Study Abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa

Study Abroad in Stellenbosch: Academics

Academic Programs

AIFS students are able to choose from most of the mainstream curriculum at Stellenbosch University. All courses will be offered in English. Most courses meet for 45 contact hours and are recommended for 3 credits. No AIFS participant is permitted to take a course without receiving a letter grade. Pass/fail options are not available.

Program Options

Full Curriculum means that AIFS students can choose any course offered by Stellenbosch University if prerequisites are met. Stellenbosch University has also designed courses with a focus on South African history and culture to give international students a grounding in and introduction to this fascinating country. Subject areas include Agriscience, Art, Biodiversity, Conservation Ecology, English Literature, Global Health, History, International Relations, Languages, Political Science, Science, Sociology and Theology. You will experience South Africa’s educational system first-hand, studying alongside South African and other international students. Choose up to 5 courses for a total of 15 credits.

Session/Term Credits Requirements
July to November or
January to June semester
Up to 15 2.5 GPA; completion of first year

General Education Program (formerly IPSU)

AIFS students may also choose up to 2 courses from the General Education Program of courses at Stellenbosch University (formerly the International Programs at Stellenbosch University), specially designed for study abroad students. In addition to the regular GEP courses available each semester, a series of 2-credit English Electives are available as well.

These courses were designed by Stellenbosch University to give international students an introduction to, and understanding of, South African history, politics and culture and the continent beyond. Students may choose up to two General Education courses as well as the 9-credit Learning for Sustainable Community Engagement course and can also select courses from the Full Curriculum. Choose from courses including ‘An Overview of South African History’, ‘Politics and Cultural Change in Contemporary South Africa’, ‘Gender and Identity in Africa’, ‘Understanding HIV in South Africa’ and ‘Afrikaans for Beginners.’

Choose up to 5 courses for a total of 15 credits.

Session/Term Credits Requirements
July to November or
January to June semester
Up to 15 2.5 GPA; completion of first year

Global Service Learning (GSL) is an experiential learning program offered by the Global Engagement Centre of Stellenbosch University and presented in collaboration with Ikaya Primary  School.

It is comprised of 90 in-class hours (on Mondays) and 45 hours of on-site community engagement (on Fridays). This is a reading and writing intensive program that will require many hours of self-study and group work to enable successful completion outside of "formal" program hours. In addition, students are highly encouraged to make use of the Program Coordinator's office hours for individual discussion and reflection time.

The program is situated at the intersection between (international) education, community engagement, and sustainable development. Using a trans-disciplinary approach grounded in complexity theory, it primarily aims to a) harness students' critical self-reflective capacity to engage with contemporary global issues in a local context, and b) use the community engagement vehicle critically as a tool for social impact. 

We will challenge modernist, reductionist notions of development, investigating alternative possibilities in human-centred development, epistemic decolonisation, social justice, deep ecology, and aesthetic experience.

Students interested in the Global Service Learning program must indicate this with their application. Admission is by selection only. Global Service Learning students may choose up to 2 additional GEP courses to fulfil their course requirements, or courses from the mainstream course catalogue, as their timetable permits.

Please note that the Global Service Learning program has an earlier deadline than the traditional Stellenbosch program for the Fall semester; in order to be considered, your complete application must be received no later than:

  • Fall Semester: May 1
  • Spring Semester: October 1
Session/Term Credits Requirements
July to November or
January to June semester
Up to 15 (9 credits for the Global Service Learning course plus 1 or 2 other courses) 3.2 GPA; completion of junior or senior year; aged 20 or above

Stellenbosch University

Since its founding in 1918 Stellenbosch University (SU) has evolved from a traditional white Afrikaans university to a multilingual melting-pot of cultures. Today, close to 28,000 students representing more than 110 nationalities attend the University. In 2018 SU celebrated its centenary anniversary: 25 years of international engagement and 20 years since the AIFS program in Stellenbosch began. The University is among South Africa’s leading institutions based on research output, student success and rated scientists, and is recognized internationally as an academic institution of excellence. This, together with the scenic beauty of the area, state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly facilities and technology, as well as visionary thinking about the creation of a sustainable 21st century institution, makes for the unique character of Stellenbosch University.