What you ought to know before you study in an South African Institution- the cheat sheet

Anne Chisa

27 February 2020

What you ought to know before you study in an SA Institution- the cheat sheet

I must admit that studying in a different country comes with a lot of administrative work before you can even get into a classroom or a lab. As a matter fact, if not planned well in advance the process can be a major source of anxiety!

In this blog, I will breakdown the most important requirements so that for the most part, you will be prepared if you intend to apply to a South African institution.

Application process

Now, depending on the programme (undergraduate or postgraduate level) that you wish you study, there are slightly different application processes.

Undergraduate applications:

If you wish to pursue an undergraduate degree you are required to apply with a copy of your school qualifications.  To determine if you qualify for admission to degree studies in South Africa, applicants with non-South African school leaving certificates are required the contact the South African Matriculation Board (https://mb.usaf.ac.za/) directly.

In some institutions as an international applicant you may qualify for exemption through Associated Exam Board (AEB) or Cambridge examinations if you have two Advanced-levels (‘A’ – ‘E’) and three Ordinary-level passes (‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’) or equivalent. Bear in mind, certain subject groupings are also required for specific programs. It is not sufficient to pass in O-levels only. Equally important to note is that institution faculties may have subject, level and minimum performance (in O and A levels) requirements for admission to their programmes. It is advisable to ensure that you have your original documents available at registration and arrange for official translations if the documents are not in English.

* Please note that some institutions may require additional documents.  Please visit the links provided  of the  selected  institutions to verify the correct documents are submitted.

Postgraduate applications:

To apply for postgraduate studies candidates should have completed a four year Bachelor's degree or a three year degree plus a one year full time Honours degree in the relevant field to enrol for a Master’s degree.

a) Coursework programmes

The first semester in all South African institutions commence in January or February and that is when most Honours and Master's coursework programmes begin. It is advisable that Honours and coursework Master's applicants submit their applications by 30 September of the year preceding the intended year of registration being that selection for most Honours and Master's courses by coursework takes place in November and early December.

b) Courses by research

On the other hand, applications for master's and PhD courses by research may be submitted and commenced at any time of the year in agreement with a supervisor. However, certain individual programmes do have deadlines. If in any doubt regarding course commencement and application closing dates, please contact the relevant institutions directly.

*Please note:  All applicants should apply to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to obtain a certificate of evaluation of qualifications prior to submitting an application to the University.

Visit the SAQA website at http://www.saqa.org.za  or contact them on +27(0) 12 4315172.

Registration requirements

You have applied for your programme and you have received the long awaited acceptance letter. What is the next step to get you registered in your university of choice?

1.  Study visa: In order to be cleared for registration all non- South African students are required to be holders of a study visa endorsed to study at the particular institution. Alternatively, asylum Seekers and Refugee permits are also accepted. The applicant will need a letter from the institution in order to apply for a study visa at the SA High Commission or Embassy in their country of origin.

2.  Medical cover- proof of a South African medical insurance for the academic year is required. (You might have an international cover so you have to check with the international office at the institution if they accept other medical cover)

3.  A certified copy of valid passport.

4.  Proof of payment of fees - For undergraduate courses there is a requirement that 100% of the international term fees, plus course-based fees are to be paid prior to registration. In addition, the minimum initial residence payment is required before registration. Post graduate courses do offer fee remission for masters and PhD students however payment of international levy is required.

*For an accurate breakdown I highly recommend to please refer to the Student Fees Booklet for information on Tuition and Residence fees as they differ.

I do hope that this information is useful if you wish to pursue your studies at a South African University. I recommend that you start the process early and be prepared to patient with the administrative side. Usually, the International Students Office (ISO) at the various universities do try their best to make this process as easy as possible. I know first-hand because I usually assist at my University’s ISO during the first semester registration time. I have seen how people can be so overwhelmed by the entire process and that is why I was very eager to do this section of this blog series.  

Till Next time!

Anne (with an E)

Important links

University of Cape Town: http://www.iapo.uct.ac.za/iapo/app

University of Johannesburg: https://www.uj.ac.za/internationalstudents.

University of Stellenbosch: http://www.sun.ac.za/english/maties/admissions/international-students.

University of KwaZulu-Natal: http://applications.ukzn.ac.za/Entrance-Requirements/International-Students-Entrance-Requirements.aspx.

University of Pretoria: https://www.up.ac.za/international-cooperation-division/article/2604084/-indicator-ss2-removal.

University of South Africa: https://www.unisa.ac.za/sites/corporate/default/Apply-for-admission/International-students.

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