Study in South Africa
South Africa is emerging as one of
the world's most exciting study destinations. This is
demonstrated in the rapidly increasing number of international
students. Because of international exchange rates, South Africa
offers real educational value for money.
South Africa's entire educational
system, from primary schools to tertiary institution, is in the
process of being redesigned for the post-apartheid future. The
result of this process will be a better, more efficient
educational infrastructure. South Africa is a nation at the
cutting edge of change. This is why it is one of the world's
most exciting places to be a student.
How to Apply for a South African
International students should
apply for a Study Permit at the South African High Commission,
Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission in their country of
If there is no South African
representative, prospective students must apply to the South
African High Commission, Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission
nearest to their home country. It is imperative that students
await the outcome of this application for a study permit in
their own country of residence or origin.
Study permits are issued for a
program of study at a specific institution. International
students should obtain a new permit only if they wish to change
Once you have confirmed your
acceptance of the formal offer from the university or technikon,
you can make your application for a study visa. You should
contact the South African Consulate for full details about
applying for a study permit.
Prospective international students
are advised to submit their study permit documentation as soon
as possible. It normally takes six to eight weeks for
applications to be processed. The institution (technikon or
university) in South Africa cannot register a student until a
valid study permit has been produced. Passports with the valid
study permit must be presented to the host institution during
In terms of the current
legislation and regulations, the minimum general admission
requirements for first degree studies at the 21 public South
African universities are a
senior certificate with a
matriculation endorsement issued by the South African
or a certificate of complete
or conditional exemption from the endorsement requirement
issued by the Matriculation Board on behalf of the South
African Universities Vice-Chancellors Association (SAUVCA).
The last comprehensive set of
regulations was published on November 27, 1997 but the
regulations were amended in 1998 and are likely to be amended
annually until such time as the transitional phase lapses.
Study Permits for more information.
The minimum entrance qualification
for a technikon course is a National Senior Certificate or
equivalent as approved by the Committee of Technikon
Principals. However, certain courses require additional
entrance qualifications or a specified minimum level of
achievement within the general entrance qualification.
Technikons are geared to respond to public demand for courses
that are needed and will devise short courses specifically to
meet such needs. Most technikons in South Africa offer degree
programs in various fields of study which have replaced many of
the previous Advance Diploma programs. The minimum study period
of the BTech is four years although in most cases there are exit
points at lower levels enabling students to enter a career at an
earlier stage of their study lives. Technikons should be
contacted to establish for which courses a National Certificate
(after one year) and a National Higher Certificate (after two
years) are offered as lower exit levels. The National diploma
(after three years) still remains a major exit point in the
technikon qualification hierarchy.
Foreign candidates who wish to
study at a South African university for first degree studies
have to qualify for either a certificate of complete exemption
or a certificate of conditional exemption to satisfy the minimum
general admission requirements of the 21 South African public
Evaluation of Foreign Qualifications brochure.
Acceptance of foreign
Until 3 September 1992 the
matriculation exemption regulations of the Joint Matriculation
Board (JMB) contained some guidelines on the acceptance of some
foreign school qualifications for admission to first degree
studies at universities in South Africa.
When the Matriculation Board of
the Committee of University Principals (CUP) accepted
responsibility for administering the matriculation endorsement
and exemption regulations on 4 September 1992, this list was
extended in the amended set of regulations that was published on
2 December 1994.
A comprehensive list of foreign
qualifications was again published in the latest set of
comprehensive matriculation endorsement and exemption
regulations in Government Gazette on 28 November 1997. This list
is to be supplemented shortly by means of a notice in the
Government Gazette and will continue to be supplemented on a
The Higher Education Act, Act 101
of 1997, promulgated in December 1997, repealed both the
Universities Act and the Technikons Act.
Section 74 of the Higher Education
Act, however, determines that those statutory functions
performed by the CUP, the Committee for Technikon Principals and
the Matriculation Board will be retained for a transitional
Towards the end of November 1997 a
booklet Foreign Qualifications and their Acceptance for
Bachelors Degree Studies at South African Universities was
distributed to all universities and a revised version with the
same name was circulated subsequently to universities under
cover of circular U2/98 of 22 January 1998.
The information presented in the
booklet was in tabular format and indicated amongst others the
acceptance of foreign qualifications for complete exemption,
foreign conditional and mature age conditional exemption or, in
some cases, the non-acceptance of certain foreign school leaving
qualifications at South African universities.
It should be noted, though, that
it was not possible to list all the possible qualifications and
combinations of foreign qualifications that could be presented
for university admission purposes, but the most general ones are
listed according to the country of origin.
For more information, please click
Students Returning to South