University of Cape Town Courses

Most students take 16 credits per semester. All students participate in the required, 3-credit Arcadia core course, Introducing South Africa: History, Politics and Culture.

For Fall 2018, in addition to the core course, students take remaining courses at the University of Cape Town.

Beginning in Spring 2019, in addition to the core course all students take, students will choose one option from below:

  • Take all courses at UCT.
  • Take two courses at UCT and one at the Cornerstone Institute.

Please review your courses with your academic or study abroad advisor to ensure they will transfer back to your home school and that you are following your home school’s policies.

Please be flexible – we can’t guarantee specific courses. If your participation in the program depends on a particular course, be sure to make a note on your online course form.


Cornerstone Institute

Students may choose a course in Service Learning in the local community with The Cornerstone Institute. Cornerstone is grounded in a highly ethical ethos, emphasizing the relationship between leadership and professional integrity.

UCT Course Restrictions

  • Certain courses may have a cap on the number of international students who can enroll.
  • Study abroad students may not enroll in courses in Health Sciences, or in Post-graduate level courses.
  • Courses in the Faculty of Commerce require a 3.0 GPA and are very rigorous, particularly in Finance. Be sure you have the appropriate prerequisites, which are listed in the course descriptions.

Choosing Your Courses

1. 15-17 US credits per semester = at least 54 NQF credits per semester at UCT

2. Required 3-credit Arcadia core course

In addition to courses at UCT and Arcadia’s core course on South Africa’s socio-historical-political climate, students will have access to courses in several of The Cornerstone Institute’s departments:

  • Community Development and Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Management & Entrepreneurship

Courses in other Cornerstone departments are available upon petition with options in Media and Communications and Theology that maybe particularly appealing. For more information about Cornerstone Institute courses, contact your program manager

  • Students taking courses in both UCT and The Cornerstone Institute enroll in both institutions on a per course basis and receive visa letters from both institutions.
 Required Core Course
Course ID Title Credits Term Syllabus
CAPE SMCI 310 Introducing South Africa: History, Politics, and Culture 3 Spring/Fall PDF
 Credit Calculations
UCT NQF Credits U.S. Semester Hour Credits
18 4
24 5
36 8

Most students must take 2-3 UCT classes per semester:

Select semester courses offered by the five Faculties:

  • Commerce
  • Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Humanities
  • Law
  • Science

Faculty handbooks:

  • Updated every year
  • Important that students choose courses only from the most updated versions
  • If handbooks are not yet available for your study abroad year,  use the most recent available

When selecting courses:
Seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere:

  • Fall in the U.S. (July – November) = Second Semester at UCT
    • at end of course code
  • Spring in the U.S. (January - June) = First Semester at UCT
    • F at the end of the course code
  • or H = Full Year (January - November).
  • W or H may only be taken by students who will be studying at UCT for the Academic Year Southern Hemisphere.
  • W or H courses = not available to Semester-only students.

South African Universities typically award degrees after a three-year program of study. 300-level courses are completed in the final year, and so therefore do not correspond precisely to junior-level courses in the US. If you enroll in 300 level courses, please be aware that these courses are advanced.

Courses should be chosen according to the following guide:

  • 100 level = beginner
  • 200 level = intermediate
  • 300 level=  advanced

Begin the course selection process:

  • Select faculty(ies)
  • Each faculty link will open a separate pdf
  • Scroll down to course descriptions

Special Nomenclature

The largest academic unit, typically referred to as a school or college at a US university, is the faculty. UCT features courses on its website per faculty.

Enrollment Process

Official course registration will take place once you have arrived on campus at UCT. You will be able to make changes to your course selections up until the point of registration.

Please indicate a total of 7-9 courses that suit your academic needs.

Grade Scale for South Africa - AACRAO EDGE

The following information is vetted and provided by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) on the Electronic Database for Global Education (EDGE).

Percentage Description Suggested U.S. Equivalent
75 – 100% 1st Class  A+
70 – 74%  2nd Class/Division 1 B+
60 – 69%  2nd Class/Division 2
50 – 59%  3rd Class
0 – 49%  Fail
Intellectual property copyright AACRAO EDGE.