Science by gyvwpsjkko


                               i    Faculty Secretary: Mr Bevin Abels • Tel: +27 (0)21 808 4832 • E-mail:
                                    Web site: • See also Calendar, Part 5 *Programmes suitable for international students

     Over the past decade the Faculty of Science - with its rich tradition   and studies are supported by very modern equipment and highly
     dating back to the earliest days of Stellenbosch University - has       trained and experienced staff. The principal areas of research are
     undergone dynamic changes to transform itself into a national and       highlighted under the departments further on.
     international role player in basic and applied research.                  Some of our programmes may include subjects from
       Our number of postgraduate students has also grown con-               departments in other faculties. Should you wish to un­
     siderably and the research outputs achieved by our academics            dertake postgraduate studies in such a subject, please
     and postgraduates have more than doubled. Furthermore we are            consult the relevant department for more informa­
     proud to be in a healthy financial position thanks to the support of    tion. The reference numbers of those departments are
     the private and industrial sectors.                                     shown in the table below.
       The eight departments of the Faculty are housed in a number
     of buildings on the main campus, where postgraduate research

      QUALIFICATION                    FIELDS OF STUDY

                                       Animal Physiology (see Dept. 3), Applied Mathematics (see dept. 57), Biochemistry, Chemistry,
                                       Computer Science (see dept. 57), Entomology (see dept. 4), Genetics (see dept. 7), Geoinfor-
                                       matics (see dept.18), Geology, Mathematics, Mathematical Statistics (see dept. 36), Microbiology,
                                       Nematology (see dept. 4), Operations Research (see dept. 34), Physical and Mathematical Analysis,
                                       Physics, Physiological Sciences, Plant Biotechnology (see dept. 7), Polymer Science, Psychology
                                       (see dept. 26), Wine Biotechnology (see dept. 11).

                                       All fields of study mentioned under BScHons PLUS:
      MSc                              Botany, Exercise Science, Systematics and Biodiversity, Geography and Environmental Studies (see
                                       dept. 18) and Zoology.

      MPhil                            Exercise Science.

      PhD                              All fields of study mentioned under MSc and MPhil can lead to doctoral studies.

         DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHE-                        dependent enzyme systems and other            - MSc and PhD in Botany*

         MISTRY                                       steroid binding proteins, as well as on eu-   - MSc and PhD in Zoology*
                                                      karyotic signal transfer and gene expres-     - MSc in Systematics and Biodiversity*
     For more information                             sion, are studied on a fundamental level.       (in cooperation with the University of
     Tel: +27 (0)21 808 5862                          (3) Molecular genetic methods are used          Cape Town)
     Fax: +27 (0)21 808 5863                          to elucidate the phylogenetics of plants.
     E-mail:                            (4) Applied research is done on antimi-       The Department teaches and conducts
     Web site:                 crobial peptides, malaria, plant hormones     research at postgraduate level in a va-
                                                      and plant resistance, and to develop          riety of internationally competitive re-
     - BScHons, MSc and PhD in Biochemistry*          membrane affinity separation systems for      search programmes. It is also home to
                                                      use in industrial effluent treatment.         the DWT/NRF Centre of Excellence for
     The Department does internationally                                                            Invasive Biology (CIB).

     competitive research and our postgrad-                DEPARTMENT OF BOTANY                     Postgraduate programmes are research-
     uate programmes focus specifically on                 AND ZOOLOGY                              based. The Faculty requires master’s
     research in the fields below.                                                                  students to complete an oral (20% of
                                                      For more information                          the programme) on their theses.
     (1) In systems biology and bioinformat-          Tel: +27 (0)21 808 3236                         Our fields of research are ecophysi-
     ics the theory of control analysis is in-        Fax: +27 (0)21 808 2405                       ology,    ecotoxicology,    evolutionary
     tegrated with computer simulation and            E-mail:                    and behavioural ecology, herpetology,
     experiment and applied to prokaryotic            Web site:                molecular systematics, phylogenom-
     and eukaryotic metabolism.                       Brochure at             ics, conservation genetics, vegetation
     (2) Biologically active natural products         course/index.htm                              science, population biology of plants,
     and their effects on cytochrome P450-                                                          fynbos systematics, vertebrate func-

tional biology, climate change, ecology,    University is uniquely positioned to do        Our core research areas include tec-
invasive biology and animal-plant inter-    high-quality research in amongst oth-          tonic studies, structural geology, sedi-
actions.                                    ers analytical polymer chemistry, po-          mentary processes, petroleum geology,
                                            lymerisation methodology and polymer           base-metal (underground and placer)
    DEPARTMENT OF CHEMIS-                   fibres (smart or functional textiles and       mineral deposits, experimental petrol-

    TRY AND POLYMER SCIENCE                 nanofibres), as well as the development        ogy, granitoid petrogenesis, metamor-
                                            of membrane technology for the treat-          phic petrology, stable-isotope geo-
For more information                        ment of water. Research areas include          chemistry and soil, water and marine
Tel: +27 (0)21 808 3357                     new polymers (free radical polymerisa-         geochemistry.
Fax: +27 (0)21 808 3360                     tion and coatings; structural properties
E-mail:                       of polyolefins; advanced macromolecu-
Web site:           lar architectures); polymer characteri-
                                            sation; electrospinning and nanofibre
- BScHons, MSc and PhD in Chemistry*        yarns; membranes and process devel-
- BScHons, MSc and PhD in Polymer           opment.
                                            Supramolecular chemistry and
Three research chairs have been             materials: The focus of groups in this
awarded to the Department in recent         research area is to design, synthesise
years – in nanostructured functional        and characterise new functional mate-
materials, advanced macromolecular          rials, particularly porous materials that
architectures, and polymer characteri-      can be used for gas sorption with ap-
sation, respectively.                       plication in gas storage and separation.
  The research initiatives of our re-       While there is a strong emphasis on
searchers, some of whom are inter-          application, such new materials often
national leaders in their fields, cover a   provide interesting insights and lead
range of research areas and topics:         into other areas of chemistry.

Analytical chemistry: State-of-the-art      In addition to the MSc in Chemistry and
instrumental techniques are used and        MSc in Polymer Science, where a re-
new methods are developed to anal-          search project is undertaken resulting
yse components in complex mixtures,         in a thesis, an MSc in Chemistry spe-
such as South African wines. Research       cialising in analytical chemistry can be
topics include separation science and       taken. It consists of a taught compo-
semiochemistry.                             nent of 40% with modules presented in
                                            block sessions.
Inorganic and organometallic chem­

istry: Research initiatives focus on ap-        DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY
plications in local industry and medicine
and include the development of new          For more information
homogeneous catalysts and techniques        Tel: +27 (0)21 808 3159
for the characterisation of precious met-   Fax: +27 (0)21 808 3129
als and their complexes, ligand design      E-mail:
and platinum metals chemistry.              Web site:

Physical chemistry: Research is fo-         The South African geological record is
cused on the use and application of         superb and unique, providing a world-
computational techniques to study the       class natural laboratory for those inter-
structure and properties of isolated        ested in research in the earth sciences.
molecules, crystalline systems, and         The rapidly growing concern with envi-
chemical reactions with high-level com-     ronmental issues related to human activ-
putational mode.                            ities, such as mining, is catered for in our
                                            environmental geochemistry stream.
Organic chemistry: Work focus on               Staff in this Department provide valu-
synthesis, particularly the preparation     able support to postgraduate students
of functional ligands for the develop-      and commonly have research funding
ment of new selective catalysts for use     and bursaries available for postgraduate
in synthetic organic chemistry.             students. The postgraduate population
                                            of the Department is cosmopolitan and,
Polymer science: As the only chem-          in recent years, we have attracted stu-
istry department in the country with an     dents from Germany, Namibia, the UK,
in-depth focus on polymer science, the      Zimbabwe, France, Japan and Gabon.

     BScHons with Geology*                       • Computational algebra and crypto-            and industry.
     This programme offers three streams:          graphy                                       - Complexity includes topics such as
     Applied geology, petroleum geology          • Computational mathematics and ap-            chaos and nonlinear dynamics, dis-
     and environmental geochemistry. It            proximation theory                           ordered systems in physics, network
     stretches over one year and is mainly       • Mathematical finance                         optimisation and analysis, and compu-
     taught, but with a strong research          • Biomathematics                               tational complexity.
     component. The project work includes                                                       - Data security focuses on the mathe-
     a programme of data acquisition and         The honours stream in biomathematics           matical and computational foundations
     manipulation and is usually organised in    is offered by the Department of Math-          of safe data transmission, including
     collaboration with industry and/or with     ematical Sciences in collaboration with        cryptography, number theory, informa-
     the aim of furthering the Department’s      the African Institute for Mathematical         tion security, network protocols and
     core research goals. An assignment is       Sciences (AIMS) in Muizenberg (see             quantum information.
     submitted.                                  dept. 65 below). Students registering
                                                 for this Stellenbosch University degree        MSc students may do a semester of
     MSc with Geology*                           will spend six months of the course            coursework at AIMS (see dept. 65).
     This programme consists of a thesis         (January to June) at AIMS to follow
     on a research project that may include      special modules presented by local             APPLIED MATHEMATICS DIVISION
     field work and/or laboratory research,      and international specialists in the fields    For more information
     as required by the supervisor(s). An oral   of modelling of biological and biomedi-        Tel: +27 (0)21 808 4215
     examination is compulsory.                  cal systems, population dynamics,              Fax: +27 (0)21 808 3778
                                                 biomathematics and bio-informatics.            E-mail:
     PhD with Geology*                           Students are based on the Stellenbo-           Web site:
     A thesis that is the product of personal    sch campus for the second part of the
     and independent research is required.       course, where they will do project work        The research programmes of the Division
                                                 under supervision of a researcher in           of Applied Mathematics are aimed at the
         DEPARTMENT OF MATHE-                    mathematics and a researcher in bio-           demands set by industry and strength-

         MATICAL SCIENCES                        logical or biomedical sciences.                ened by the Division’s extensive collabo-
                                                   The master’s programme consists              ration with the Faculty of Engineering.
     For more information                        mainly of research guided by a super-          All research activities are supported by
     Web site:             visor. One third of the programme in-          computer hardware and software.
                                                 volves coursework on topics relating to
     MATHEMATICS DIVISION                        the research field.                            Our main areas of research include:
     For more information                                                                       - Discrete mathematics: The focus is
     Tel: +27 (0)21 808 3282                     The doctoral programme consists of writ-       on graph theory and coding theory. In
     Fax: +27 (0)21 808 3828                     ing a dissertation that contains the results   graph theory the accent is on domination
     E-mail:                   of independent mathematics research.           theory, colourings of graphs and Ramsey
     Web site:                                                                   theory, while coding theory is presented
                                                 BScHons, MSc* and PhD* in Physi­               as an application of vector spaces over
     Postgraduate students work with aca-        cal and Mathematical Analysis                  finite fields, as well aspolynomial rings.
     demics in the following research areas:     Web site:                        - Fluid flow modelling: This field concen-
     combinatorics, lattice theory, algebraic    The honours programme is run jointly           trates on the modelling of various aspects
     number theory, arithmetic algebraic ge-     by the Departments of Physics and              of multiphase transport such as non-
     ometry, algebra, topology and category      Mathematical Sciences (Mathematics,            Newtonian flow, heat transfer, electrical
     theory, functional analysis, discrete       Applied Mathematics and Computer               conduction and dispersion in porous me-
     mathematics, wavelets and subdivision       Science) and may lead to an MSc and            dia. Applications include water seepage
     analysis, mathematical finance and          a PhD in Physical and Mathematical             through rocks and soils, filtration, and the
     biomathematics.                             Analysis.                                      dispersion of contaminants.
                                                 The curriculum for each student is             - Numerical methods and computa-
     BScHons, MSc and PhD in Math­               composed individually and comprises            tion: Algorithms for scientific comput-
     ematics*                                    an advanced theory component and               ing are developed and analysed. These
     The Honours in Mathematics gives stu-       research conducted under the guid-             algorithms include methods for solving
     dents the opportunity to choose spe-        ance of a study leader. Programmes             differential equations and performing
     cific modules to that provide a focus to    offer research topics combining a high         matrix computations. Application areas
     their individual programmes, according      level of mathematical skill with interdis-     are machine learning, image processing,
     to their background and interests and       ciplinary teamwork.                            pattern recognition, computer vision and
     the available expertise of the staff. A     The focus falls on the following topics:       the computation of wave phenomena.
     student may, subject to the Division’s      - Numerical analysis combines numeri-
     approval, take up to half of his or her     cal techniques with mathematical theo-         BScHons, MSc, PhD in Applied
     programme at another department.            ry such as wavelets and approximation          Mathematics*
                                                 theory, nonlinear filters, image process-      The contents and teaching methods
     The proposed focus areas are:               ing, and pattern recognition and ap-           of the postgraduate programmes are
     • Traditional mathematics                   plies these to problems from academia          geared towards the needs of potential

employers, and new developments in               DEPARTMENT OF MICRO-                     den), and investigates for instance the
the subject area itself. Communication           BIOLOGY                                  properties of nuclear particles such as
and presentation skills (written and oral)                                                protons in a nuclear medium. The pro-
are emphasised and developed by re-          For more information                         gramme is backed by theoretical work
quiring that students regularly hand in      Tel: +27 (0)21 808 5847                      that uses multi-particle formalism and
and present projects.                        Fax: + 27 (0)21 808 5846                     quantum field theory to investigate as-
  For the Honours programme in Ap-           E-mail: or      pects such as the properties of exotic
plied Mathematics a student chooses          Web sites:        nuclei that are of importance to areas
six modules, supplemented with two           and                   like astronomy. Other topics include
compulsory modules: one in generic                                                        dispersion within a relativistic perspec-
skills and a year project.                   Research in the Department focuses           tive and the properties of neutrons that
  Master’s students must complete a          on bacteria, yeasts and fungi. It in-        relate to neutron stars.
thesis guided by a supervisor. Addition-     volves fundamental research into the         Laser physics: This stream prepares the
al work (in the form of course modules)      molecular biology of these organisms,        student for a career in all fields of phys-
may also be prescribed by the Division.      the expression of heterologous genes         ics and beyond by working in a young
Students in the doctoral programme           and applications thereof in the food         and lively team of optics and laser
complete a dissertation under the guid-      and biomining industries, as well as the     scientists, by learning critical thinking
ance of a promoter.                          breakdown of plant matter into biofuels.     and by independently solving challeng-
                                             There is also a strong research interest     ing modern research problems. Well-
COMPUTER SCIENCE DIVISION                    in microbial ecology, especially biofilms    equipped research laboratories provide
For more information                         and interactions and the identification      hands-on experience with lasers in
Tel.: +27 (0)21 808 4232                     of fungi in the fynbos.                      projects in femtosecond science, laser
Fax: +27 (0)21 808 4416                                                                   spectroscopy of inorganic and organic
E-mail:                    BScHons*, MSc* and PhD* in Mi­               samples, development of novel fibre la-
Website:                    crobiology                                   sers and specialised materials process-
                                             The BScHons includes formal modules,         ing techniques. The experimental work
BScHons in Computer Science*                 seminars, self-study and experimental        is supported by theoretical studies of
This programme consists of a program-        work. Assessment is continuous with          the physics of light and optics, lasers,
ming project and six subjects, two           an oral examination at the end of the        atoms and molecules and the interac-
of which can be taken from a related         programme. Topics covered may in-            tion between light and matter.
department. Subjects offered include         clude genome dynamics, biology of            Radiation and therapy physics: This
bioinformatics, databases, concurrent        yeasts, DNA cloning and antimicro-           stream is geared to an eventual career
programming, advanced algorithms             bial resistance. The number of stu-          as a radiation physicist in areas of med-
and data structures, machine learning,       dents taken in each year is limited by       icine or industry that make use of radio-
automata with application to image,          the number of places available in our        activity applications. The programme is
speech and language processing, com-         research laboratories.                       presented in conjunction with iThemba
puter networks and computer graphics.          Students who follow the MSc or PhD         LABS and the Medical Physics Division
                                             programme in Microbiology write a thesis     at Tygerberg.
MSc and PhD in Computer Science*             or dissertation respectively based on one
These programmes consist of a re-            of the Department’s research focus ar-       *Honours in Theoretical Physics
search project that is completed under       eas. An oral examination is also required.   The focus here is on complex sys-
the direction of a supervisor and results                                                 tems and applications of quantum

in a thesis or dissertation respectively.        DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS                    field theory, including work on the
Fields of study include bioinformatics,                                                   localisation-delocalisation transition in
concurrent programming, machine              For more information                         metals, Bose-Einstein interferometry in
learning, automata with application to       Tel: +27 (0)21 808 3391                      high-energy cascades, supersymmetry
image, speech and language process-          Fax: +27 (0)21 808 3385                      in nuclei and the statistical physics of
ing, computer networks and software          E-mail:                 certain biological systems and poly-
engineering.                                 Web site:              mers. Activities in theoretical physics
  Research in machine learning focuses                                                    in the Department of Physics and the
on applications to intelligent systems,      - BScHons, MSc and PhD in Physics*           National Institute for Theoretical Phys-
computer vision, speech recognition          - BScHons, MSc and PhD in Theoreti-          ics (NITHeP) in Stellenbosch are fully
and robotics. In bioinformatics the fo-        cal Physics*                               integrated.
cus is on mathematical and computa-
tional modelling of biological systems       Honours in Physics*                          *Master’s and PhD
with the use of genetic data.                This programme has different streams         All Master’s programmes consist of
                                             in which a student may specialise.           coursework (20-30%) and research
                                             Nuclear physics: This stream focuses         leading to a thesis. The PhD pro-
                                             on experimental nuclear physics (for         grammes consist of research only,
                                             which experiments are conducted at           leading to a dissertation.
                                             iThemba LABS at Faure and also at ac-
                                             celerators in the USA, Japan and Swe-

         DEPARTMENT OF PHYSIOLOGICAL SCIENCES                            nutrition and exercise physiology with the emphasis on ath-
                                                                         lete consultation in the MPhil and research in the MSc, al-
     For more information                                                though both aspects are covered in each programme.
     BScHons: Dr Rob Smith

     E-Mail:                                                AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR MATHEMATICAL
     Tel: +27 (0)21 808 3154                                                 SCIENCES (AIMS)
     MSc and PhD: Dr Anna-Mart Engelbrecht
     E-mail:                                               For more information
     Tel: +27 (0)21 808 4573                                             Tel: +27 (0)21 787 9320
     MPhil and MSc in Exercise Science: Dr Carine Smith                  Fax: +27 (0)21 787 9321
     E-mail:                                            E-mail:
     Tel: +27 (0)21 808 4388                                             Web site:
     Web site:
                                                                         AIMS is an internationally acclaimed initiative supported jointly in
     - BScHons in Physiological Sciences (taught programme with          Muizenberg by the Universities of Cambridge (UK), Oxford (UK),
       research)                                                         Paris-Sud (France), Cape Town, Western Cape and Stellenbosch.
     - MSc and PhD in Physiological Sciences* (research)
     - MSc in Exercise Science* (taught programme with re-               AIMS Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematical Sciences*
       search)                                                           Very talented students from all over Africa (including South
     - MPhil in Exercise Science* (taught programme with research        Africa) are selected from applications. They are fully funded to
       done continuously, but part-time on Stellenbosch)                 attend intensive coursework given by renowned international
     The worldwide tendency in the biological sciences to work           On completing this one-year diploma, students who wish to
     in multidisciplinary teams has also found expression in our         continue with their research can then register for the MSc in
     postgraduate programmes. Research is done in collaboration          Physical and Mathematical Analysis (see Dept. 61) or for an
     with many international research associates.                        MSc in Mathematics, Physics or Computer Science.
     Research areas
     Cellular and molecular physiology of muscle tissue: Our
     research on the cellular and molecular aspects of differentia-
     tion, growth and regeneration versus wasting and apoptosis
     is focused on human muscle cells, the laboratory rat model
     and cell cultures, including stem cells. We study cardiac
     muscle cells (after experimental heart attack or in response to
     hypobaric, low oxygen conditions) and skeletal muscle cells
     (after microdamage or muscle wasting induced by surgical
     stress or immobilisation).
     Environment, nutrition and exercise: We study acute and
     long-term adaptations in humans to delayed onset of muscle
     soreness, altered training programmes, oxygen intake or
     nutritional intake. Athletes are studied in the laboratory and
     the field using modern technological devices. The analysis of
     muscle biopsies and immune cells links this field of human life
     sciences to that of the cellular and molecular physiologists.
     Pathology: Selected pathological conditions, such as HIV/
     AIDS, Type II Diabetes and inflammatory conditions such as
     cancer, heart failure and muscle and tendon injuries are stud-
     ied on the patient’s level, as well as on a cellular and molecu-
     lar level in models.

     MPhil and MSc in Exercise Science
     We offer a unique, part-time MPhil in Exercise Science for stu-
     dents holding a degree in Physiology or any related biological
     science (such as medicine, dietetics, physiotherapy, genetics
     or biochemistry).

     A full-time MSc is offered to students with at least three of the
     following as undergraduate subjects: Physiology, Biochem-
     istry, Sport Science and Nutrition. Students must also have
     completed four years of study (either as a four-year BSc or a
     three-year BSc plus a BScHons).

     These two programmes integrate physiology, biochemistry,


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