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  • Locations: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Spring Semester
  • Budget Sheets: Current
  • This program is not currently accepting applications.Applications open on January 5th for Summer and Fall term programs, May 15th for Spring term programs, and November 1st for intersession, spring break and summer faculty-led programs.

UCape Town
About the Program:
As UM’s only semester-long study abroad program in Africa, UCape Town offers students a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in South African culture through integrating the university student experience with service learning and organized field trips throughout South Africa.

Surrounded by the sea, mountains and a bio-diverse natural environment, Cape Town is Africa's most popular tourist destination and home to the continent’s top ranked university. Through an academic partnership with IES Abroad, UM students will study at The University of Cape Town (UCT).


Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, applicants should be aware that changes to academic calendars may occur with little or no notice. Students are encouraged to either wait to book travel or book travel that allows for changes with no financial penalty. 
Applicants should also be aware that processing of visas may be impacted or halted by specific countries. Failure to secure the necessary visa may result in inability to participate in this program. 
Participants on this program may be required to self-quarantine prior to the start of their program for a specified period of time. Students are responsible for arranging (logistics and financial) their travel appropriately to ensure self-quarantine is completed prior to the start of the program.


An important component of the UCape Town program is service learning with organizations involved in community social change. A few examples of the many opportunities for service learning include: nature conservation, youth development, healthcare, women's issues, disability services and entrepreneurship.

Outside of the classroom, students can enjoy all that Cape Town has to offer. This vibrant city includes a picturesque natural landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point and as a hub for immigrants and expatriates, it’s also one of the most multicultural cities in the world.

*Program Dates: Late-January to Mid-June
*Dates are tentative and subject to change 

Academics UCape Town

UCape Town Mandatory 6-Credit Foundation Course:  
Participants are required to take the  6 UM-credit course (GEG 598) titled "'Emerging South Africa in the African Context" facilitated by UM professor Dr. Richard Grant. This course provides an introduction to South Africa and contextualizes South Africa within the African region.  The course integrates the classroom experience with service learning at a local community organization. This course provides the only common course that UM students will take at UCT so its major objective is also to build a UM student community experience and to provide a bridge between a UM experience and an individual student experience at UCT.

Course Learning Outcomes:

• Immersion in various South African contexts
• Understand the non-profit sector and community challenges
• Contextualize Cape Town as an urban laboratory for 21st century learning about African cities
• Direct engagement and participation in local community development (80 hours of community engagement) 
• Critical reflection on the South African transition

Please contact UM Professor Richard Grant for any further information about the "Emerging South Africa in the African Context" course.

Course Offerings at UCT:

In addition to the UM foundation course, students will choose undergraduate courses in the faculties of Commerce, Humanities and Science at the University of Cape Town. 
  • Study abroad students may not take courses in the department of Health Sciences OR Law. 
  • UCT course offerings are accessible in the faculty handbooks on the UCT Course Website.
    • First Year courses (1000 level): generally include three to four lectures per week and one tutorial
    • Second Year courses (2000 level): generally have three lectures and one tutorial per week.
    • Third Tear courses (3000 level): generally include three-to-five sessions of coursework per week and often include major-specific prerequisites
    • Language classes: may meet five times per week
    • Science courses: generally have three lectures per week plus one lab or practicum. Some science courses are not permitted for Study Abroad students to enroll in.

Credit Conversion
Your credits at UCT will be converted to UM credits as follows:

UCT NQF credits       UM credits
18 NQF credits =  3.5 UM credits
24 NQF credits =  4.75 UM credits
36 NQF credits =  7.25 UM credits
72 NQF credits =  14.5 UM credits
90 NQF credits =  18 UM credits

Your UCT course grades will be converted to UM grades using the scale below:
UCT Grade                                                UM Grade
75-100% First Class                                    = A
70-74% Second Class (Division One)            = B+
60-69% Second Class (Division Two)             = B
50-59%   Third Class                                   = C
0-49%   Fail                                                = F
DPR* or AB**                                              = F

*DPR: Duly Performed certificate refused i.e. Not permitted to write examination
**AB: Absent from examination

Students will be housed in neighborhoods surrounding the university. The student houses and apartments are furnished, have shared kitchens and bathrooms, and laundry on-site. The South African resident advisors provide support as well as cultural integration. Meals are not provided (no meal plans available) so students cook for themselves or eat in one of the city's affordable restaurants. Internet is often available in the student housing, however it is not guaranteed.


IES Abroad Partnership & Procedures:

As UM is partnering with IES Abroad, additional forms, applications and documents must be submitted according to strict deadlines. For example, regardless of age, all accepted students must submit a medical waiver with a parent or guardian's original signature as well as a medical report, completed by a physician.

Accepted students who are withdrawn due to non-compliance with a stated deadline will be billed for any non-refundable charges. Additionally, accepted students who withdraw after October 1st, for any reason, will be billed for the IES cancellation fee and any additional costs paid out on the students behalf.

All students participating in the UCape Town program must acquire a study permit (visa). Acquiring a study permit to South Africa can be a lengthy process. Applicants are required to travel to a South African embassy or consulate and interview for a study permit IN-PERSON. This is a non-negotiable policy established by the South African government. In addition to the South African embassy in Washington, D.C., South African consulates are located in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. These offices represent surrounding areas. To find the office that represents your state of residence, please visit the South African Consular Website. While appointments are not necessary for a visa interview, it is highly encouraged to contact your consulate beforehand. Students should not apply for a study permit until they have been both officially accepted in the UCape Town program and also officially accepted by the University of Cape Town.

When you apply for a South Africa study permit, you will need to provide a fairly large amount of personal documentation that includes, but is not limited to an application form, bank letter, medical record, notarized copy of your birth certificate, FBI background check, flight itinerary to South Africa, etc. Students MUST have all of these documents completed and on their person when they arrive for their interview. The complete list of Documents for your Study Permit Interview can also be found on the South African Consular website. Many of these documents take time to collect/prepare. Be sure to allot yourself enough time to prepare the necessary documentation. Additionally, students must also prepare and plan their travel to the South African embassy/consulate. Typically, the cost to obtain a study permit (visa) when factoring document preparation, processing fees, and travel costs, comes to approximately $400.00. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. (contact information can be found on the South African Consular website) for protocol related to your study permit application process. It would be prudent to anticipate a similar application process to that of U.S. citizens. Once you have interviewed for your visa, processing time takes typically takes up to 4 weeks. 

This program is not currently accepting applications.Applications open on January 5th for Summer and Fall term programs, May 15th for Spring term programs, and November 1st for intersession, spring break and summer faculty-led programs.