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UCT Postgraduate International Student Admissions

UCT Postgraduate International Student Admissions

Postgraduate Application Procedures

Application deadlines

This category may further be broken down into two types, namely: coursework programmes and courses by dissertation/thesis.

a) Coursework programmes

Most honours and master’s coursework programmes at UCT commence in the first semester only (January or February). While honours courses tend to take one year, master’s degrees take one to two years. Please confirm the exact duration of your intended course with your faculty office.

Selection for most honours and master’s courses by coursework takes place in November and early December, therefore coursework master’s applicants are advised to submit their applications by 30 September of the year preceding the intended year of registration.

b)Courses by thesis

Applications for master’s and PhD courses by thesis (research) may be submitted and commenced at any time of the year in agreement with a supervisor. Certain individual programmes do have deadlines. If in any doubt regarding course commencement and application closing dates, please contact the relevant UCT department directly.

All international students wishing to stay in UCT residences are required to submit their applications before 30 September of the year preceding the intended year of study. The UCT study application form contains a section for residence application.

When submitting an application for studies at UCT please liase directly with your intended faculty on the status of your application, as the IAPO does not process student applications (With the exception of Semester Study Abroad/exchange students).

Application requirements

1.    Application form

UCT application forms may be downloaded from UCT’s website (click here) or obtained from the Admissions Office.
Applications must be returned to the Admissions Office after completion (address information provided below), together with the necessary attachments. Applications should not be faxed under any circumstances.

Physical address
Level 3
Kramer Law Building
Middle Campus
University of Cape Town

Postal address
The Admissions Office
University of Cape Town
Private Bag

Tel: 021 650 2128

Once the application is processed, applicants will receive an acknowledgement of receipt from the Admissions Office. Further correspondence will come from the faculty or department relevant to the application. Please contact your department directly or access your departmental webpage on this website to find out if there is an additional application form to be completed in addition to the UCT application form.

2.    Application fee

An application fee is required in order for your application to be processed. Please access UCT’s website or contact the Admissions Office directly for the current fee.

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•    Do not send cash in the post. Cash payments may only be made at the Cash Office (receipts cashier), Kramer Law Building, 09h00 to 15h30, Monday to Friday.
•    Cheques (crossed) are to be made out to the University of Cape Town.
•    Alternatively, you may wire the money to UCT’s account:

Account name: University of Cape Town, current account
Bank name: Standard Bank of South Africa
Bank address: Riverside Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa.
Account number: 071503854.
Branch code: Rondebosch Branch 025009.
Swift code: SBZAZAJJ

Please remember to post, with your application, a legible copy of the official bank transfer advice/proof of payment so that we can trace your payment on our bank statement.

NB: Proof of payment of the fee needs to be attached to your application before it can be processed.

Retain the bank advice for your own records. Should there be a dispute regarding payment, you will be required to prove that you effected the transfer.

3.    Degrees and academic transcripts

Certified copies of original academic transcripts covering all periods of registration at every university that you have attended must be attached to an application. Any documentation not in English must be translated and sworn to by an authorised translator.

4.    Statement of research interest

Research Master’s or Doctoral degree applicants must attach to their application a statement indicating their proposed area of specialisation for research. Please confirm with your faculty the length of statement required. You will also be required to make contact with your prospective department to ensure the availability of a supervisor in your field.

5.    Programme-specific requirements

Applicants are advised to check their programme’s requirements before applying. Some departments have special requirements, such as the GMAT test for the MBA or a portfolio of creative work for the MA in Creative Writing. Further information on specific requirements can be found in UCT handbooks, which are obtainable from the relevant faculties.

6.    Assessment of qualifications

Selection for admission to all postgraduate programmes is based on the information supplied in your application. Assessment of qualifications is done by faculties. To allow time for the assessment of your qualifications and for obtaining a study permit, applicants for coursework programmes beginning in January or February are required to apply before 30 September each year.

Applicants with a four-year or honours bachelor’s degree with the required specialisation would normally be considered as having an adequate background and be accepted directly into a master’s programme. However, this decision is purely faculty-based and is only determined after the applicant’s qualifications have been assessed.

Offer of Admission

All applications will be acknowledged by UCT’s Admission Office and sent to the relevant faculty for evaluation. Successful applicants will be sent an offer-of-admission letter with details of acceptance procedures. Please ensure that you confirm acceptance of the offer with your department as soon as possible. You will be asked to pay a non-refundable acceptance fee to secure your place. Acceptance fees will be credited to your student fee account.

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International, non-SADC students, who intend to study for a full South African degree/diploma/honours should consult the faculty section of the UCT fees booklet for the costs per course. The amounts listed must be added to the total amount calculated from the courses selected. 100% of the international term fees, plus course-based fees, are to be paid prior to registration. In addition, the minimum initial residence payment is required before registration.

Click here for more information on fees. Download the postgraduate handbook for more information on application procedures.

Semester Study Abroad Application Procedures

Application Instructions

All applicants need to complete the online Semester Study Abroad application form before the relevant application closing date

If you plan to come to UCT through a partner university programme, contact the International Office for the procedures and deadlines at your home university.

2.    If you plan to come to UCT through CIEE , InterStudy, IES, Connect-123 or Arcadia consult their websites for further information.

3.    If you plan to come to UCT directly (as an ‘individual’ fee paying student), complete the online Semester Study Abroad application form.

4.    You are responsible for your own study permit promptly after receiving the acceptance letter. Refer to this useful link for the South African Consulate General.

5.    Fees invoice for fee-paying students: Once you have been accepted to the programme, IAPO will send you a fees invoice detailing the cost of your study for the duration of your stay. This invoice will include information on fees payment instructions. All fees must be paid prior to registration, and we recommend that, to expedite matters, you attend to this before leaving your home country. Students on partner university programmes, or on centralised programmes, will be billed by their home institution or CIEE/InterStudy/IES Abroad/ISA/Arcadia.

6.    Accepting the offer: It’s important that you confirm your acceptance of the study offer made to you as soon as possible to secure your place and emailing it promptly to the Admissions office. We also require a confirmation and deposit to secure housing for you. When you have confirmed your arrival date in South Africa, we will email you a pre-departure information document. This contains information regarding the orientation programme and other services offered to Semester Study Abroad students by IAPO. Students on partner university programmes (CIEE/ISA/IES Abroad/ISA/Arcadia/Ida Cooper & Associates) should arrange their housing directly with the relevant partner programme.

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Entrance Requirements


  1. Transcripts: An original or a certified copy of a transcript of your most recent academic results. We cannot process your application on the strength of unofficial copies, so please send an original transcript or certified copy before the closing date. If the transcript is not in English, a certified translation should be included with the academic transcript.
  2. GPA: A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required. Some home institutions may have a higher GPA requirement or prerequisite for courses which must be passed prior to coming to UCT – check with your International Office. Students from countries other than the USA will be assessed on the basis of their transcripts and need not provide a GPA.
  3. English proficiency tests: Students whose first language is not English, and/or who have studied in a language other than English, must present a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or Advanced Placement of English as International Language (APIEL), or IELTS score. For details about the English proficiency requirements, click here
  4. Matriculation Exemption requirement: All students registering at UCT must qualify for matriculation exemption. This is a national statutory requirement. Our office will handle the costs and administration involved in making such applications to the Matric Board on behalf of our SSA / Exchange students. Study Permit: All students planning on studying in South Africa for a semester or year are required to obtain a study visa before leaving their country. This study visa is issued by the South African consulate. Refer to the website for information about the study visa application requirements from the South African Consulate General in your home country.
  5. Complete the UCT online application form for the Semester Study Abroad programme. Click here
  6. We recommend that you contact the South African Consulate in your home country before sending in your SSA application documents to verify the cost, requirements and time period to process the study visa.

Application dates and deadlines

NOTE: Applications for the first semester (February – June) are open from 15 August to 15 October. The applications period for the second semester (July – November) is from 20 February to 15 April.

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