Welcome to the School of Arts

This School is a diverse and yet cognate set of schools and disciplines. It brings together the major languages of the region and a range of language and arts disciplines to generate creative, critical and transformatory responses to teaching, research and university service, outreach and the development of international links.

It will promote greater collaboration between the languages, linguistics, applied language studies, media studies and creative/performing arts that will generate more professionally-oriented programmes. It will also enhance existing coherences and synergies in teaching and research.

Professor Donal McCracken


The School Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal is internationally known for its excellence in Research, Teaching and Learning, and Community Engagement. It boasts a substantial number of internationally recognised researchers, NRF-rated scholars and scholars with international recognition for their excellence in Teaching and Learning. Their academic books as well as other academic publications are well prescribed across South Africa, the African continent and internationally.

With the merger between the former University of Natal and the University of Durban-Westville, this reputation was enhanced because it brought together some of the most senior researchers and academics in the country in one school.

The school offers excellent programmes and courses that are well known nationally and internationally. Every year we receive a fair component of local but also international students - both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels - due to the high-level quality of our research as well as the international reputation of our academics. Some of the many programmes that stand out as exceptional are those in Music, isiZulu, English, Linguistics, Media and Cultural Studies, and Drama and Performance Studies. Music and Linguistics are offered only on the Howard College campus in Durban, while other qualifications are offered in Durban and on the Pietermaritzburg campus.

Given the diverse constitution of KwaZulu-Natal, students are prepared to function as academics in their own right in diverse cultural contexts. This relates to some of our courses focusing on the study of our cultural and colonial heritages as well as contemporary international challenges with regard to the global competitiveness of academia and working life. Our students, who excel in this regard at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, are all critically-engaged learners who can both analyse and interpret current local and global social and related challenges but also contribute constructively in institutional, public and governance domains. They possess the highest academic skills in critical and analytical thinking, academic reading, analysis, and interpretation, and constructive writing, and research and knowledge production.

Following our vision statement to be the Premier University of African Scholarship our students are also at the forefront of producing contextually-relevant knowledge to our continent. They are socially conscientised and socio-economically responsive to the wide variety of challenges our continent faces.

Our graduates are well sought after and excel in careers in the various fields of Music; Media and Cultural Studies; Marketing and related fields of Journalism, Editing and Publishing, Public Relations and Corporate Communication as well as Advertising; the various areas of specialisation in Drama and Performance Studies, and Teaching and Learning in Education at both school and university levels. Some of our courses already contain a high level of information technology work and this will be dramatically increased over the next two years. 

The first level of undergraduate studies usually provides a broad base to students. This is also the level where students are formally and informally introduced to university life and skilled to function optimally as productive and successful students at the next levels. The university provides a wide variety of support systems which optimally prepare students for the challenges for university studies, ranging from critical reading and writing skills, through a variety of forms of study and writing skills, to expertise in computer and information technology expertise which may be required from students in the years of study.

From the second level, students usually have to choose their majors and preferred programmes of studies, which they then complete in the third level, preparing them for their postgraduate studies. We recognise that a solid undergraduate programme provides the necessary solid base for a successful postgraduate pathway which will allow students to complete their studies in the shortest possible time at Honours, Masters and Doctoral levels.

Throughout their academic career we have excellent academic staff who accompany students on their academic journeys. As internationally recognised staff, students are assured of the highest levels of support, guidance, mentorship and research supervision in their research projects and dissertations. Research that is contextually-relevant and that contributes to local knowledge production for both local and international consumption is encouraged. Our research outputs are of an international standard and internationally competitive, meaning that our students are in high demand in the job market and in working life.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal offers excellent archival and related resources, a large amount being associated with the School of Arts. We have a number of excellent international partnerships which allow our students to studyi at other universities internationally and on the African continent as part of both student and staff agreements and exchanges.

  • Centre for Visual Art Hosts Fabric of the Universe

    Artworks from Fabric of the Universe

    [18 Aug, 2016] Fabric of the Universe, conceived by award-winning choreographer Lexi Meier, was performed recently at the Jack Heath Gallery at the Centre for Visual Art (CVA).

    Full story

  • Sankofa Band performs at Jazz Centre

    UKZN jazz lecturer Professor Salim Washington

    [12 Aug, 2016] The Sankofa Band, headed by UKZN jazz lecturer Professor Salim Washington, gave a sparkling performance at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music within the School of Arts.

    Full story

  • UKZN Music students excel at Idols SA auditions

    Idols SA stars (from left) Ms Amanda Kunene, Mr Thamsanqa and Mathonsi Ms Nosihe Zulu.

    [04 Aug, 2016] Three UKZN music students - Ms Amanda Kunene, Mr Thamsanqa Mathonsi and Ms Nosihe Zulu - won coveted Idols SA golden tickets during auditions in Durban for the TV talent contest.

    Full story

  • College of Humanities hosts Workshop on Bilingual Teaching

    Tutors at the bilingual workshop.

    [01 Aug, 2016] The College of Humanities recently hosted an exciting workshop on bilingual teaching, organised by the School of Applied Human Sciences under the leadership of Professor Nhlanhla Mkhize.

    Full story

  • Jazz drum showcase at Centre for Jazz and Popular Music

    UKZN Drum lecturer Bruce Baker.

    [01 Aug, 2016] The Centre for Jazz and Popular Music presents the Jazz Drum Showcase - featuring first to third year students and a few alumni who are prominent faces on the Durban and South African music scene - from 6pm on July 27.

    Full story

  • UKZN dance theatre received standing ovations in Grahamstown

    Ms Lliane Loots

    [01 Aug, 2016] days like these - the work of dance lecturer in the Drama and Performance Studies Programme on the Howard College Campus, Ms Lliane Loots - received standing ovations at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

    Full story

  • Visual Arts student wins Standard Bank Ovation Award

    Ms Kristin NG-Yang’s work BIRD/FISH

    [01 Aug, 2016] PhD student Ms Kristin NG-Yang of the Centre for Visual Art (CVA), who had a successful solo exhibition at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, won the coveted Standard Bank Ovation Award for her work BIRD/FISH.

    Full story

  • CCA staffers attend National Arts Festival thanks to Humanities DVC

    At the Grahamstown festival are (from left) Mr Sakhile Gumede, Ms Sylvia Vollenhoven, Ms Siphindile Hlongwa and Professor Cheryl Potgieter.

    [21 Jul, 2016] Two Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) staff members, within the College of Humanities, Ms Siphindile Hlongwa and Mr Sakhile Gumede, recently attended the film festival section of the prestigious National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

    Full story

  • UKZN students shine at Jazz Centre

    UKZN vocalists (from left) Victoria Graaf-Raw, Ms Amanda Kunene, Ms Ashleigh Robyn and Ms Cassie Moore.

    [15 Jul, 2016] The first ever Pop Recitals was presented at the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music (CJPM) by four dynamic vocalists from UKZN’s School of Arts.

    Full story

  • Durban International Film Festival award winners announced

    Together are some of the Film Festival Award winners.

    [07 Jul, 2016] Award winners at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) - hosted by the Centre for Creative Arts (CCA) within the College of Humanities - were announced during the closing ceremony at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban.

    Full story

  • UKZN academic wins Sunday Times Literary Award

    At the Sunday Times Literary Awards are (from left) Alan Paton Award winner Ms Pumla Dineo Gqola; Sunday Times Editor Mr Bongani Siqoko, UKZN’s award winner Dr Nkosinathi Sithole and Advocate Thuli Madonsela.

    [07 Jul, 2016] UKZN’s School of Arts academic Dr Nkosinathi Sithole has won the 2016 Barry Ronge Sunday Times Fiction Award for his debut novel Hunger Eats a Man.

    Full story

  • UKZN part of doctoral school launched in Madagascar

    Professor Bernard De Meyer flanked by Philippe Bataille (AUF Director for the Indian Ocean region), answering questions from journalists.

    [07 Jul, 2016] A new regional doctoral school in Social Sciences and Humanities, titled Languages, Plurality and Development or Prélude, has been launched in Antananarivo, Madagascar, as a project of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF).

    Full story

  • UKZN students participate in DIFF media lab

    The UKZN student media lab team at the Durban International Film Festival.

    [07 Jul, 2016] A team of students under the wing of UKZN’s Centre for Communication, Media and Society (CCMS) recently participated in a media lab for the 2016 Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).   

    Full story

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