Robert Dale obtained the degree Master of Arts (MA) at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. On the basis of this degree he was admitted to the MA degree of the University of the Cape of Good Hope in 1884. During the eighteen-eighties he was headmaster of the Grahamstown Public School. In July 1889 he was appointed assistant professor in classical languages and mathematics at Victoria College (from 1918 the University of Stellenbosch). A few years later he was teaching English literature and logic, classics, and mathematics. He retired owing to ill health in December 1898.