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Health Sciences Education

Health Sciences Education

Established in 2015, the Department of Health Sciences Education’s (HSE) primary aim is to enhance the quality of education across the Faculty and in all teaching facilities used by the Faculty. In assisting the Faculty’s Transformation agenda in educational programmes, our goal is to ensure that our graduates are prepared for contextually-relevant clinical practice and to help foster clinical excellence.

Our establishment reflects UCT’s commitment to advancing the field of health sciences education (HSE) and generating scholarship relevant to Africa and other resource-constrained environments. This initiative is also in keeping with the Faculty’s adoption of the Primary Health Care Approach as its lead theme.

We also strive to collaborate with other groupings engaged in HSE research, teaching and service. We provide the Faculty with an academic hub for inter-disciplinary and inter-professional offerings.

Our services

  • Educational development which aligns education, training and health professional practice at both under- and postgraduate levels with all levels of health care delivery.
  • Promotion of excellence in teaching.
  • Learning and assessment at all sites of education and training.
  • Development of innovative educational responses to the unique challenges faced in the South African and African contexts.


Comprised of four divisions, our department is committed to doing and using contextually-relevant research to strengthen the science of educating and training health professionals.

Postgraduate qualifications in the Department of Health Sciences Education

We offer courses in health professional education that are structured to suit a variety of professionals needs. We provide continuing professional development opportunities and an accredited programme for colleagues who teach UCT Health Sciences Students. Please access our postgraduate programmes brochure.

There are various full courses taught at postgraduate level. These are formal qualifications awarded by Faculty of Health Sciences.  For more information, on the programmes and courses available please refer to the faculty handbook. Members of the Education Development Unit with staff from other units in the Department of Health Sciences Education teach and supervise on the programmes. Supervision for PhD and Master’s thesis students is also provided in line with staff research interests. The unit’s contribution to the field of scholarship supports the development of teaching staff, at UCT and more widely. Formal programmes serve staff from UCT and students from outside the UCT teaching community.

Postgraduate Diploma in Health Professional Education

The Department of Health Sciences Education in the Faculty of Health Sciences offers a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Professional Education. This accredited programme will enable educators of Health Sciences students to reflect critically on the theory and practice of teaching, learning, assessment and curriculum development in Primary Health Care-led health systems and curricula.

MPhil in Health Sciences Education (by dissertation)

The Department of Health Sciences Education (HSE) in the Faculty of Health Sciences offers this programme which aims to educate and train researchers from diverse disciplinary and professional backgrounds, enabling them to understand and research complex issues and challenges pertinent to HSE, particularly in resource-constrained environments.

You will be equipped with appropriate in-depth theoretical knowledge and the methodological skills necessary to undertake rigorous research at an advanced level.

Admission requirements

  • PGDip HPE or equivalent
  • Current employment in health sciences education
  • Students may be required to attend an educational research methods course and other coursework as appropriate to the topic of the dissertation, depending on their prior knowledge and experience.

Deadline for applications: 31 October

PhD in Health Sciences Education

The Department of Health Sciences Education in the Faculty of Health Sciences offers this programme which aims to equip candidates to undertake research at the most advanced level, focussed on the features and challenges of HSE, particularly in resource constrained environments.

Admission requirements
Candidates may be required to attend an educational research methods course and other coursework as appropriate to the topic of the dissertation. For more information about applications, contact Nadia Hartman

Contact Us
Dept. of Health Sciences Education
Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Cape Town
Observatory, 7925
South Africa

Tel: +27 21 650 5426
E-mail Nadia Hartman

Guidelines regarding the admin process and for students and supervisors can be accessed here.

Transformation in Educational Programmes

Since its inception in 2000, the EDU (now the Education Development Division) has had a mandate to assist the Faculty of Health Sciences with its Transformation agenda in educational programmes. The transformation agenda is three-pronged:

  1. Restructure educational programmes in order to graduate students who are appropriately prepared for practice in the transforming South African health system that is evolving toward Primary Health Care.
  2. Restructuring of educational programmes to take account of new educational and assessment methodologies emerging in the field of health sciences' education.
  3. Assist the faculty in achieving equity within the student population, ensuring throughput and success of students from previously excluded groupings and educationally under-resourced backgrounds.