This program offers a wide variety of courses in African language and literature, Afrikaans and Netherlandic studies, archaeology, art history, chemistry, classics, dance, drama, economics, environmental science, fine art, gender studies, geological sciences, history, life science, linguistics, management studies, math, statistics, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, religious studies, social anthropology, and sociology. Your courses will be taken at the University of Cape Town (UCT) with UCT students. Field trips are also offered as part of this program. In the past, students have traveled to the Cape Peninsula, the Cape Flats, Robben Island, and Newlands Grounds to watch cricket or rugby, and have gone on a whale-watching excursion.
Cape Town is Africa’s most popular tourist destination for many reasons, starting with its glorious climate and natural attractions – from Table Mountain to stunning beaches. Situated on the southern tip of Africa, Cape Town is a vibrant multicultural city with a rich selection of day and night activities. Water sports, mountaineering, nightclubs, and restaurants are readily available. The city is also a microcosm of the challenges facing many African countries in transition – how to successfully operate within a global economy while grappling with the vast socioeconomic inequalities that are the legacy of the colonial and apartheid past.
To view a list of other programs available in this region, visit our Education Abroad Regional Program Brochures.
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You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State.
Students are required to take three to four courses at the University of Cape Town to maintain a full course load. At least one of these courses must have specific African content or offer a distinctive African perspective in their area of interest.
You have access to a full range of courses through the University of Cape Town. You may also choose to take an Intercultural Communications and Leadership or a Directed Independent Research course. Final course registration will take place on-site.
Students take between 16 and 18 credits per semester (Penn State requires that students enroll for the equivalent of at least 15 U.S. credits). Total contact hours for each course vary. Please Note: The University of Cape Town follows the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (HEQF) credit system. Per this system, CIEE requires all study abroad students to take between 66 and 82 HEQF credits per semester. Students in some Faculties, most notably Engineering, may be permitted to petition to take a fifth class in order to meet the CIEE 66 HEQF minimum credit load requirement. Courses may be taken in all University of Cape Town faculties, except Health Sciences.
To see what kinds of courses you can take on this program, please visit the CIEE website or the University of Cape Town on-site course catalog.
To see what kind of credit students in past semesters have received for courses taken on this program, visit the CIEE Cape Town Course Equivalency List. Keep in mind you will need to complete the course equivalency process once you have been accepted to your program and after you have completed your registration abroad. To obtain specific instructions on this process visit our Course Equivalencies page. To learn how the courses on this program can work into your individual degree audit, meet with your academic adviser.
To help you prepare for your time in South Africa, please consider enrolling in conversational Zulu taught by Penn State Professor Dr. Dube. Zulu will be available at Penn State beginning spring 2016. Contact Dr. Dube for more information.
Students must meet the minimum GPA of 3.0 to participate in this program.
Housing and Meals
Your housing will be arranged by CIEE; students have several options, including UCT residence hall, apartment or homestay. Students who choose to live in the UCT residence hall or apartment will be responsible for all meals. Students who choose a homestay will be responsible for lunches during the week (all other meals are included).
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the (Fall and Spring) budget sheets. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully. Since students can enroll in varying amounts of credits on this program, the summer tuition rates vary according to the number of credits taken.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
To learn more about the specifics of each program, schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
Please note that you will also be instructed to complete an application with CIEE as a part of your Penn State application. Applications open approximately one year before the program term begins.
- Education Abroad Questionnaire
- 1 or 2 academic recommendation(s)
- Signature Documents
Important: Final acceptance decisions for this program must be made by the host institution/program director rather than by Penn State. As such, students should expect to be notified of final acceptance later than students who have applied for other programs.
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.
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