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Study in South Africa

Graduate programs in South Africa

The Republic of South Africa is a multiethnic society that takes in many different cultures, religion and languages. This is a diverse country which can feel completely different from one city to another – but what all its cities have is exuberance and will to grow.

As it continues to build a new future away from its hurtful apartheid past, South Africa is investing in education and is emerging as an exciting destination for postgraduate study. So, if you’re up for adventure and want to study in a developing country, why not try a graduate program in South Africa.

Population: 53,000,000

Education overview

South Africa is home to 23 different public universities where you can study a graduate program. The country has a vibrant university sector, with more than one million students enrolled in its system. Universities in South Africa are autonomous, reporting to their own bodies rather than the government.

There are three types of institution where you can study a graduate program in South Africa:

  • Traditional universities – these offer theoretical degrees
  • Universities of technology – vocational diplomas and degrees
  • Comprehensive universities – offer a mixture of both types of qualification

There are currently 11 traditional universities, six universities of technology and six comprehensive universities in South Africa.

Immigration and visas in South Africa

Visa entry requirements for South Africa vary from country to country, with most countries requiring you to get a study permit if your course lasts longer than three month. You will not be able to register with a South African university without a study permit.

In order to apply for a study permit, you will need:

  • Confirmed letter from an approved university
  • Details of a person who will act as your guardian
  • Proof of finances to cover the duration of your studies
  • Health insurance

Life in South Africa

Life in South Africa can be bewildering, but this is a growing country with a strong identity and plenty going for it. The 2010 World Cup gave the country an opportunity to showcase how it’s grown, but it is South Africa’s diversity that makes it such an interesting place to study a graduate program.

Whatever and wherever you choose to study in South Africa, you won’t be lost for things to do. From safaris and big game hunting to surfing and wine tours, South Africa is a tourist heaven.

Working in South Africa

South Africa has a developing economy, which is still struggling to get to the levels in wants. South Africa has high unemployment and a high rate of poverty, but it is improving. Agriculture forms a large part of the country’s employment and exports, particularly with other African countries and partners such as the US, China, Japan and the United Kingdom.

However, for students on a graduate program in South Africa, it is the tourism industry that is most likely to attract and provide employment. Tourism accounts for a substantial amount of revenue into South Africa’s economy, from the beaches of Cape Town to the safaris of the north.


Most international students coming to study a graduate program in South Africa will live in accommodation provided by the university, as finding private accommodation from outside of South Africa is difficult.

Most universities will group international students together, so you will probably find yourself living in an apartment block with several other students. This is a great way to get to know other students and make some friends – you’ll also normally be situated near the university.

Climate in South Africa

South Africa has a temperate climate and is cooled around the coast with the Atlantic and Indian Oceans on three sides. In general, South Africa has wet winters and hot, dry summers. However, the diversity of its landscape means the weather in South Africa will be quite different depending on where you choose to study.


The easiest and most popular way to travel around South Africa and its different cities is by car, although South Africa has a reputation for erratic driving. Most cities do not have an integrated public transport system, so you may find yourself wanting to either buy your own car or get a driver to help you travel around.


The currency of South Africa is the rand.

What to do next

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