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University of Cape Town
Known as the "Harvard of Africa," the University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa's oldest university and one of the continent's leading teaching and research institutions. In 2015, QS World University Rankings, the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities all ranked The University of Cape Town as the highest of any African university, and #14 among all BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) universities. You can study humanities, social sciences, engineering, architecture, business, natural sciences, and law. The breathtaking location of Upper Campus's Jameson Hall looks out onto the city and up at Devil's Peak. While attending UCT, you will get to enjoy over 30 different social clubs and sports throughout the semester.
Fall 1 2023
Mid Jul, 2023 - Mid Nov, 2023
Apr 01, 2023
Forms and Payment Deadline
Apr 15, 2023
72 - 90 Host University Units
3.00 Minimum GPA*
- Apply Now
Study Abroad Program Description
Known as the "Harvard of Africa," the University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa's oldest university and one of the continent's leading teaching and research institutions. You can study in several fields, including Humanities, Social Sciences, Engineering, Law, Business, and Natural Sciences.
Semester + Semester Programs Available: You can combine the Spring + Fall OR Fall + Spring sessions at a discounted price. For more information about this option, please contact your ISA South Africa Program Manager.
Enjoy Flexibility with ISA Flex
We’ve partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to help you overcome common study abroad challenges by adding an ASU Online course to your ISA program. With more than 2,100 courses to choose from, ISA Flex minimizes academic challenges, like major requirements and limited course options, so you can make the most of your experience abroad. Once you’ve applied, access the Flex form in your ISA Student Portal for more information on how to add this to your program and enroll in the course you need.
Students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.00.
You must have second semester sophomore standing at the time of participation in the program.
Comprehensive Advising and Support
Comprehensive Health, Safety, and Security Support
Tuition at the Host University
Bridging Cultures Orientation
Full-Time Resident Staff
On-Site ISA Offices
ISA Discovery Model
Official Transcript from the Host University
Professional Development Toolbox
Host University Units
72 - 90
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
12 - 18
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
18 - 25
IMPORTANT: The courses listed below are just a sampling of all the courses UCT offers. Please use the course handbooks listed under the section title "Go to Host University Course Search" to make final course selections.
- Course Credit
Per the University of Cape Town, 6 HEQF (NQF) credits = 1 U.S. semester credit (1.5 U.S. quarter units). Credit transfer is ultimately determined by the students' home universities. Students can enroll in a total of 72-90 HEQF (NQF) credits per semester.
Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.
- Course Selection
Only courses with an 'F' at the end of the course code will be available during the Spring semester. Example: HST1000F: History of South Africa. Only courses that end with an 'S' are available during the Fall semester. Example: POL1005S
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement and/or prerequisites.
Please consult the UCT Faculty Handbooks for a complete list of course offerings and information.
- Course Level
Students with no prior knowledge about a specific subject should select introductory courses at the 1000 level Students with prior knowledge about a subject should choose courses at the 2000 and 3000 level.
Please note that students may only select 3000 level courses if they meet all pre-requisite qualifications.Additionally, selecting 3000 level courses will prolong the issuing of the University of Cape Town Official Letter, which is required for visa application.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Keep in mind that when choosing courses, even lower level courses at the University of Cape Town can be quite challenging and academically rigorous.
- Course Recommendation
ISA offers course level recommendations for the courses offered by the University of Cape Town (UCT). Please note that the course level recommendations are based on unique course codes provided by the UCT. Courses offered at the UCT are coded according to the area of study, the level of the course contents (which is related to the year of studies), and the semester in which the course is offered. The first 3 letters of the code indicate the area of study, the first number in the following 4 digit numeral indicates the year of studies, and the final letter (F, S or W) indicates the semester in which the course is offered (F = First=Spring, S = Second=Fall, W = Whole year). Courses taken in the 1st and 2nd year of studies are recommended as lower division, while courses taken in the 3rd and 4th year of studies are recommended as upper division and may have certain prerequisite requirements. These ISA recommendations are intended to facilitate the determination of course equivalencies by advisers and credential evaluators at participants' U.S. home institutions.
- Sample Courses and Syllabi
The courses listed below are only a sampling of courses available. As such, certain courses listed below may not be available during every semester. Please click the "Complete University Course Catalog Listing" link for full Course Handbooks. Requests for syllabi can be made to the Program Manager.
Duly Performed/Duly Performed Refusal
Duly Performed (DP) is a grade qualifier used at UCT that will determine a student's eligibility to take their final examination. If a student has received DP for a course, it means that they have met the requirements for continuous assessment (eg. mid-terms, quizzes, assignments) to take their final exam. In the UCT system, grades are heavily contingent on the final exam. The largest percentage of a student's grade in a course is determined by the final exam grade. Opting to not take the final exam will likely lead to a failing grade in the course.
- Transcript Information
The transcript from the University of Cape Town will reflect HEQF credits for each course listed below. Please be in touch with your U.S. University regarding credit transfer for this program.
To access the fullest and most up-to-date course catalog for the host university, click the "Go To Course Search" button below and select the Undergraduate Handbook for your areas of interest.
Go to Host University Course Search HereGo to Course Search
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- Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.
Support & Funding
Funding Your ISA Program
Wondering how you’ll fund your program? ISA’s got you covered! If you receive financial aid for your home university, you will likely be able to use those funds for study abroad too. The first step is usually speaking with your home university. Check out the steps for using financial aid here.
Need to know how much to budget for a term abroad? Take a look at the additional expenses you might expect, depending on your program.
As an ISA participant, you have the opportunity to apply for scholarships and grants that can be applied directly to assist with your study abroad programs. We offer over $1,000,000 in scholarships and grants each year. To see what opportunities are available, visit the scholarships and grants page.View all Funding Options
Living in ISA housing will give you the opportunity to experience aspects of the South African lifestyle that are inaccessible to the average visitor. Uncovering the uniqueness of your surroundings will help you to feel right at home. As a student at the University of Cape Town, you will commute 15 minutes via the UCT bus to class. With an open and adaptable mind, the experience of living in another culture can be highly rewarding.
The residence halls in Cape Town are located off campus. The apartment-style accommodations have shared kitchens and bathroom facilities. Meals and laundry service are not included. You will pay a $500 refundable security deposit if living in this ISA housing option. ISA may retain some, or all, of this deposit in the event of damage to property, or if utility usage exceeds the allotted monthly amount.
THERE’S MORE TO DISCOVER WITH ISA
Aquila Private Game Reserve
Spring Semester Only: The Aquila Game Reserve is a game reserve where you will keep your eye out for the Big 5: the elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, lion, and African buffalo. Gain a sense of the impact of climate change on the ecosystem of the Aquila Game Reserve and enter consider how policy makers can do more to mitigate further damage.
Fall Semesters Only: Learn firsthand about South Africa's vast biodiversity through sea kayaking and whale watching.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Marvel at Cape Town's natural wonders with Table Mountain in the background. Find a new perspective exploring the tree top canopy walkway and the enjoy many types of Proteas, South Africa's national flower.
District Six Museum
Explore the famous museum commemorating the Coloured population of the city.
Langa Community Tour
Designated as a zone for Black Africans prior to apartheid, the Langa Township is a suburb of Cape Town. See first-hand some typical living conditions within the townships of South Africa and meet some of the locals.
Visit the infamous Apartheid-era political prison where former South African president and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years.
Cultural Activities in Cape Town
The ISA on-site team encourages you to explore the city and culture of Cape Town. The team facilitates this by offering a robust calendar of events that showcases what makes Cape Town special.
These activities vary each term, and previous offerings have included a community service day, city walking tour, First Thursdays (visit galleries and attend cultural events around Cape Town), The Castle of Good Hope Museum, and visiting the Old Biscuit Mill for African Cuisine.