As an international student, you could spend one or two semesters at Africa’s leading academic institution!

The Semester Study Abroad programme is coordinated through the University of Cape Town’s International Office and is designed for international students who wish to spend one or two semesters at UCT, taking (mostly) undergraduate courses for the purpose of transferring credit, on completion, to their home institution, for (usually) undergraduate degree credit.

  1. Students should have completed at least three semesters' study at their home institution prior to their arrival at UCT.
  2. Students remain registered at their home institution during the period of their study abroad.
  3. Courses undertaken may be at undergraduate or postgraduate level, depending on the student's academic background, and the ability of the academic departments concerned to admit the student to the courses.
  4. Usually not more than four courses are taken per semester. In some cases, students take two UCT courses while completing a research project for their home institution.
  5. A study visa is required.
  6. Credits earned as an SSA student may never be counted towards a UCT qualification.

Why the Humanities, the most popular destination at UCT?

Did you know that the Faculty of Humanities is the most popular destination at UCT for Semester Study Abroad students? This is because we offer visiting and resident students a wide variety of academic courses designed to engage and stimulate. Humanities academic courses foster flexibility, imagination, social sensitivity, language competence, critical thinking, analytical reasoning and the capacity to solve complex societal problems.

"I wanted to study abroad in South Africa because of its rich political history. As a Political Science major at home, I thought it would be very interesting to look at the development and after effects of Apartheid within South Africa. I found that my classes in the UCT Faculty of Humanities were especially conducive to studying this." Olivia Glick, Wesleyan University in Connecticut. SSA student in 2014.

Which academic courses can I register for?

Please consult the current list of courses and majors available from the Faculty of Humanities. Please note that some courses have specific entrance requirements.

“I chose UCT because, I knew that I desperately wanted to go to Africa and experience all of it while I could; travelling can be quite expensive during adult years. The Faculty of Humanities here was the most appealing faculty for me to choose because the subjects and majors practised in this faculty are most relevant to my major back at home which is Human Development and Family Studies.” Tynesha McCullers, University of North Carolina. SSA student in 2014.

Additional benefits

SSA students are offered a six-day orientation programme and have access throughout the semester(s) to an academic advisor and to staff of the University's International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) for advice and support. Various social events are planned for the SSA students for the duration of their stay at the University.

Applying for an SSA 

The Semester Study Abroad programme is coordinated through the University of Cape Town’s International Office. This office is the first point of contact for interested students. For detailed information on: study permits, international entry visas, specific admission requirements, please visit the IAPO website.

  • On your own initiative (as individuals).
  • Through a partner university programme between UCT and your home institution - check with your university’s International Office.
  • Through a centralised programme such as the Council for International Education Exchange (CIEE), International Studies Abroad (ISA), Connect-123, Arcadia or Institute for the International Education of Students (IES).
  • You should be aware that different fee structures and regulations may apply to these different categories of applicants. The same entrance requirements are applied to all applicants.
  • In order to have credit transferred to your home degree for work completed at UCT, you should obtain written permission to undertake the study abroad programme. Many universities require a pre-departure conference with an advisor. It is your responsibility to learn your own institution's requirements, and to adhere to them.

International Fees and Study Permits

For a comprehensive overview of the Semester Study Abroad programme at the University of Cape Town, including rules and application criteria, please visit the IAPO web pages.

International Academic Programme Office (IAPO) Contact

Tel: +27 21 650 2822 / 3740
Email: SSA Admissions & Enrolment Coordinator