Semester in South Africa
University of Cape Town

LGBTQIA+ Friendly

Enjoy an all around exceptional semester, from adventure to academics.

Between its exceptional diversity, vibrant student life, and gorgeous built and natural environments, University of Cape Town (UCT) has earned its top rank in all of Africa. UCT also offers such a huge variety of courses that you’ll likely find something to suit your needs, whether that’s engineering or social work. When you’re not engaging with your peers through one of the University’s many social and athletic clubs, head into Cape Town for world-class beaches, shops, cafes, art galleries, and entertainment.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English
  • Average Courseload: 3-4 courses
  • GPA Requirement: 3.0


  • Choose from a wide range of course offerings
  • Study surrounded by stunning mountain slopes
  • Participate on campus with 100+ student clubs and 40+ sports clubs
  • Volunteer for important causes like illiteracy, unequal access to justice, and housing shortages
  • World-renowned beaches, shops, stores, cafes, and art galleries

Program Details

University of Cape Town

Founded in 1829, the University of Cape Town (UCT) currently ranks as Africa’s top-rated university. UCT has a vibrant, diverse, cosmopolitan community, with the most diverse student body in all of Africa and a tradition of campus activism and opposition to apartheid. UCT staff and students come from many different communities in South Africa, as well as more than 100 countries across Africa and the rest of the world.

Regularly cited as one of the world’s most beautiful campuses, University of Cape Town (UCT) is situated on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and just a few miles from the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The academic offerings at UCT are exceptionally varied, with courses across most majors and particularly strong Commerce (Business), Law, and Medicine departments. Students can participate in UCT-organized service-learning and volunteer opportunities to contribute towards education and healthcare service projects. There are also more than 100 societies and over 40 sports clubs on campus.

Areas of study with 8 or more classes available

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

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

Choose Your Courses

The Semester in South Africa – University of Cape Town program offers students the possibility to take up to four courses per semester (the normal course load is three or four courses) from across the university’s six faculties: Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Science, Health Sciences, Humanities, and Law.

All courses on offer are listed in the handbook of the faculty in which you will be registering and lecture/tutorial times and venue details are also listed in the online course timetable for reference.

Pay careful attention to the suffix of the course code:
F indicates it is offered in the first semester (February – June)
S indicates it is offered in the second semester (July – November)

Study abroad students are not able to take a course with a suffix of W or H as these are offered for the full year. However, students wishing to take W or H courses in the performing arts may inquire with the academic department if they can offer a semester version of the course.

Students are allowed to take courses across faculty offices, provided that they are approved to take those courses. The academic advisor will sign off on registration forms and the curriculum form at the registration venue.

Structure of Course Codes

Each code has eight characters. EXAMPLE: AAA1nnnS, where

    • AAA is a 3 alpha-character group identifying the department
    • 1 is a number representing the year of study in which the course is usually taken
    • nnn is a 3 character number that identifies the course uniquely
    • S is a single alpha-character suffix, giving information about the duration and semester placement of the course
      • Suffixes which are most frequently used in the Faculty are:
        • F First semester course
        • S Second semester course
        • W Whole-year course
        • H Half-course taught throughout the year
        • Z Non-standard period

Why Life in Cape Town

Cape Town is one of South Africa’s most stunningly beautiful cities. The impressive Table Mountain rises over the city, where cable cars give you tremendous views of the South African coastline. The city itself is cosmopolitan, with easy access to shopping, nature, professional sports, and plenty of beaches.

Cape Town is one of three capital cities of South Africa—the other two being Pretoria and Bloemfonteim—and serves as the legislative branch of government. The city has also played host to major sporting events, including the semifinal matches of the 1995 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Cape Town offers a wealth of opportunities for all kinds of travelers. Vineyards dot the countryside and produce some of the world’s best wines. If you’re a history buff or interested in the cultural side of South Africa, visit museums like Robben Island and District Six Museum. Finally, you can take a guided safari tour, explore one of the many nature reserves, relax on one of the pristine South African beaches, or spend the afternoon greeting penguins who call the region their home.

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 in Cape Town


Students stay in housing close to campus, generally within walking distance or a short (free) shuttle ride away from campus. Rooms are equipped with basic furniture – a bed, cupboard, desk, chair, bookcase, wastepaper bin, curtains and notice board.

Inclusions and Amenities

  • CommuteWalkingShuttle
  • Desk

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
  • University of Cape Town transcript
  • CIS Abroad orientation
  • Excursions
  • On-site support
  • On-campus wi-fi
  • 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: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 26 (Estimated)
  • Departure: June 26 (Estimated)
  • Price: $15,990 - $16,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Apr 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: July 3 (Estimated)
  • Departure: November 12 (Estimated)
  • Price: $15,790 - $16,790 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Oct 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 26 (Estimated)
  • Departure: June 26 (Estimated)
  • Price: $15,990 - $16,890 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Apr 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: July 3 (Estimated)
  • Departure: November 12 (Estimated)
  • Price: $15,790 - $16,790 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

Low end of range: Double Room
High end of range: Single Room

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.