Vista PE

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) is a South African tertiary education institution with its main administration in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. NMMU formed in January 2005 through the merger of the University of Port Elizabeth, the Port Elizabeth Technikon and the Port Elizabeth campus of Vista University.

NMMU brings together technikon-type and university-type education. The University has seven campuses - five in Port Elizabeth and two in the Southern Cape town of George. It has more 23,000 students studying towards diplomas and degrees up to and including doctoral level qualifications. Qualifications are offered in the Faculties of Arts, Business & Economic Sciences, Education, Engineering; the Built Environment & Information Technology, Health Sciences, Law and Science. A number of courses include workplace experience as part of the curriculum.


NMMU was formed through the merger of the following institutions: The PE Technikon, which had its roots in the Port Elizabeth Art School founded in 1882. The institution later became the College for Advanced Technical Education (CATE). The college moved from Central to Summerstrand in 1974 and became the PE Technikon in 1979. The Teachers’ Training College in Summerstrand was taken over by the Technikon in 1994. The PE Technikon expanded to the Southern Cape in 1985 when it took over the College for Forestry, Saasveld, from the Department of Forestry.

The University of Port Elizabeth (UPE), the country’s first dual-medium residential university, came into being on 31 January 1964 and the first academic year commenced on 1 March 1965. UPE moved from Central to Summerstrand in 1974. The campus was officially opened in August 1975 and the final move from Bird Street came in 1979 with the opening of the science blocks at Summerstrand. Built on 830 ha of land donated by the then Port Elizabeth City Council, the campus was declared a nature reserve in 1983.

Vista University (Vista PE) was founded on 1 January 1982 and had its first academic year in 1983. Subsequently, seven decentralized contact tuition campuses were established across South Africa, centered in township areas where the need for accessible and affordable higher education was most urgent. The location of the Port Elizabeth campus opened up access to higher education for many students from socially and financially disadvantaged backgrounds.


The university has a number of academic divisions, including arts and humanities, business administration, education, engineering, and law. The academic year runs from February to November and the primary language of instruction is English.

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