Welcome to Rhodes University, founded in 1904, the University has a well-established reputation for academic excellence.
Rhodes Business School (which changed its name from Rhodes Investec Business School in 2011) was founded in 2000, with seed funding from Investec Ltd. Its first Director, Professor Gavin Staude, served from 2000 to 2009, when he retired and was succeeded by Associate Professor Owen Skae in 2010. The first MBA students were enrolled in 2001, with the first graduation in 2004. The MBA programme was accredited by South Africa’s Council on Higher Education (CHE) in 2004.
It obtained AMBA accreditation in 2014. Rhodes Business School was the first business school in Africa to formally mainstream Environmental Management into its MBA programme in 2005, with a broadened repositioning in 2008 under its essence of ‘Leadership for Sustainability’.
Consistent with all business schools in South Africa, it went through a re-accreditation of its MBA programme in 2015, which led to the new NQF9 programme being accredited by the CHE, with the first cohort in 2016. Rhodes Business School offers PhD, MBA and a Postgraduate Diploma in Enterprise Management (moved from the Department of Management in 2011) and recently received accreditation from the CHE for a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Analysis, which commenced in 2019.
Established in 1904, Rhodes University was formally recognised by the Ministry of Education in June 2002 as a small institution with limited growth potential in semi-rural Grahamstown. The Ministry further stated that it would be in the best interest of Higher Education in the Eastern Cape Province to retain the status of Rhodes as a Traditional University.
The University consistently attracts staff and students of high calibre. The University is also known for excellence in research and for the highest student pass and graduation rates in the country. With fiscal stability, good leadership, effective management and depth of administrative capacity, Rhodes is positioned to significantly contribute to the development of the Eastern Cape region and the higher educational landscape in South Africa. Rhodes defines itself as a University, which offers a personal, multi-faceted and well-balanced educational experience rather than a tertiary education or training in an academic field.
The University’s small size and rural, small town location have conferred a particular set of advantages and challenges which have shaped its development and must be taken into account when planning for the future. Two such being the majority of student enrolments are from outside of Grahamstown, which has resulted in a residential system that has set the standard in the tertiary sector. However, the cost of tuition and accommodation has become exclusionary to middle and lower income families. The rural location has shaped the selected range of Faculties due to the nature of academic requirements of certain disciplines such as Medicine and Engineering. This has led to the development of focus areas such as African Languages; Water, Land and Agrarian reform and Development; Law; Education and Pharmacy.
The University provides a conducive space for intellectual activity that has strengthened the Grahamstown experience. It serves as a place for vigorous debate and activism on a range of social, political and educational issues. The University incubates, grows and matures many ideas. For example, the National Arts Festival, Science Festival, South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, National English Literary Museum, Albany History Museum, Square Kilometre Array (SKA) initiative, Institute for Water Research and the first internet network in South Africa are amongst the most successful initiatives that were initiated and/or incubated at Rhodes University.
Grahamstown provides the University with a microcosm of the challenges facing South Africa. This serves as a basis for thinking about how young people are best educated for lifelong service to the country, the African continent and beyond.