South Africa

Why study a Bachelor or Master in South Africa

Find all the study programs in South Africa

  • About
  • Study
  • Living
  • Universities
  • Student Visa
  • How to Apply
  • Scholarship

About South Africa

South Africa is a country located in the most southern part of Africa. It has several different ecosystems in the country, from beaches to Winelands to cliffs to forests and lagoons. The country truly has it all! This is why it’s a favourite among those who love wildlife and outdoor areas. 


Another fun fact about South Africa is that the first heart transplant took place there in the year 1967. The country has an excellent healthcare system and produces students from Medical schools of very high calibre. This makes it a great study destination if you’re interested in studying medicine. 


International students studying other subjects also head to South Africa because of the affordable costs of living, great environment and amazing schools. Read on to find out why international students decide to study in South Africa and which universities are the top ones there. 


South Africa has eleven official languages. These languages include English, Afrikaans (based on Dutch), Xhosa, Zulu, Setswana and Sesotho. However, when it comes to businesses and administrative processes, English is the language commonly used. 


The official currency in South Africa is the rand, which is subdivided into 100 cents. If you come to convert it, 1 South African rand is equivalent to 0.064 USD Dollars.  

Geographical information

Geographically, South Africa shares borders with Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho. It also borders the Atlantic Ocean on the West and the Indian Ocean to its East. 


When it comes to religion, Christianity is the religion practised the most, with 68 per cent of people following it.  A third of the people in South Africa are animists, which means they have a tribal belief system that is familiar to African peoples. 15 per cent of South Africans are atheists while 2 per cent are Muslims.


Political stance

When it comes to politics, South Africa is a parliamentary republic, which means that the President is head of both government and state. 


When it comes to Tourism, South Africa is high on the list when it comes to wildlife lovers. Kruger national park is renowned as one of the best reserves for game and one of the oldest in the country. If you love wildlife, you’ll definitely need to give it a visit if you want to study in South Africa. Another popular tourist destination is Cape Town, one of the most stunning cities in the world. It has amazing natural sights of both mountains and sea, and many cultural and touristic sites to visit and stare in awe at. 



South Africa also has unique foods that are true to its adventurous culture. Examples of South African foods that are famous are like Bobotie, which is minced meat seasoned with medium heat curry, turmeric, garlic, lemon zest, onions, herbs, salt and pepper. Some people also like to add raisins and then bake and top with an egg and milk mixture. Another famous food is Biltong and Droëwors which is made up of meat that is cured and then eaten as a snack.

Study in South Africa

Many students head to study in South Africa, because of the amazing nature or great educational systems in place. It’s also a very unique place to be. Read on to discover why you should study in South Africa and how much it costs students to do so. 

Why should you study in South Africa?

Here are some of the reasons why you should choose to study in South Africa:

  • It’s one of the most stunning countries in the world, home to some of the world’s best natural scenery. It has natural reserves and stunning mountains and waterfalls, and amazing beaches so you’ll always find something beautiful to look at if you need to recharge in nature. 
  • Education also is a great value for money in South Africa, with the government prioritising education and bringing it to a great educational level. Tuition fees are also relatively low, as are the costs of living in South Africa while studying. That means you get a great education at an even greater cost! 
  • It is a warm and welcoming place for international students to be. South African people love making friends, especially those who are different from them so you’ll always feel at home while studying there. They are open and friendly and if you ever get stuck about what to talk about, ask them about sport, which is one of their true passions! 

How much does it cost?

If you want to study in South Africa, you might be curious about how much it will cost you. For bachelor’s degrees, you can expect to pay around 7,000 dollars per study program. For master’s degrees, on the other hand, you’ll pay around 20,000 dollars per study program, in addition to a registration fee which is around 900 dollars. 

Living in South Africa

Costs of living in South Africa are relatively cheap when compared with other study destinations. Read on to learn how much student accommodation will cost you to study in South Africa, and how much you’ll pay for other costs of living during your study degree. 


International students typically have two choices for accommodation when they choose to study in South Africa:

  • University Accommodation: This type of housing consists of either single or double rooms that have shared bathrooms and kitchen areas with other students on the same floor. The costs for these housing types depend on the university, services offered along with the room and many other factors. In general, you can expect to pay from 200 to 400 dollars a month for accommodation. 
  • Private rentals: The second type of accommodation that international students decide to stay at is private rentals. There’s a wide range of prices for rentals, depending on the location of the apartment to the number of rooms to the services offered along with it. You can typically expect to pay a range of 350 to 800 dollars a month. You can also decide to share a bigger apartment with other students and split the costs between you, saving money. 

Other costs of living

When you study in South Africa, you’ll also need to factor in other living costs like around 120 dollars for utilities a month and 55 dollars for internet that is of a high speed and unlimited. Transportation will cost you around 45 dollars a month for a monthly transportation pass, though there are opportunities for student discounts. Groceries will cost you about 250 dollars a month. 

Universities in South Africa

When it comes to universities in South Africa, there are many top-ranked ones to choose from. There are also degree programs of many levels so you can be sure to find the right one for you. Read on to learn about the degrees available in South Africa and the top universities you should research and apply to if you want to study in South Africa. 


Degrees available

If you decide to study in South Africa, it will take you three years to graduate from a bachelor’s program, while it will take you up to two years to finish a master’s degree. PhD programs vary in length from 3 to 5 years, depending on the subject. In general, the academic year is made up of two semesters, the first one ranging from the beginning of February to the beginning of June, while the second one goes from the middle of July to the end of November.   


Top-ranked universities

If you want to study in South Africa, here are some of the top universities to look into: 

University of Cape Town 

Location: Cape Town 

Ranked number 1 among the top universities in South Africa, the Univerisity of Cape Town is the oldest university in the country, founded in 1829 with the name the South African College. It also played a major role against apartheid, with one of the most varied student communities in South Africa. The best subjects offered at the University are development studies, sports-related subjects and geography.  

The University of the Witwatersrand 

Location: Johannesburg 

The University of the Witwatersrand, known as Wits University or Wits for short, is located in Johannesburg, with several campuses. The best subjects to study there are paleo sciences, with some of the biggest collections of fossils in the world there. It also ranks highly in the areas of mining and mining engineering. 

The University of Pretoria

Location: Pretoria

The University of Pretoria is one of the biggest and oldest South African universities, founded in the year 1908. The university has over 2,000-degree programs in many subjects. These degrees are taught in the languages of both Afrikaans and English at seven campuses across South Africa. The university also runs the Pretoria Academic Hospital.

Stellenbosch University

Location: Stellenbosch 

Stellenbosch University ranks at number four among the top universities in South Africa. It was founded in the year 1918, but had roots as far back as 1864. The university currently has more than 29,000 students, spread out among five world-class campuses. 

Examples of other universities

Other great South African universities to look into if you want to study in the country are the University of Johannesburg, the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Rhodes University. These are additional top-notch world-class universities that have great degree programs in many subject areas. 

Student Visa - South Africa

When it comes to visas to study in South Africa, all foreigners must apply for a student visa. Read on to learn more about the requirements for the application procedure so that the process is easy for you. 


Requirements to apply for the study visa to study in South Africa are the following documents:

  • Letter of acceptance from a South African university, signed by the principal or registrar. This should also confirm the duration of your course. 
  • Completed visa application form 
  • Valid passport, with two empty pages ready to be filled 
  • Proof that you have paid for the student visa application
  • Two passport sized photos 
  • Proof that you are able to sustain yourself financially, during the course of your studies of about 300 dollars a month. You’ll also need to prove you have enough to cover your return ticket back home
  • Proof of health insurance and a letter confirming that you will renew it annually 
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate (if applicable)
  • Medical reports from within the past six months, proving you are of good health 
  • Proof of accommodation in South Africa 
  • Police clearance certificate for any country you’ve lived in for more than a year, since you were 18 years old 
  • Birth certificates of childer (if applicable)
  • Marriage certificate (if applicable) 

How to apply - South Africa

When it comes to applying to South African universities, the process is very straightforward. You’ll simply pick a program and university and apply through the official university websites. You can also find any relevant information there, including requirements and exactly how to apply. Read on to learn about the general entry requirements for universities if you want to study in South Africa. 

General Entry Requirements

The most common documents that international students will need to submit when applying to universities in South Africa are the following:

  • Filled out application form 
  • Proof of application fee payment
  • High school diploma and transcript 
  • Bachelor’s diploma and transcript (if applying for a Master’s or PhD degree)
  • Passport-sized photos 
  • Copy of valid passport or another form of accepted ID 
  • Motivation letter, stating why you want to join the study program
  • Proof of English language proficiency, in the form of scores for one of the following tests: TOEFL iBT, IELTS Academic or PTE Academic. 


It’s worth noting that there may be extra requirements when it comes to your degree program or university so please check the website of your university for more details on the documents you need to submit. You should also translate all your documents to English and have them notarized if the documents aren’t issued in the English language. You will hand in both the translations and the original documents together. 

Application deadlines

Application deadlines also vary based on university and sometimes based on degree or subject studied. However, here are the most common deadlines for universities in South Africa: 

  • End of September: For many universities such as the University of Johannesburg, North West University and the University of the Western Cape. 
  • End of July: For many universities like the University of Cape Town, University of Pretoria and University of Witwatersrand.

Scholarship in South Africa

There are many scholarships offered to international students who want to study in South Africa. These might be government scholarships or grants offered by private institutes or by the universities themselves. 


Here are some of the best scholarships to look into if you are applying to study in South Africa:

  • Interdisciplinary Bilateral Master Scholarships 
  • The Swedish Institute Study Scholarships 
  • Australia Awards Scholarships
  • The OPEC Fund for International Development
  • Aga Khan Scholarship for Developing Countries