Message from the Dean

Prof Wynand JvdM Steyn

The Future of Work, the future of education and – ultimately – our survival, are being redefined by disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Robotics, Smart Cities and Big Data. Innovative technologies such as these are at the centre of a qualification from the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT).

Innovation is our business: not just innovative technologies that lead to real-world change on the outside, but also innovation from within. The COVID-19 pandemic fast-tracked several technological innovations that disrupted the world as we knew it. It propelled us into new and creative ways of navigating life, and reconceptualised the Future of Work.

Our Faculty responded to these challenges by ensuring that we remain relevant and lead by example. The digital transformation process that is driven by technology extends beyond tools and processes. It impacts on individuals and organisations, and results in the improved wellbeing of both people and the planet. It also enhances globalisation by removing physical barriers, making it possible to work anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Future-focused and transdisciplinary research is imperative to making sense of this new digitalised world. Our state-of-the-art Engineering 4.0 Complex is positioning the University of Pretoria as a centre of excellence in smart transportation. The research done here is testimony to our thought leadership and frontline position on the global stage. Other transdisciplinary projects include the Hatfield Digital Twin City, additive manufacturing for electronic systems, and the development of smart avos and smart alternative platforms.

Our four-legged robot, SmWoef is our latest smart alternative platform to be used for research. This robot can transport sensors into high-risk environments that are not safe or accessible for humans to collect useful data. This is an excellent example of how robots and humans can co-exist and work together to innovate our tomorrow. And you can be part of this future.

EBIT has more than 30 research chairs and entities, which attracts high-quality students and researchers. Our work relates to fields such as AI, Big Data science, robotics, machine learning, the planning and construction of green buildings, urban citizenship, information and communication technology (ICT), technology innovation, water and environmental engineering, green energy, minerals and materials beneficiation, smart cities and intelligent transportation.

It is one of the few faculties of its kind in Africa to feature among the top 550 in the world in six subject areas in the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject. Our School of Engineering is ranked 352nd out of more than 10 000 engineering schools in the field of engineering and technology. Our programmes in electrical and electronic engineering continue to feature at the top of all South African universities, while the Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering was named the top Mechanical Engineering department in South Africa in the latest Shanghai Ranking. We are also particularly proud of the recognition received by our programmes in mineral and mining engineering, which have been ranked in 33rd position worldwide.

Through our close ties with industry partners, we continuously search for collaboration opportunities to enhance the relevance of our academic programmes and enable our students to acquire scarce and highly specialised skills. This is why our graduates are in such high demand. Our students can also start their own businesses on campus through the high-tech business incubator, TuksNovation.

By continuously improving our teaching and learning activities, we are able to help our students succeed in their studies. Our academic staff go to great lengths to bring the world of work to the lecture halls. EBIT offers 29 undergraduate degree programmes, and our degrees are accredited by national and international statutory and professional bodies. We follow a hybrid teaching model and have superb laboratory facilities. Learning is facilitated by a motivated team of dedicated academics, supported by highly competent administrative staff and student advisors.

The Faculty strives to accommodate as many students who meet the admission criteria as possible. Since places are limited, we recommend that learners who excel in their studies apply early. Prospective students are also encouraged to visit our website for further information and to submit their online applications without delay.  

We look forward to receiving your application to join one of our degree programmes for an enriching and rewarding experience at the University of Pretoria.

- Author Estie Powell

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