 18 International research partnerships
  • 240 Postgraduate research degrees on average conferred per year
  • 221% Research output increase since 2010