cape town


In Cape Town, every day will be like a choose-your-own-adventure book: imagine breathtaking views from atop Table Mountain, hiking Lion's Head at sunset, visiting beaches-there's even a beach with penguins!-and more.

When you study with us in South Africa, you will register for three to five courses at South Africa's leading research university, the University of Cape Town (UCT), which is located in a pleasant suburban area five miles from the City Center. UCT is South Africa's oldest university and has undergone incredible change since its opening, particularly since the end of apartheid, working to make quality higher education available to students regardless of race. UCT is officially recognized for its strengths in African Studies, Biology, Botany, Business, Environmental Sciences, History, Mathematics, Engineering, Sociology, and Anthropology.

Service learning in and around Cape Town is a core component in our program as it helps you understand some of Cape Town's most pressing social issues, while contributing your skills toward a community-driven solution. Our service learning course options in Health Studies and Sociology include completing 60 hours of volunteer work and research while in Cape Town.

Students will have options for their community-based service work, either through IES Abroad courses or by volunteering with other local organizations. In addition, UCT students often join SHAWCO, the University's volunteer program. Through these opportunities, you will get a first-hand look at the city's social and economic issues affecting different groups in Cape Town.

Cape Town will be your classroom. In your free time, visit local gems like the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site) beautiful Camps Bay Beach, or climb the iconic Table Mountain and catch the cable car back down. We challenge you to take full advantage of South Africa’s beautiful climate and geography.

We take you on optional field trips to the Eastern Cape's beautiful Garden Route and to the Kruger National Park where you can enjoy game drives experienced game rangers. Hopefully your adventure will include seeing the “Big Five": the lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard and rhino. Other optional day trip excursions may include visiting the District 6 Museum and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for many years.

We want you to feel at home in South Africa, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From housing to cultural events, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible.

Quick Facts

  • Center: IES Abroad Cape Town
  • City: Cape Town
  • Country: South Africa
  • Program Credits: 15-19 per semester (3-5 courses)
  • Language of Instruction: English
  • Language Prerequisites: None

Program Dates

After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.

Fall 2018

  • July 8 - November 15

Upcoming Application Deadlines:

  • Spring 2019 - October 01, 2018
  • Fall 2019 - October 01, 2018


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible—which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. That is why we partnered with the University of Cape Town. You take 15–19 credit hours per semester as you enroll in University of Cape Town courses. You may also elect to take one of the IES Abroad courses. Create your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional program components:

  • IES Abroad Service Learning Course: Focused on South Africa, the service learning project includes community service (60 hours over the course of the semester) at a local organization (3 credits).
  • 3-5 Courses at the University of Cape Town: Enroll in a minimum of 15-19 IES Abroad credits at the University of Cape Town. We require that one of your courses be South Africa-focused. If you choose to take an IES Abroad course (3 credits), then you will take a minimum of 12 IES Abroad credits at UCT, in addition to the IES Abroad course. Students are encouraged to take mostly 2000-level or 3000-level courses, with a maximum of one 1000-level course.


After you are accepted, you will see a list of final course offerings in your MyIESabroad account.

Cultural Studies

  • CU 221 - Dialogues on Difference (Fall, Spring)


  • SL/EC/SO 335 - Polity, Community Development, Urban Life in South Africa (Fall, Spring)

Health Studies

  • SO/SL/HL 345 - Health and Community Development in South Africa (Fall, Spring)

Service Learning

  • SL/EC/SO 335 - Polity, Community Development, Urban Life in South Africa (Fall, Spring)
  • SO/SL/HL 345 - Health and Community Development in South Africa (Fall, Spring)


  • SL/EC/SO 335 - Polity, Community Development, Urban Life in South Africa (Fall, Spring)
  • SO/SL/HL 345 - Health and Community Development in South Africa (Fall, Spring)

Partner Institution(s) About the University of Cape Town

The oldest university in South Africa, the University of Cape Town is also South Africa’s leading research institution. International students make up about 20% of the total enrollment at the University. UCT is located four miles from the Cape Town City Center. Your commute time to campus is between 15-30 minutes, which is common for local students. Most courses at UCT are lecture-based, some with very large classes, and they usually meet between two and five days per week. Lectures are often accompanied by tutorials, which are much smaller and allow discussion of topics and concepts covered during the lecture. Past students have found these tutorials to be extremely useful. Choose from many courses in the following faculties at the University of Cape Town.

  • Commerce – Accounting, Business Law, Economics, Finance & Tax, Information Systems, Marketing, Mathematics, Statistics
  • Engineering & the Built Environment – Architecture, Civil Engineering, Chemical/Electrical/Mechanical Engineering
  • Humanities – Communication, Dance, Drama, English Literature and Language, Film & Media, Fine Art, Gender Studies, History, Languages and Literature, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Social Anthropology, Social Development, Social Work, Sociology
  • Natural Sciences – Archaeology, Astronomy, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental & Geographical Science, Geographical Sciences, Mathematics & Applied Materials, Molecular & Cellular Biology, Oceanography, Physics, Statistical Sciences

South Africa-focused courses are available in fields such as Cultural Studies, Dance, History, Language, Literature, Music, Photography, Political Science, Religion, and Sociology. You may not enroll in courses in the Health Sciences faculty.

Service Learning

Participating in a service learning experience in Cape Town is one of the best ways to gain a deeper understanding of the city's culture and society. Working alongside local people towards a common goal, you experience first-hand some of the social issues that affect Cape Town, while contributing your skills towards a community-driven solution. A service learning placement consists of time spent with a local organization, accompanied by a weekly academic, for-credit service learning seminar. Through the seminar, you have structure time for reflection, discussion, and research on the issues of your host community. Many of the community organization connections are created through relationships with the IES Abroad faculty. IES Abroad will assist your efforts by facilitating introductions to organizations and through the coordination of group transportation to the location (for IES Abroad class-based community-service). Each semester, our students work on a different project, depending on the needs of the community or organization where they are volunteering. You will visit the community at the beginning of the semester and return several times during the semester to work on projects that will contribute to the organization long after you return home. At the end of the semester, you are welcome to donate clothing, toiletries, and supplies left from your time in Cape Town to local organizations. Recent community engagement placements for IES Abroad students include:

  • Sisters4Sisters
  • The Sozo Foundation
  • Ikhamva Ubomi
  • Brooklyn Chest Hospital

You may also participate in UCT-organized service learning opportunities through an organization called SHAWCO (UCT Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation). Here you can volunteer your time to ongoing educational and healthcare service projects. These are non-credit bearing, so many IES Abroad students join SHAWCO as part of their student life experience in Cape Town.


Private Houses or Apartments - You may live with other IES Abroad students in a furnished house or apartment near the University of Cape Town. Furnished houses and apartments offer single and double rooms, a communal lounge, and a fully-equipped kitchen area. All houses and apartments are equipped with digital safes for storage of personal belongings. Internet access is available but not guaranteed.

Student Life


Orientation in Cape Town is spread over two weeks. It starts with an IES Abroad orientation (3 days) where you are introduced to the IES Abroad Cape Town staff, your fellow students, the city of Cape Town and its surrounding areas, in addition to the University of Cape Town campus. Orientation continues with a trip along the Garden Route, the south-eastern coast line of South Africa, where you explore cave systems, visit beautiful beaches, canoe, hike, and experience the breathtaking beauty of the South African landscape. During our orientation, you also enjoy a tour of downtown Cape Town and a local township. You will then attend the University of Cape Town’s orientation (5-6 days) that gives you details on academics, extracurricular activities, and volunteer opportunities. The International Academic Programs Office’s activities include a tour around the Cape Peninsula and the chance to participate in an African-style drumming event. Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 18 years of age
  • In good standing at your home school
  • 3.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale (GPAs under 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will require additional documents outlined in a section below)
  • Sophomore, Junior, or Senior standing when program begins. Applicants need to have at least three semesters of course work when they enroll at the UCT (first semester sophomores can apply). Some local university courses may not be available to students of Sophomore standing.

Passport & Visa Requirements

A passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the end date of the program, with at least two blank pages is required. A student visa is required to enter South Africa. Upon admission, you will receive more information about the application process and any related fees. The visa application process for non-U.S. citizens can be extremely lengthy, please contact us for more information.


Fall 2018

  • Tuition: $13,410
  • Housing: $3,795
  • Insurance: $395
  • Total: $17,600

Academic Year

  • Tuition: $24,125
  • Housing: $7,590
  • Insurance: $790
  • Total: $32,505

Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Program taught in:
  • English
IES Abroad

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
1 - 2 semesters
17,600 USD
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