University of Cape Town Courses

Most students take 3-4 courses for a total of 16 U.S. credits per semester. All students participate in the required, 3-credit Arcadia core course: Introducing South Africa: History, Politics and Culture.

  • 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 preferences form.

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

When completing your Academic Preferences Form:

  • List and secure approval from your homeschool for 7 UCT courses.
    • Keep in mind, 15-17 US credits per semester = at least 54 NQF credits per semester at UCT
  • Required 3-credit Arcadia core course will automatically populate on the form
 Required Core Course
Course ID Title Credits Term Syllabus
CAPE SMCI 310 Introducing South Africa: History, Politics, and Culture 3 Spring/Fall PDF


 University of Cape Town Courses
UCT NQF Credits U.S. Semester Hour Credits
18 4
24 5
30 7
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.

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.