Rhodes>Faculty of Science


The Faculty of Science is a grouping of 14 Departments and two associated research Institutes (Institute for Water Research, IWR; and the Institute for Environmental Biotechnology, EBRU).

The departments can be grouped into mainly four broad areas which are: 

  • The biological sciences (Botany, Human Kinetics & Ergonomics, Ichthyology & Fisheries Science, Zoology & Entomology, and Microbiology)
  • The earth and environmental sciences (Environmental Science, Geography, and Geology)
  • The chemical sciences (Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biotechnology)
  • The mathematical and physical sciences (Computer Science, Mathematics, Mathematical Statistics and Physics).

Although these groupings exist, the boundaries are not clearly defined and some departments and staff are active within more than one group. Indeed departments and staff in departments collaborate with colleagues from all the other faculties in teaching, research and community engagement.

The Departments are mostly small with five to 10 staff and the total academic staff complement of the Faculty is 102.  Our academic staff are well-qualified and more than 90% have a PhD. Our departments are well supported by technical staff.

The Faculty is led by a full time Dean with the support of two part time Deputy-Deans and a Faculty Officer.  Go to People for further details on the Faculty leadership team.

The Dean and Administration Officer have offices in the Schönland Building in the garden of the Botany Department.

While we do not have a vision and mission statement, we believe that the Faculty of Science is:

  • Learned, and characterised by learning and scholarship in all that we do;
  • Fit for purpose;
  • Characterised by collegiality (relating to or involving shared responsibility and power) and a real concern for the well-being and success of others;
  • Forward looking.

The purpose of the Faculty of Science is:

  • To educate, and through education help create the next generation of critical thinking, ethical scientists, researchers and citizens;
  • To research, and through research answer important questions that advance knowledge and improve quality of life;
  • Through education and research, promote transformation.

As a Faculty, our focus is firmly on Teaching & Learning and Research with Community Engagement cutting across our activities.

Student numbers
In the 2017 academic year, the Faculty of Science had 778 undergraduate students and 720 postgraduate students.

Access and Success
Students are admitted to the Faculty of Science based on their performance (APS) in school leaving examinations and a range of additional factors. When the APS is above 40 points, the additional factors play a lesser role, but for students with points between 35 and 40 we look very carefully at all of the socio-economic information that is available and make a decision.

As a Faculty, we monitor success rates every year so that we can detect changes, highlight success and deal with problems.

At first year level important indicators are the average number of credits gained per student, the percentage of students passing fewer than 4 credits (the minimum needed to avoid exclusion) and the percentage passing 6 or more credits (at least 6 credits are required to move into second year).  About 70% of students pass at least 6 courses in their first year. At the end of second year about 85% of students are in a position to complete the following year and in third year more than 80% of those who are expected to complete their degree do so. Of those who complete their degrees, about 70% do so in the minimum time.

Further details about the departments can be found on their own webpages (please click on top menu link for list of departments).



Research and Postgraduate Education:

Research and postgraduate education are core activities in the Science Faculty. Between 2003 and 2012, total weighted outputs (research papers and graduating Master’s and Doctoral students) increased by 96%. There has been a 108% increase in the number of postgraduates (MSc & PhD) graduating between 2003 and 2013 and an 88% increase in papers (2003-2012). In April 2017 we graduated 38 PhDs and 107 Master’s students.

47 of our academic staff have an NRF rating and we have two A rated scientists.

We host seven SARChi Research Chairs in the following areas:


Research Institutes and Units

Visit the departmental web sites to learn more about our research
Our research is strengthened by close collaboration with research institutes and facilities in the region including SAIAB https://www.saiab.ac.za/, SAEON https://www.saeon.ac.za/ and the Albany Museum https://www.ru.ac.za/albanymuseum/.


Please click on links below for more information on research within the faculty and university: