Study Abroad in Stellenbosch, South Africa

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Study Abroad in Stellenbosch: Courses

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Most courses meet for 45 contact hours and are recommended for 3 semester credits (shown in parentheses) although 4 and 2-credit courses are also available. All courses listed are taught in English. These courses are just a selection of those offered on the AIFS programs at the Stellenbosch University. Courses may change at the discretion of the university.

General Education Program Courses

These courses were designed by Stellenbosch University to give international students an introduction to, and understanding of, South Africa. Students may choose up to two General Education courses as well as the 9-credit Global Service Learning course and can also select courses from the Full Curriculum.

Afrikaans: Language and Culture 104/204 (3)  | Afrikaans for Beginners 

Basic Afrikaans for foreigners. Enables students to listen with growing comprehension to everyday social conversation, speak and develop vocabulary as well as read basic Afrikaans.

Art 106/206 (4)  | Photography: Short Course in Digital Photography and Picture Framing

Examines three photographic practices that are relevant to the Southern African context, namely social documentary, portraiture and fine art photography.

Education and Social Justice 214/314 (3)  | Equity, Leadership and Transformation in the Global Classroom

This interactive experiential learning module aims to develop leadership and thought skills on the importance and challenges of a social justice approach with a focus on equity, discrimination and transformation in the global classroom. We explore modern racism, privilege, discrimination, oppression and structural injustice. By using real-world case studies, from universities (with South African universities as foci) and civil society, we will uncover the layered challenges and opportunities faced by institutions still dealing with the vestiges of a colonial past whilst building on new models for inclusivity. 

Genetics: Sustainable Agriculture XXX (2) | Community Gardening for Improved Living

The Community Gardening project is an experiential learning programme presented in collaboration with The Ajubatus Foundation and is located at the Welgevallen Experimental Farm of Stellenbosch University. Four separate courses are to be presented per year to allow as many students as possible to enrol and be a part of this very hands-on project. Each course comprise of only one-hour long lecture and one-hour long practical session per week; for 10 weeks. At the end of the formal course, students are given the opportunity to accompany The Ajubatus Foundation and the course presenters to a location of interest where we will put into practice what had been studied by aiding a local community in starting their own sustainable agriculture project. Lectures covers a comprehensive introduction to Project Management (which includes Leadership, Time Management, and Communication skills) and Principles of Gardening and Sustainable Food Production. The academic and service components are complemented with field trips and sessions with various South African students to allow for deeper engagements with global issues as they present themselves in the South African context.

Global Health 214/314 (3) | Understanding HIV in South Africa: A Health and Social Justice Perspective 

This course develops the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes in students as future leaders and professionals to manage HIV prevention and care in the workplace, both locally and abroad.

History 114/214 (3)  | An Overview of South African History 

An overview of the first 500 years of South African history. This course will give international students a basic understanding of the formation of the country today known as South Africa. The historical investigation into the origins of the nation begins with the arrival of the Portuguese explorers in the 15th century and concludes with the birth of apartheid. 

Political Science/International Relations 312/412 (3)  | Gender and Identity in Africa

The dominant theme of the course will be women’s political progress and continued social hardships. Among the various topics to be discussed: identity politics, women’s collective mobilization in changing political landscapes, LGBTQ+ rights, politics of the womb, reproductive rights, sexuality and FGM.

Political Science/International Relations 322/422 (3)  | Transitional Justice in Africa

This course looks at the dilemmas facing societies emerging from war that choose to confront past human rights’ violations: who to prosecute, how to prosecute when the legal infrastructure has been destroyed and what are the risks of prosecution in an unstable society?

Sociology 311/411 (3)  | Politics and Cultural Change in Contemporary South Africa 

Topics include culture, ethnocentrism and relativism, conquest and migrant labor in South Africa, apartheid and Africans in the city and the cultural effects of urbanization on the African family.

Xhosa: Language and Culture 114/214 (3)  | Xhosa for Beginners 

A communicative approach develops the language skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, within a cultural context. Students learn the basics of the Xhosa language and culture (includes visits to various Xhosa communities, restaurants and church services).

Full Curriculum Program (Mainstream Classes)

Each semester a series of English elective courses are offered in Stellenbosch. These change every semester but below is a list of courses AIFS students have taken in the past. Information on the new courses for your semester can be obtained from the AIFS Resident Director.

Faculty of Agri-Sciences
Agriculture; Agronomy; Aquaculture; Biochemistry; Conservation Ecology; Epidemiology; Farming; Food Sciences and Policy; Geography and Environmental Studies; Plant Genetics; Soil Sciences; Viticulture and Wine Biotechnology

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Ancient Cultures; Art History; Drama; Ethnomusicology; Fine Arts; History; International Studies (Political Science); Languages (African languages, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Latin, Sign Language, Spanish); Literature; Music; Philosophy; Psychology; Sociology; Social Anthropology; Theatre Arts, Visual Studies

Faculty of Economic and Management Services
Business; Business Ethics; Computer Science; Economics; Entrepreneurship; Industrial Psychology; Information Systems; Logistics / Quantitative Management; Marketing; Mathematics; Operations Research; Project Management

Faculty of Science
Anatomy; Applied Mathematics; Biochemistry; Biodiversity and Ecology; Biology; Botany; Chemistry; Earth Sciences Genetics; Geology; Microbiology; Physics; Sport Science; Zoology

Faculty of Theology
Biblical Hebrew; Ecclesiology; Missiology; Old and New Testament; Practical Theology; Systematic Theology

Below is a selection of courses which have been taken by international students at Stellenbosch University. There are many more courses available and the AIFS Admissions Officer and AIFS Resident Director can advise you of your options related to your field of study or interest.

Biodiversity and Ecology 214/314 (4) (January to June only) | Principles of Ecology 

The basics of aquatic biology and population ecology are taught by integrating theory and practical fieldwork (lab).

Biology 144/244 (4) (July to November only) | Biodiversity and Ecology 

Classification of organisms. Diversity of microorganisms, plants and animals. Ecological principles and global changes. Prerequisites: cell biology and principles of chemistry.

Biometry 242/342 (2) (July to November only) | Applications in Biometry 

Includes treatment and experimental design; efficiency of estimation; analysis of variance; hypothesis tests for means and differences between means. Prerequisites: Introduction to Biometry. 

Conservation Ecology 212/312 (3) (January to June only) | Conserving Nature 

Covers the importance of biodiversity for the maintenance of ecosystems including co-evolution and the collapse of ecosystems and ecosystem services, water conservation, the medicinal value of biodiversity, conservation decision making, and the role of conservation in development and policy. 

Conservation Ecology 344/444 (4) (July to November only) | Conservation in Social-Ecological Systems

Subjects covered include the history of people and their relationships with their environments, the history and philosophy of conservation, environmental ethics, environmental problems fire ecology and management, ecotourism and recreation. Please note that due to timetabling, students selected for the global service learning course cannot take Conservation Ecology 344. 

Economics 114/214 or 144/244 (3) | Macro and Microeconomics 

Introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics and the role of government.

English 314/414 (2) (January to June only) | African-American Experiences 

This course examines African American experiences as portrayed in the fiction of four major writers in the African American canon: Gloria Naylor, Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin. Among the thematic concerns explored are questions of race, violence, family, trauma, healing, religion and sexuality. 

English 348/448 (2) (July to November only) | Exploring South Africanness in Recent Fiction 

This elective looks at three texts published in post-apartheid South Africa. Margaret Lenta writes: “South African debut novels which have appeared since 1999, although diverse in their nature, and often related to the ethnic or language group of their authors, demonstrate a general awareness of new freedoms and new developments in South African society, as well as registering disappointment with the new regime.” C.A. David’s’ debut novel will be used to explore some of these notions, while Achmat Dangor’s collection of short stories allows for an exploration of South Africanness that is largely informed by the various spaces that Dangor claims as “home”. 

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management 214/314 (4) (January to June only)  | Introduction to Entrepreneurship

Introduction to the world of entrepreneurship in South Africa; drivers of entrepreneurship; introduction to the identification of opportunities and development of ideas; the analysis of the entrepreneurial process; feasibility analysis; building a new venture team; assessing a new venture’s financial strength and viability; ethics and legal considerations; getting finance; the importance of intellectual property; the importance of growth; growth strategies; buying an existing business. 

Forest Science 212/312 (4) (January to June only)  | Natural Forest Ecosystems

The importance of natural forests and their functions, including products for livelihoods and industry and the management of woodlands and savannahs for sustainability; classification of forests based on structure and function; characterization of natural forests based on structure and 156 layering; species composition and diversity; succession concepts and theory; silvicultural systems and sustainable management of natural forests; the ecological and socio-economic sustainability methods of natural tropical forests, including criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management; certification and management of non-timber forest products. 

Geo-Environmental Science 124/224 (4) (January to June only) | Introduction to Human-Environmental Systems 

Nature of human geography; Demography of world population; Food resources; Urbanization: models of urban structure, functional areas in cities, cities in developing countries; Politicogeographical organization: nations and states in conflict, regions in the news; Environmental systems on a global scale: fluvial, arid, karst, coastal and glacial environments; Ecosystems and humans; Utilization of environmental resources: global occurrence, use and depletion of non-renewable energy, water and soil resources; Practical mapping and graphics. 

Geo-Environmental Studies 214/314 (4) (January to June only) | Geographical Information Systems

Introductory overview and comprehension of GIS in the context of geoinformation science, data models and map projections. 

History 214/314 (3) (January to June only) | Key Processes in the Making of Western History 

Topics include State formation, the renaissance and revolutions, origins, dynamics and impact of historical revolutions, wealth and poverty in Western history and perspectives on systems such as socialism, capitalism and communism.

History 318/418 (3) (January to June only) | Wars, Decolonization and Globalization 

Subjects discussed are international relations and cultural change, the social and cultural dimensions of WWI, the outbreak, course and aftermath of WWII, ecological problems in historical perspective, the Cold War, independence movements in Africa and India in a globalizing world. 

Old and New Testament 114/214 (4) (January to June only)  | Introduction to the Old and New Testament

An introductory and orientational module regarding the study of the Old and New Testaments. The module offers a broad overview of the art and technique of Bible interpretation, focusing on the text, context and reception of the Bible. The module includes the unique aspects of the interpretation of the Bible, as well as the historical and socio-cultural contexts of these books.

Old and New Testament 144/244(4) (July to November only)  | Narrative Literature in the Bible

Introductory and orientational module about the study of Biblical narratives in their respective socio-historical contexts. The nature of the narrative genre and ancient historiography will be studied together with the use of suitable methodologies. In the section on the Old Testament the focus is on the Deuteronomic history, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles. In the section on the New Testament the focus is on Acts (together with aspects of the Synoptic Gospels). 

Philosophy 244/344 (4) (July to November only)  | Subdisciplines in Philosophy

Systemic study of questions relating to specific philosophical disciplines, namely philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind and applied ethics. 

Political Science 114/214 (3) (January to June only) | Introduction to Political Science

The module is an introduction to the academic discipline of political science. It covers key concepts, theories, models and debates in the discipline. Following the conceptual and theoretical introduction it moves on to discuss the political development of, as well as politics in contemporary South Africa.

Political Science 144/244 (3) (July to November only) | International Relations and African Politics 

An overview of the most important actors, structures and processes in the global system. Students will be familiarized with some practical as well as theoretical challenges related to the study and analysis of International Relations (IR), with particular attention to the African context.

Psychology 114/214 (3) (January to June only)  | Psychology as a Science

This module is an introduction to psychology both as a science and a profession, with specific emphasis on psychological issues that are relevant in the South African context. Psychology is positioned at the convergence of a number of traditions of research and practice, including biological, philosophical and pragmatic traditions. This introductory module gives students a basis from which to approach further study of the discipline. 

Psychology 144/244 (3) (July to November only)  | Psychology in Context

In this module the basic principles in psychology are applied in order to understand the person in context, with particular reference to core social issues and challenges facing South African society.

Social Anthropology 252/352 (2) (July to November only)  | South African Anthropology 

An overview of ethnographical work in South Africa, with specific attention to the changing theoretical and contextual dimensions. 

Social Anthropology 324/424 (3) (January to June only)  | Culture, Power and Identity 

Nation-building and ethnicity. Assimilation, pluralism, multiculturalism in comparative perspective. Global inequalities and human rights. Difference and diversity in civil society. 

Sociology 212/312 (2) (January to June only)  | Poverty, Inequality and Development

Debates on the causes and meaning of poverty, inequality and development; critical thinking on underdevelopment and “sustainable development”; development initiatives in South Africa today. 

Sociology 222/322 (2) (January to June only) | Race

Sociological understandings of race. The contemporary significance of race in South Africa. Race and social identities. Race and inequalities. 

Socio-Informatics 114/214 (3) (January to June only) | The Knowledge Economy and Society

The emergence and nature of the knowledge economy and society. 

Soil Science 114/214 (4) (January to June only)  | Principles of Soil Science

An elementary overview on the origin and distribution of soils. Discussion of the most important physical, chemical and morphological characteristics of soil: soil water; soil organic matter; soil organisms; chemical and mineralogical characteristics of soil; soil ph.; classification and development of South African soils; land and soil suitability.

Transport and Logistics Systems 144/244 (3) (July to November only)  | Introduction to Transport and Logistics Systems 

Introduction to the unique purpose of the transport system; the components of the system; the economic significance of the transport system; the organization and regulation of transport; concepts of demand and supply; and transport from a management perspective. The scope of product supply chains; aspects of utility and value creation; aspects of materials management, including resource and inventory acquisition; aspects of production and operations management; aspects of physical distribution management; conforming to customer requirements with respect to product supply and delivery.

Global Service Program

Students interested in the Global Service Learning Program must indicate this with their application. Admission is by selection only. Please see the Academics Overview page for details on admission requirements for this program.

Global Service Learning Course (9)

Global Service Learning is an experiential learning program offered by the Global Engagement Centre of Stellenbosch University and presented in collaboration with a local primary school. It comprises 90 class hours and 45 hours of on-site community engagement. The program is situated at the intersection between international education, community engagement, and development education. Using a transdisciplinary 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.

This program challenges modernist, reductionist notions of development, investigating alternative possibilities in human-centered development, epistemic decolonization, social justice, deep ecology and aesthetic experience.

The aim of this transdisciplinary program is to expose students to a number of different concepts, academic fields and methodologies and based on their academic and practical experience students will be able to construct, articulate, and defend an intellectual stance on the role of educational systems in constructing shared global futures.

Download PDF with full program details on all AIFS South Africa programs!

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