What is Student Exchange?

Are you interested in studying abroad as part of your degree? The Student Exchange Programme sends UCT students to study at one of our international partner universities for a winter or summer term, a semester, or a year. In an exchange you will swap places with a student at the partner university, transferring credits for courses you complete at the partner university to your UCT programme at the end of the exchange period. In return, a student from the partner university will attend UCT through the Semester Study Abroad programme.

UCT students in an exchange remain registered at UCT and pay their full tuition fee by enrolling in an exchange course. At the partner university, you register for non-degree purposes and are exempted from paying the partner’s tuition fees.

While you will not have to pay additional tuition fees at the partner university, the cost of travelling to another city can be an added expense. Students going on exchange can apply to the International Office for a 50% reimbursement of their flight costs.  Several exchange placements also provide stipends to fund the difference between the costs of living in Cape Town and living in another city.

Where can I find out more?

Opportunities to study abroad are highly sought-after and the selection process is competitive. To go on exchange, you will need to apply for a place and meet the eligibility criteria.

We will be holding information sessions during the 2nd semester. Join us to find out what exchange is, which of our international partners offer exchange opportunities, and what you need to do to apply and then prepare for study abroad.

You can also join our International Exchanges Vula group to become part of a wider community of exchange students and learn more in scheduled question and answer sessions. Look out for announcements on the IAPO home page and sign up using the contact form to find out more.

How do I apply to go on exchange?

If you are interested in studying abroad on exchange, you will need to

  • Be registered at UCT for a full degree programme at the time of application
  • Attend an information session to find out more about exchange opportunities
  • Research our partner universities to find out which offers courses matching your programme requirements and what costs are involved
  • Speak to an academic advisor about your plans and how to go about selecting courses

To be eligible for exchange, you must have completed your first year of study, have a grade point average (GPA) of 65% or above for students who are catergorised as redress, and a GPA of 70% or above for students who are in the non -redress (open) category, and have the support of your faculty or academic department.

Undergraduate students can only go on exchange in the second semester of the second year of study as all exit level courses must be completed at UCT.

Postgraduate students can go on exchange at any time during their studies.

Successful applicants will be invited to interview with the selection committee which considers your suitability for exchange and decides on placement at our international partner universities.

Apply for an exchange

Selection for exchange opportunities

A selection committee meets during the 2nd semester to consider applications and interview students for exchange opportunities. To be considered, you will need to demonstrate commitment to your studies, outline how study abroad will benefit you personally and academically, and explain how you would act as an ambassador for UCT. The committee will also consider your academic performance and progress, and any endorsement or support for your exchange from your faculty or academic department.

The committee will consider your whole application as well as the available exchange opportunities in reaching a decision.

While you will have an opportunity to select the university you would like to attend, the committee may place you at another partner. The committee decides on placements based on the suitability of the partner’s courses for your programme of study, the number and location of available placements, and the number of applicants.

Partner Universities are categorised into 3 main regions. It is compulsroy for students to select 1 university per region to encourage students to select universities based on what their course offerings are and not according to location only.