Study in South Africa: Application Process

Every university in South Africa has their own entry requirements based on the program. It is, however, important to note that non-South African applicants must meet the requirements of matriculation exemption. 

This can usually be proven by obtaining your secondary-school diploma with good grades and scoring well in exams in your home country for admissions to universities abroad. The application process to South African universities is very easy. We have gathered all the steps you need to follow below:

1. Choose a program

Make this initial step with extra caution, as this will influence your future profession! Take into consideration your passions, interests and the contemporary business and technological terrain, in order to make a list of programs you wish to study. Keep in mind that you will need to prove your linguistic competency in English for all academic levels: Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD.

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2. Check the admission requirements 

Every program, depending on the level of education and discipline, might have different entry requirements. After you have a list of programs you want to get admitted to, directly contact the universities for additional information and queries. Plus, you can easily navigate through the official websites of the programs in order to gain valuable insights on the admission criteria depending on your previous studies and citizenship status. 

3. Prepare the necessary documents

Book an appointment with your nearest South African Embassy or Consulate in order to express your interest in studying in South Africa, followed by questions you might have for the documents you will need to prepare. They can easily guide you through the process and also offer you official translation services, if your original documents are not in English. Overall, the documents required for the application process for South African universities are: 

  • Completed and signed application form.
  • Proof of payment of the application fee, if applicable. 
  • A high school diploma (if you apply for a Bachelor’s).
  • A Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma (if you apply for a Master’s or PhD respectively). 
  • Transcript of records.
  • Passport-size photographs. 
  • A copy of your passport or identity card. 
  • Curriculum vitae and motivation letter, if applicable.

4. Submit your application

Time is up! You have gathered all documents, signed papers and have the translations ready. What is left to do? Submit your application! Navigate through the official websites of the universities you have chosen and find the application forms for the programs you want to apply. Fill in the forms, electronically upload the additional documents and send them directly to the university or admissions office. 

5. Apply for a student visa

Congrats! You made it through this long process and you are officially a student in South Africa. The moment you receive the letter of acceptance from the university, hurry up and start the process for your student visa application by contacting the South African Embassy in your home country. Be extra careful with the documents you might need to submit, along with health insurance, fund certificates and possible vaccination certificates as well.

6. Arrive in South Africa

You are ready to go! Now you have your visa and letter of acceptance so nothing can stop you from living the student adventure in South Africa. Decide whether you want to live in a student dormitory or private apartment. After you make your decision don’t lose time and contact the university student services in order to reserve a dormitory spot. You can also search online for available rentals in your South African city. Pack some summer clothes, book a flight and head to South Africa!

Study in South Africa - Overview

Over 45,000 international students choose South Africa as their study abroad destination every year. Click here to learn why.

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Student Visas

If you are not a South African citizen, then you will need a visa for studies in South Africa. Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizen status.

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Housing & Living Costs

Housing and cost of living in South Africa are relatively cheap, especially when compared with other countries in Europe. You can choose to either live in a private or shared student accommodation.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in South Africa vary and is based on a credit system charge, but education for international students is still lower than in many other European countries.

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Language & Culture

South Africa has 11 official languages and is a country rich in history and culture. Find out more about what the country offers in terms of language, culture, and more!

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Education System

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in South Africa? Both public and private universities offer programs in English language and focus on academic excellence.

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Ready to look at education in South Africa? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in South Africa today!

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Last update: 29 Jun 2021


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