- 18 years of age or above
- Good academic and disciplinary standing at Penn State
- 3.0 cumulative GPA or better at the time of application
- Junior standing or above at the start of the program
Near the southern-most tip of Africa, Cape Town is all about the wonders of nature – and the fallout of a complicated history that make this a society in transition. Experience it all, with strong academics, links to Cape Town peers and communities, historical site visits, and time to explore on your own. It is an experience that is sure to stick with you for life. University of Cape Town (UCT). Established as South African College in 1829, UCT is internationally recognized as Africa’s leading research university, with beautiful grounds and attractive buildings. The UCT campus includes a range of commercial, medical, recreational, and sporting facilities. UCT courses are taught by faculty from the University of Cape Town, and CIEE courses are taught by CIEE staff or local faculty.
Please note U.S. citizens who study in South Africa will be required to travel to the South African Consulate General in New York City to apply for a visa in-person prior to the start of the program and should budget for travel costs and plan accordingly.
Academic Year: mid July - early June
Fall: mid July - mid November
Spring: late January - early June
Refer to the program website for the specific dates, if available.
Near the southern-most tip of Africa, Cape Town is all about the wonders of nature – and the fallout of a complicated history that make this a society in transition. Experience it all, with strong academics, links to Cape Town peers and communities, historical site visits, and time to explore on your own. It is an experience that is sure to stick with you for life.
With a glorious climate and natural icons like Table Mountain and stunning beaches, it is no wonder that Cape Town is Africa’s number-one tourist destination. Day and night, this multicultural city offers much to do: water sports, mountaineering, nightclubs, and restaurants. As a microcosm of many African countries in transition, Cape Town also illuminates the issues of joining the global economy while grappling with vast socioeconomic inequalities born from its colonial and apartheid past.
Education Abroad in Countries with a Penn State Restricted Travel Designation
In order to comply with Penn State’s International Travel Policy, students interested in studying abroad in countries that Penn State has designated as “restricted” for travel, a petition for a waiver must be submitted. Once a petition is complete, and if the student is approved for study on the program in question, the student may be asked to meet with the Director of Education Abroad and the petition will be reviewed by the Penn State International Restricted Travel Committee (IRTC). The necessary petition will be included in the online application process for this program. To see if your program is taking place in a restricted travel country, please visit the Global Programs website.
Available Fields of StudyAccounting, African Studies, Anthropology, Architecture, Astronomy, Business, Chemistry, Classics, Computer Science, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, Finance, Geography, Global Studies, History, Information Systems, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, Literature, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies, Science, Sociology, Statistics, Theatre, Visual Arts
Course ListingsTo find courses at the University of Cape Town, follow the instructions on the host program page.
You can also find courses directly on the UCT website using the course handbooks or search by department.
To see what Penn State students have previously taken on this program, see the Historical Course List, which is meant to be a guide as to what courses might be available and how they might transfer to Penn State. Courses listed here may not be offered during the semester you attend the program and the credit amount or course title may have changed.
Note: You are not limited to choosing classes on the program Historical Course List. You should consult the full list of courses in the University of Cape Town Course Handbooks before choosing a program.
Course SelectionTo find appropriate courses that will fit into your degree requirements, you will need to work with your academic adviser. Suggested tips:
- Research courses available on your program
- Meet with your academic adviser to discuss potential courses abroad and your degree requirements
- Keep in mind that courses abroad may change or may be unavailable for your selected term, so you will need to discuss possible back-up course options
- To register for courses on this program you will work with your host program
The CIEE Intercultural Communications and Leadership course or CIEE Independent Research are both options
- You must enroll in a minimum number of 15 credits (70 HEQF) and a maximum number of 18 credits (82 HEQF)
- You cannot take any courses abroad on a Pass/Fail basis
- World Campus courses should not be taken in addition to or as a substitute for courses offered abroad
- You may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad
- If you are studying abroad in your final semester at Penn State, please note that Penn State may not receive your grades in time for graduation
Course Equivalency ProcessIn order for courses from abroad to appear on your Penn State transcript, each course must be given a course equivalency. Please visit the Academics section of the Global Programs website for information on the course equivalency process.
Courses can be submitted for course equivalency before, during, or after the education abroad program, however, you should begin this process as soon as possible as it can take on average 2-4 months or more for courses to receive a Penn State course number. In some cases, it can be difficult to obtain syllabi from abroad before the start of the term, but when possible, courses can be submitted for review before departure. Talk to your Education Abroad Adviser about requesting syllabi.
Grade and Credit Conversion ScaleGrades and credit conversions from your host institution cannot be changed. They will be converted to Penn State credits and grades based on the following scales:
|Host Institution Grade||Penn State Grade|
|Host Institution Credit||Penn State Credit|
|12 HEQF||2.5 Credits|
|18 HEQF||4 Credits|
|24 HEQF||5.5 Credits|
|30 HEQF||6.5 Credits|
|36 HEQF||8 Credits|
University of Cape Town follows the South African Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF) credit system. One HEQF credit represents approximately 10 notional hours (total hours of class instruction and student work combined). To meet CIEE requirements, students must take 70-82 HEQF credits, for 15–18 U.S. credits, and enroll in three to four classes to achieve this credit load.
One HEQF credit = 0.222 U.S. semester. Credits for classes most commonly range from 2.5-6.5 U.S. credits. UCT course contact hours are listed on the CIEE Academic Record as notional hours, not contact hours.The above chart includes common UCT/HEQF credits to CIEE U.S. semester equivalents:
Housing and Meals
HousingHousing is guaranteed and included in the program.
At the University of Cape Town, students live in apartment-style residence halls with other African students. Students have small single rooms, and share kitchen and other facilities with two or three students. Residents share basic cleaning duties. Facilities are basic, but provide great opportunities to interact with African students. Residence halls are a five-minute (free) shuttle bus ride from campus.
A limited number of homestay opportunities are available. Living with a South African family allows students to maximize cultural immersion. Families live throughout the Cape Town area, and students take public transportation to and from the Global Institute.
Students share apartments near campus with fellow CIEE Study Abroad program participants and Resident Assistants (RAs). There is a combination of both single and double rooms within the apartments. These are allocated randomly. Students share kitchen and other facilities with five to 10 students. All residents of the apartments share basic cleaning duties.
Independent housing is not permitted on this program. There will be no exceptions.
Breakfast and dinner are provided on weekdays. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided on weekends. Students are responsible for lunch on weekdays.
UCT Residence Halls and Shared Apartments
Students are responsible for all meals. They can prepare their own meals at their hall or apartment, or eat on or off campus.
Students in academic- and calendar-year programs have a break between semesters and can remain in their residence hall or CIEE shared apartment. Meals are not included during breaks.
Costs and Funding
Program CostsFall Costs
The cost of a program is based on Penn State tuition rates and partner institution fees. Due to the variety of locations and partner institutions, costs will vary depending on the program. Education Abroad works closely with our partners to ensure the most accurate cost estimates, however, fees can change quickly and without prior notice. Consult the cost sheets for your chosen program often and if you have any questions please contact your Education Abroad Adviser.
ScholarshipsThe Education Abroad Office awards a number of grants and scholarships to students who participate in an education abroad program through Global Programs. The application for the scholarships awarded through the Education Abroad Office is included with your program application. Eligibility is based on academic merit and/or financial need. You must have a current FAFSA on file to be awarded. There are additional scholarship opportunities through our partner universities, Penn State Academic Departments, and other sources. To view a full list of scholarships, eligibility requirements, and deadlines visit Funding Study Abroad.
|Scholarship||Estimated Amounts||Notes & Eligibility|
|CIEE & Penn State Scholarships||$1,000 - $4,000||Students who apply to a CIEE program are automatically considered for a CIEE & Penn State Scholarship. A separate scholarship application is not required.|
|Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Travel Grants||$750 - $2,000||Students who receive a federal Pell grant are guaranteed this award, which can be used toward the cost of airfare if the CIEE application is submitted by the deadline. Application submitted through CIEE.|
|CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant||$1,000 - $2,500||Students who receive a federal Pell grant and show proof of application to the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship are guaranteed a grant. Application submitted through CIEE.|
Learn more about other CIEE scholarships by reviewing the Scholarships & Grants section of CIEE's website.
Student AidPenn State students who plan to study on a Penn State approved program can use most forms of financial aid towards the cost of the program. Exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships. If you have specific questions regarding your aid awards, contact the Penn State Office of Student Aid.
Withdrawal & Refund PolicyWithdrawal and refund details are dependent on the timing and reason for your withdrawal from a Penn State Education Abroad Program. For specific details and steps on how to withdraw, read the Education Abroad Policies.
After CommitmentOnce a student has committed to a Penn State Education Abroad program, they are financially responsible for any fees incurred on their behalf. Therefore, if a student plans to withdraw from a program it is their responsibility to immediately notify the Education Abroad office, in writing; email is preferred.
Regardless of the timing or reason for the withdrawal, the student will be responsible for paying the Education Abroad Administrative Fees. Additional fees from the partner institution will be assessed according to their withdrawal and refund policies at the date of the withdrawal notice.
After the Start of the ProgramIf a student withdraws after the start of a program, any adjustment of Penn State tuition charges will be made according to the Tuition Adjustment Schedule as determined by the Office of the Bursar. Students may be responsible for up to 100% of program costs. In most cases, partial credit cannot be awarded for leaving a program before its successful completion.
For additional information on withdrawal policies, separate and apart from financial consequences, please consult the University Senate Policy on Withdrawal and Leave of Absence.
General InformationStudying abroad can be one of the most exciting and transformative experiences of your college career. It is an opportunity to develop independence, build cross-cultural competencies, grow as a person, and enhance your academic program. Entering a new culture can be challenging for everyone. You may ask yourself: is this the right country for me? What are their cultural norms? How will my identity be perceived there? What can I do to prepare for this experience? What will my daily life be like? Below are resources to help you answer these questions.
AccessibilityPenn State Education Abroad works closely with campus resources and our partner institutions around the world to ensure that students of all abilities reach their goal of studying abroad. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged on an individual basis. If you have accommodation needs or further questions please consult with the Student Disability Resources office and your Education Abroad Adviser. Additional resources are available through the Global Program Website. Disability information will not be used during the admissions process, but rather is meant to provide students with resources to help in planning a successful experience abroad.
Gender and LGBTQAThere are dramatic and subtle differences in how gender, identity, sexual expression, and sexual health are perceived in different countries. Before going abroad, it is important that you research the specific country or countries you will be visiting and have a full understanding of their cultural norms. Below are some resources to help you with that research and provide guidance for your life abroad.
- Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
- LGBTQA Resources for Study Abroad
- Education Abroad Guide for LGBTQA Travelers
- Education Abroad Guide for Women Travelers
Race, Ethnicity, and FaithWhen choosing a study abroad location and preparing for your travels, you will want to be mindful of how your experience will be different than what you are used to in the United States. Your racial, ethnic, and spiritual identities may be interacted with and labeled by others differently than what you expect. Here are resources to help you prepare for these differences.
- Multicultural Resource Center
- Religious Diversity Abroad Guide
- Education Abroad Guide for Diversity and Study Abroad
Non-U.S. CitizensIt is possible for non-U.S. Citizens to study abroad through Penn State. To do so successfully, you must plan early because this process may involve obtaining visas and other governmental procedures. Check with your DISSA Adviser prior to committing to a study abroad program and speak with your Education Abroad Adviser for specific information on the host country. If you plan on traveling to other countries during your study abroad experience, you will need to research and make plans to adhere to immigration policies for all of the countries that you plan to travel to and through. You are responsible for applying for visas for all applicable countries on your own. Advisers in the Education Abroad office cannot apply for your visa for you. Additional information may be available through your country's embassy and the consulate for your study abroad country.
Steps to Study AbroadThe planning stages outlined on the Global Programs website will help you have the best study abroad experience possible. We recommend that you begin this process at least one year prior to the semester you plan on studying abroad. Visit the Steps to Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
How to ApplyClick the “Apply Now” button on this page to get started!
Application procedures can vary by program. Students should consult the application instructions available within each application. For more information, see the Application Process section of the Global Penn State website.
DeadlinesYou must apply to this program by the Penn State deadline. For a list of deadlines visit the Application Process page of the Global Programs website.
Contact Education AbroadIf you have general questions about Education Abroad opportunities at Penn State, please email EducationAbroad@psu.edu.
Peer AdvisersEducation Abroad Peer Advisers are Penn State study abroad returnees who advise students on education abroad opportunities at Penn State. Each Peer Adviser can explain program options, give an overview of the study abroad process, as well as provide information about their experience abroad. Peer Advisers have walk-in hours in Boucke Building during the fall and spring semester when classes are in session. For more information, visit the Education Abroad Peer Adviser website.
Education Abroad AdvisersEducation Abroad Advisers can provide information about courses, support services, application processes, housing details, program costs, cultural expectations, pre-departure requirements, and much more. Education Abroad Advisers have two types of meetings - scheduled appointments and walk-ins. For more information about how to meet with an Education Abroad Adviser, please visit the Global Penn State website.
For information about upcoming events, scholarship opportunities, deadlines, and much more visit the Global Programs Events Calendar and follow us on social media!
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