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Study in Stellenbosch

International Students Stellenbosch University

With roots going back to 1866, Stellenbosch University is one of the oldest universities in South Africa. A century-long tradition of quality teaching and research has ensured Stellenbosch University's place among the finest academic institutions in Africa.
Stellenbosch University has four campuses (Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, Bellville Park and Saldanha) and a resident student population of more than 18 000. Postgraduate students make up more than one third of the University student population. The University's 150 academic departments are housed in 10 faculties. These are:

  • Arts (Humanities and Social Sciences)
  • Economic and Management Sciences
  • Education
  • Science
  • Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
  • Health Sciences
  • Military Science
  • Law
  • Theology
  • Engineering

Academic year:

The academic year runs from early February to mid-December. First semester: February - June; Second Semester: mid-July - November.


Application Deadlines:

First Semester: 30 September

Second Semester: 30 April

The International Office

The International Office provides full support to international students, assisting you with:

  • Initial Enquiries
  • Application and Admission
  • Airport transfer
  • Orientation and Welcoming programme
  • Registration
  • Housing
  • Continuous support during your stay
  • Transcripts

Degree programmes: Undergraduate and Postgraduate (Honours or Masters Programmes)

The medium of tuition for undergraduate and honours courses at Stellenbosch University is Afrikaans. Students from foreign countries who do not have a good working knowledge of Afrikaans may find it difficult to follow lectures. However, students are at liberty to write their assignments, tests and examinations in English.

At the postgraduate level a wide variety of programmes are taught in English.
Semester in Stellenbosch: Undergraduate or Postgraduate

A semester in Stellenbosch is your gateway to:
  • understanding South African society and how we interact with the world through selected undergraduate and graduate courses taught in English:

o Literature, Culture and Arts

o Politics, History and Economics

o Law and Sociology

o Biology, Conservation Ecology

o Introduction to Afrikaans Xhosa, South African Culture and SA Wine

  • Engaging in a society in transition through your involvement in community projects in Kayamandi:

o Recreational Activities with school children

o Tutoring: Enlgish, Mathematics, Computer Skills

  • Celebrating different cultures on campus

o International Food Evening


o National Day Celebrations

  • Participating in exciting outdoor activities and enriching excursions offered by the International Student Organisation Stellebosch (ISOS)

o Visit to Robben Island Prison Museum (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years) and Houses of Parliament

o Scuba diving, hiking trails, golf, skydiving

The Kayamandi project was started about 4 years ago by the international students of the University of Stellenbosch under the supervision of the International Office. Kayamandi (A Xhosa name: Khaya = house; Mandi = nice) is a predominantly black township - a so-called "informal settlement" and a sad reality of South Africa's apartheid era. The population is estimated at about 20,000 people. This project is close to our hearts and has not only enriched the lives of the people of the township but also the students involved.

IPSU Language and Culture

International Programmes Stellenbosch University was created to provide courses for international students to introduce them to the South African culture. Courses include:

  • Xhosa: Language & Culture  

  • Afrikaans for Beginners I & II 

  • Afrikaans for Dutch and Flemish speaking students  

  • Intensive Afrikaans Course for Beginners: Pretproe (January) and Kaggelklets (June/July)

  • English as a Foreign Language (6-week intensive programmes throughout the year)

  • English for Academic purposes


 o  Introduction to the South African Wine Industry 

  • Southern African Music  

  • Studies and issues in African and South-African Art 

  • Politics and Cultural Change in Contemporary South Africa


 o Overview of South African History

  • Economic and Development problems in South Africa and Africa 

  • Public Theology in post apartheid South Africa 

  • Human Resource Management

 IPSU Summer and Winter School Programmes 
Since 2001 the International Office offers a three-week winter school programme (June/July). From 2005 this programme will also be offered in our summer time: January. The programme with the theme: Understanding South Africa: Landscapes of a Young Democracy, gives students a snapshot of South African Society as it is evident in the Western Cape and looks at and discusses the challenges faced on the road to reconciliation.


I will be walking away from this experience a changed and transformed individual - to this I thank you. Everyone should be exposed to such and experience.

(2003 Participant, Fordham University, USA)

Campus life

University life is interwoven with the atmosphere of the town, and the people of Stellenbosch show a friendly regard for students. In addition, there is a busy and active campus life, including activities organised by more than 40 cultural, sporting, religious and political clubs and societies. Students edit and publish their own newspapers and magazines and also run the university radio station (MatieFM).

The student centre, affectionately known as the Neelsie
, forms the physical hub of on-campus student life. Facilities include a food court, a sit-down restaurant, coffee shops, a pub, two cinemas, a dance area, post office, banks, fax and photocopy centre and a bookshop.

Facilities and services
The University houses a modern, extensive library collection catalogued on a computerised database. The library forms part of a network of five mutually supportive academic libraries in the Western Cape Province. The network is linked electronically to major library databases worldwide.
The computer system on campus is well equipped with up-to-date technology, and access to the network is possible from a number of 24-hour computer centers, as well as from terminals located in students' rooms in the university residences.
Two sports stadiums, two large swimming pools, acres of playing fields and a high-tech gymnasium encourage more than 30 competitive and recreational sports.
About the town

Stellenbosch is a university town with a population of about 117 000, excluding students. Founded in 1679 by Simon van der Stel, a Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, the town is set on the banks of a river in the wine-growing region and is encircled by majestic mountains. The town is located 50 km from Cape Town - for swimming, surfing and other watersports, superb beaches can be reached in half an hour's travel.  


Music, theatre and the arts thrive in Stellenbosch, a very active cultural centre. Small, interesting art galleries are dotted all over town. During the summer, concertgoers picnic in the gardens surrounding the local amphitheatre while listening to a variety of musical performances. A conference centre and hotel, with facilities for music, theatre and dance, as well as different kinds of dining, have been established on a nearby wine estate.

International students or researchers who wish to pursue studies at the University of Stellenbosch will find the necessary information here. For information on the University, see the section "Our University" at the University homepage. Click on Academic Courses to visit the online Postgraduate Prospectus or to link to all the faculties and departments of the University. We also facilitate English and Afrikaans language courses.
For information on entry requirements, housing and costs see the Guidelines for prospective international students and researchers. Information about housing and accommodation may be found here. Further information regarding student life in Stellenbosch (the town, student services, transport, accommodation, entertainment, etc.) is available in the booklet Living in Stellenbosch. Students are adivsed to read the Pre-arrival instructions before they leave their home countries for Stellenbosch. The University also has a very active International Students Organisation (ISOS).
Information for undergraduate students who want to study at a South African university or technikon can be obtained from the Matriculation Board and the website of IEASA's Study Abroad in South Africa.
For information on 
Application for registration as a (visiting) Medical/Dental student or 
Guidelines for prospective foreign students for undergraduate medical electives (clinical practical or research)

please click here.

International Office

Stellenbosch University Private Bag X1
7602 Matieland
South Africa


+27-(0)21-808 4628


+27-(0)21-808 3799


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International Office

Stellenbosch University Private Bag X1
7602 Matieland
South Africa

Tel: +27-(0)21-808 4628
Fax: +27-(0)21-808 3799



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