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International applicants

Overview | Instructions | Dates/deadlines | Academic advice | Study permits

Semester Study Abroad

Applications and requirements: Overview

Firstly, establish whether you intend to come to UCT as a semester study abroad student, an international affiliate or a full degree student.

These application instructions apply to semester study abroad students only.


  1. Transcripts: An original or a certified copy of a transcript of your most recent academic results. We cannot process your application on the strength of faxed copies, so please send an original transcript with your application. If the transcript is not in English, a certified translation should be provided.
  2. GPA: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Some home institutions may have a higher GPA requirement, or prerequisite programme courses which must be passed prior to coming to UCT - check with your International Office. Students from countries other than the USA will be assessed on the basis of their transcripts and need not provide a GPA.
  3. English proficiency tests: Students whose first language is not English, and/or who have studied in a language other than English, must present a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or Advanced Placement of English as International Language (APIEL), or IELTS score. Click here for further information.
  4. Matriculation Exemption requirement: All students registering at UCT must qualify for matriculation exemption. This is a national statutory requirement. Our office will handle the costs and administration involved in making such applications to the Matric Board on behalf of our SSA / Exchange students.
  5. Study Permit: All students planning on studying in South Africa for a semester or year are required to obtain a study permit before leaving their country. This permit is issued by the South African consulate. To apply for a study permit, you will need a valid passport (which should be valid for a period exceeding the length of your proposed study abroad), a letter of acceptance from UCT to the issuing authorities, proof of medical coverage (a letter from your insurance company), a deposit for repatriation, a return plane ticket and money for the cost of a study permit.

We recommend that you contact the consulate before sending in your application materials to verify the cost of the permit and exactly what materials are needed, as requirements may vary from one consulate to another or change altogether. We also suggest that you send these materials by express mail (e.g. Federal Express or Postal Service express mail) and provide the consulate with a pre-paid mailer for them to be returned in a similar fashion; this will speed up the process of getting your passport back and, if for some reason it should be lost, allows the mailing to be traced.

Medical matters

You should obtain medical insurance in your home country before departure. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate and is therefore not susceptible to tropical diseases. However, students planning to explore more widely throughout Africa and the sub-continent should seek advice from their medical practitioners before leaving home.

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