Semester in South Africa
Stellenbosch University

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Get a taste for South African life.

World-class academics, cultural experiences, breathtaking views, and adventure abound. Live in South Africa’s oldest college town, and take a variety of courses at Stellenbosch University, including amazing South African-focused classes that dive into the country’s past and present. Ideally situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands, enjoy a climate of hot, dry summers and mild winters in a diverse world of cultures and languages.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English (Afrikaans and Xhosa courses available)
  • Average Courseload: 3-4 courses (12-16 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.6


  • Excursions around Cape Town, the Stellenbosch Winelands, and Table Mountain
  • Innovative curriculum in liberal arts, science, business, social science, languages, and more
  • Extensive adventure opportunities
  • Fantastic sports facilities on campus
  • Private rooms close to campus

Program Details

Stellenbosch University

Study at the world-class Stellenbosch University in the heart of South African wine country. The campus and surrounding communities are a melting pot of cultures. You’ll find a beautiful, safe campus with many international students. You can take innovative courses taught by highly qualified professors. And you’ll have access to Stellenbosch University’s amazing facilities, including a gigantic underground library, a music conservatory, open-air amphitheater, and a student center that has everything a student could want.

Affectionately known as “maties,” Stellenbosch University students (that means you!) can join a wide variety of student organizations, club sports, and social organizations. You can join university trips to Oudshoorn, shark cage diving, a color run, hiking, a trip to the Langa suburb of Cape Town, and a wine weekend! If you want to organize your own adventure, there’s something for everybody in and around Stellenbosch. Take a trip to a nature preserve to meet native South African species, make a toast at a world-famous vineyard, or simply grab a homemade ice cream at a relaxing cafe in town.

Founded in 1918, Stellenbosch University was ranked #11 in the 2016 BRICS & Emerging Economies Ranking and a top 50 University for Development Studies in 2015.

Accreditation: Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Education

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study with 8 or more classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Communications
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Natural & Applied Sciences
  • Health
  • Humanities
  • World Languages

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Course descriptions and catalog:

Stellenbosch University offers two different types of courses – Global Education Program (GEP) courses and Mainstream courses. We advise that students select their first course choices from the Mainstream courses, for integration purposes, since GEP courses are attended only by international students. Also, there are a much wider variety of course options available in the Mainstream course options.

Global Education Program (GEP) Courses:

GEP courses are specifically designed for non-degree seeking, international semester students. They focus on providing study abroad students with an in-depth look at the languages and history of South Africa. Students may enroll in a maximum of two pre-approved GEP courses upon their arrival in South Africa.

Please click here to view the most recent 2019 Term 2 GEP Course Booklet for international students. We recommend that students choose their courses from this booklet, as it is unlikely the courses will change drastically between Term 1 (January – June) and Term 2 (July – December).

Service-Learning Course:

One course that we highly recommend for students interested in service learning is the Global Service Learning course. This course is an experiential learning, writing-intensive, academic credit bearing, community engagement program worth 9 US credits. This course includes both theoretical and practical work where students will learn about eradicating poverty and transforming lives through partnerships. The program enables participants to broaden their understanding of South African history and contemporary life and to develop their global citizenship through community engagement.

For students who would like to apply for the GSL course, please note that this course requires a written response to an essay prompt, which will be submitted with your Stellenbosch application. Ask your Program Coordinator for more details!

Mainstream Courses:

At Stellenbosch University, study abroad students are welcome to apply for Mainstream courses, which form the university’s major degree programs. These courses are open for application to international semester students. Please note, upon arrival, students may register for a maximum of 60 South African credits (15 US credits), but we recommend that students apply for more courses than the maximum credit registration limit.

Students can take courses in English in any of the following faculties at Stellenbosch University. Please see the links to the full course catalogs (known as “yearbooks”) below. Please note that students cannot take courses from the Medicine and Health Sciences or the Military Science Yearbooks.

For more information regarding course codes and how to select courses from the following yearbooks, please click here to view a Guideline of Mainstream Courses Offered.

Mainstream Courses – Yearbooks: 

Faculty of Agri-Sciences Yearbook

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Yearbook

Faculty of Economic and Management Services Yearbook 

Faculty of Engineering Yearbook 

Faculty of Law Yearbook 

Faculty of Education Yearbook 

Faculty of Science Yearbook 

Faculty of Theology Yearbook 

Important Mainstream Course Code Information:

Each course at Stellenbosch University is represented by a three-digit code, which represents the academic level of study and the semester during which the course is offered. The following guideline applies to all undergraduate Mainstream courses offered at SU:

First digit: 1, 2, 3 or 4 – Indicates the year level of the course. You will find classes offered at the 100, 200, and 300 levels. The 200- and 300-level classes are often equivalent to junior- and senior-year classes in the US. They will likely have prerequisites.

Second digit: 1 through 9 – Indicates which semester the course is offered.

  • 1, 2 or 3: Modules offered in the first semester – Stellenbosch University Semester 1 = January to June
  • 4, 5 or 6: Modules offered in the second semester – Stellenbosch University Semester 2 = July to December
  • 7, 8 or 9: Modules offered over two semesters, i.e. a full-year module. Please note that if a student applies for Semester 1 (January to June), they may be eligible to register for a full year course for half the credits only, provided that the academic department agrees to this arrangement. Students who apply for Semester 2 (July to December) are not eligible to apply for a full-year course.  

Third digit: Stellenbosch University purposes only.

When choosing courses, please make sure you double check that the class is appropriate for your academic level of study and is offered during the semester you will be participating on the Semester in South Africa program. For example, Course Code 144 is a first-year subject course offered in Term 2 (beginning in July).

Additional Course Details: The number in parenthesis following the course code indicates the South African credit value of the course. For instance, course 344 (16) Advanced Topics in Molecular Genetics (3L, 3P) is worth 16 South African credits. 4 South African credits = 1 US credit. Students can take a maximum of 60 South African credits (15 US credits).

The series of numbers/letters in parenthesis following the course title indicates the type of instruction and the amount of instruction each week. For the module above, for instance, you can expect three lectures and three practical periods per week for the duration of the module. The following abbreviations are used to indicate the type of instruction:

  • L –Lectures lasting 50 minutes, for example 1L, 3L
  • P – Practical period lasting 50 minutes, for example 1P, 2P, 3P
  • S – Seminar lasting 50 minutes, for example 1S, 2S
  • T – Tutorial lasting 50 minutes, for example 1T, 2T

Why Life in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch, South Africa, is a breathtaking university town nestled in the foothills of the Hottentots-Holland mountain range, beneath the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. Stellenbosch is sheltered in the Jonkershoek valley and is surrounded by soaring mountains on all sides. With dry, warm summers and cool, rainy winters, you’ll rarely see snow in this gorgeous locale!

Known as the center of the South African wine industry, Stellenbosch is the second oldest European settlement in the province after Cape Town. Rich in history and cultural activities, you’ll never have a dull moment. You can spend a weekend touring the many wine estates in the area, which are considered among the top in the world. Visit the Botanical Gardens of Stellenbosch University, or stroll through a nearby nature preserve if you prefer something more slow paced.

With a comfortable population of just over 110,000, Stellenbosch has a city-feel without being overcrowded. For a boost of excitement and energy, Cape Town is only a quick 30-minute bus ride away! South Africa can fit all sides of your personality, whether you’re looking for a scenic walk or are a thrill-seeking adventure. Leap from the highest bungee jump on the planet, dive with great white sharks, or go on safari to see lions, elephants, and rhinos . . . that’s only the beginning!

Live The Local Life

  • Festivals and Music Gigs

    South Africans love their festivals! Every season offers something special, whether it’s music or fun events; it’s a great way to experience community.

  • Baphumelele Orphanage

    Visit and volunteer at this local orphanage. Participate in their monthly art and yoga program.

  • Long Street

    Lined with Bohemian coffee shops and bookstores, discover why this is the heartbeat of Cape Town’s city center.

  • V&A Waterfront Harbour

    Take a stroll along the harbour, enjoying the sweeping views of the Atlantic.

  • Bo-Kaap Neighbourhood

    Here you can learn how to cook local Cape cuisine!

  • Greenmarket Square

    Shop in this local market and get great bargains for Pan-African crafts.

Housing at the University of Stellenbosch


Students will live in single rooms with ensuite bathrooms in one of the two international student accommodations, which are only a five-to-ten minute walk from the heart of campus. Four students will live in each apartment and share the communal kitchen, helpfully equipped with cooking utensils. There is an internet connection available in your room, and we recommend bringing an Ethernet cord to get the best connection possible.

The university offers a student center, where students spend time together and also visit the many coffee shops, restaurants, clothing stores, banks, bookstores, and adventure and travel stores located inside. Living on campus will allow you to explore the area at your own pace; you’ll be in a great position to learn more about the South African culture and the people, which will only enhance your study abroad experience!


Take advantage of having your own kitchen and only cook food that you want to eat! Or dine out on in the lively student center.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • BathroomEnsuite
  • CommuteWalking
  • Kitchen Equipment
  • Single Room

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad support services before, during, and after the program
  • Academic advising
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Pre-departure orientation
  • Airport pickup
  • Stellenbosch University orientation
  • On-site Orientation and support
  • Optional excursions to Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Town
  • Stellenbosch University official transcript
  • The Local Life cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

Upon arrival, take part in both the university and CIS Abroad orientation program. Learn the “do’s and don’ts” of South African life, like how to get around by public transportation, how to stay safe, what to do in case of an emergency, and who to contact if you have any questions. Join in on a welcome meal, something traditional and delicious (ever heard of Bobotie?) so that you can start to taste the local flavor.

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

Though you’re not an astronaut returning from space, re-entering your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system. Your Site Director will walk you through some of the things to expect and reflect on your experiences abroad so that you can remember the highlights as you enjoy a meal to bid farewell to South Africa.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.

Boulder's Beach

This sheltered beach is made up of gigantic granite boulders which provides calm waters for swimming. You’ll have to share the beach with the African penguins who nest there.

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Cape Point Nature Reserve

This reserve marks the southwestern-most tip of the continent. Enjoy dramatic views, deserted beaches, and fantastic hiking trails.

Site Director

Sonya Bell
Travel Tip:

To really experience local culture, no matter where you are in the world, always watch where the locals go for lunch – they usually go for the best local cuisine at the most affordable prices. Also, always be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut.

Travel Tip:

To really experience local culture, no matter where you are in the world, always watch where the locals go for lunch – they usually go for the best local cuisine at the most affordable prices. Also, always be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut.


On completion and graduating with a National Diploma in Travel and Tourism, Sonya decided to travel the world. Participating in a cultural exchange program led her to Vail, Colorado, where a 4-month working visa allowed her to experience what being away from home was all about. Upon returning home, Sonya worked for many years in both the airline industry and tourism in Cape Town, and has now ventured into self-employment by being appointed as an Accredited Assessor for the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. Excited to be able to tap into her own experience in working abroad, Sonya enjoys offering support and guidance to those embarking on new journeys, forming new relationships, and showing off her beautiful home country – as well as spending time with her husband and two fur babies.

Your Support Staff

CIS Abroad Advising & Support
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!

Global Advising

Our advising team will help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal needs. Once you have selected your program our advisor will help you complete your Online Application.

Program Enrollment

Once you’ve started your application and submitted the $90 deposit, you’ll be assigned a program enrollment coordinator who will guide you through the enrollment process to get you abroad!

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

Read more below for information related to this program:

Program Suspended

This program is currently not available for the Academic Year 2021/22. Please consider other options by exploring our Open Semester Programs in 2022, Open January Programs in 2022, or consider a Virtual Internship.

We monitor international indicators and health standards in the country where we operate and our risk management team makes decisions based on those factors and our own policy. We will reopen programs as we are able.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Sep 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 24 (Estimated)
  • Departure: June 25 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Mar 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: July 11 (Estimated)
  • Departure: December 11 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Sep 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 24 (Estimated)
  • Departure: June 25 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Mar 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: July 11 (Estimated)
  • Departure: December 11 (Estimated)
  • Price: $12,890 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.