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TCU-In Stellenbosch

Nestled between picturesque mountains in the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch University hosts the TCU-In Stellenbosch program and offers a beautiful environment for students to live, study and explore. The University is one of the oldest in South Africa and is recognized internationally as an academic institution of excellence.

Stellenbosch University offers a wide variety of courses across the Sciences, Liberal Arts, and Business.  The program offers a campus-based experience set in the charming college town of Stellenbosch, which is located in the Western Cape province, about 30 miles east of Cape Town.

Stellenbosch University

TCU students enroll directly in classes at Stellenbosch University (SU), alongside degree-seeking and other visiting students. At SU, they are known as Freemovers and can select courses from any department, provided they meet the equivalent prerequisites.

Students enroll in 60 South African credits (equivalent to 15 TCU credits) per semester. Credit returns as TCU credit and applies towards the TCU GPA. Keep in mind that SU operates on a calendar year schedule:

  • Semester 1 runs from late January to late June (TCU’s spring semester)
  • Semester 2  runs from mid-July to mid-December (TCU’s fall semester)

Students choose from Mainstream and Global Education Programme (GEP) courses. They can select up to two GEP courses, which are designed specifically for international students.
To help navigate and browse, TCU has created an unofficial list of course offerings. Please consult the official catalogs for course descriptions, prerequisites, and details.

As part of the application, students must have at least 10 – 12 courses pre-approved on the TCU Credit Approval Form. When selecting classes, pay close attention to the course codes, which explain the year level of the course, when a course is offered, and how many credits its worth. Here are a few tips:

  • Look for classes that begin with a 1, 2, or 3. These are undergraduate level courses. Graduate level courses begin with a 4, 5, 6, or more.
  • Look for classes that are worth 12 – 16 SU credits, which are equivalent to 3-4 TCU credits. (Note: 4 South African credits = 1 TCU credit.)
  • Semester 1 students (TCU’s spring term) should look for course codes with a middle digit of 1, 2, or 3. They also have the option to take the 1st half of yearlong courses, designated with a middle digit of 7, 8, or 9.
  • Semester 2 students (TCU’s fall term) should look for courses with a middle digit of 4, 5, or 6.

For more information about how credits work, see our Study Abroad Basics page.

Van der Sterr Building

Students live in university-administered apartments on campus with other SU and international students. Each student has his or her own bedroom and bathroom, shares a small kitchenette with a suite mate, and shares a common living space with 7 other students in the apartment. Laundry, located onsite, is coin operated.

Apartments are fully furnished, but students will need to purchase or bring their own bedding and kitchen supplies. We recommend that students pack a towel, washcloth, and 2 flat twin sheets, so they have essentials upon arrival. Additional items can be purchased at shops around town, which are within walking distance.

Academia Residence Halls

To celebrate the launch of the new TCU-In program, TCU is taking the first group of TCU-In Stellenbosch students to the Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. On this four-day trek, you’ll stay at a Big 5 wildlife conservancy and experience the TCU Rhino Initiative firsthand. All travel, accommodation, and meals are included in the cost of the Program Fee. Students will only be responsible for incidentals.

The excursion requires a minimum number of student participants and will take place during the first half of SU’s midterm recess during Spring 2019. Students will be asked to confirm their participation after admittance to the program. Students who commit to participate will be charged a $500 cancellation fee for withdrawal from the excursion.

Semester Costs for 2020-2021

  1. Stellenbosch Program Fee: Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 – $4200, collected as:
    $500 Non-Refundable First Payment, to confirm your spot in the program after admission
    $3700 Remaining Balance/ Final Payment, billed to your TCU Student Account before the semester begins.
    This includes:
    — Housing
    — SU campus services and amenities
    — Start-up and midterm activities (including a TCU-led multi-day excursion to the Amakhala Game Reserve*)
    — Credit on SU student service account (can be used towards gym membership, club/society fees, laundry, internet, printing, copying, etc.)
  2. TCU Tuition: $25,785
  3. Estimated Additional Expenses: For other outside expenses not included in the program fee. Individual budgets are highly variable. This may include:
    — Airfare: $2,000
    — South African Visa & Associated Travel Costs: $400
    — South African Medical Insurance (required): $180
    — Books: $250
    — Meals: $1,200
    — Bike Rental (optional): $175
    — Other Transportation: Highly variable
    — Personal Expenses: Highly variable
    — Travel Expenses: Highly variable

*Minimum enrollment required for the Amakhala excursion to take place. Students who commit to participate will be charged a $500 cancellation fee for withdrawal.

Billing & Withdrawals

Tuition and Program Fees are posted to your TCU Student Account, just like any other semester at TCU. After you are admitted to the program, you will be asked to pay a non-refundable enrollment fee of $500 by orientation, and then TCU will invoice you for the Program Fee and tuition prior to the beginning of the semester. Withdrawals are subject to official TCU policies outlined in the TCU Student Handbook. Financial penalties are assessed on a sliding scale set by Stellenbosch University. More information is available in the TCU-In Stellenbosch Handbook.

Visit the Scholarships & Aid page to learn about study abroad scholarships, through TCU and other organizations. In particular, TCU-In Stellenbosch applicants should look at the:

  • TCU Center for International Studies Scholarship
  • Benjamin Gilman Scholarship

I know many of you have questions about studying abroad in the Spring 2021 semester.  There continues to be much uncertainty surrounding international travel and the structure of our programs with our international partner universities.  We are very pleased with your interest but ask for your patience as the situation is dynamic.  We continue to monitor a variety of sources and health and safety indicators. We anticipate that we will have more information to share after the Fall Semester has begun.  Please continue to watch our website and be assured that if we are able to offer spring study abroad, we will provide adequate time for the application process.

Semester Event Date
Fall 2020 Program Start (Arrive by 4 pm) July 10
Fall 2020 Orientation July 13 - 17
Fall 2020 Classes Begin July 20
Fall 2020 Midterm Recess Sept 5 - 13
Fall 2020 Final Exams - 1st Round Oct 27 - Nov 18
Fall 2020 Earliest Departure November 19*
Fall 2020 Program End December 11
Spring 2020 Program Start (Arrive by 4 pm) January 24
Spring 2020 Orientation Jan 27 - Feb 2
Spring 2020 Classes Begin February 3
Spring 2020 Midterm Recess March 21 - 29
Spring 2020 Final Exams - 1st Round May 19 - June 8
Spring 2020 Earliest Departure June 9*
Spring 2020 Program End June 26


*Note: In the South African education system, most students finish after the 1st round of final exams. If you choose to depart before the Program End, be prepared to change your departure date if you fail or miss a final. There is no flexibility on exam dates.

I know many of you have questions about studying abroad in the Spring 2021 semester.  There continues to be much uncertainty surrounding international travel and the structure of our programs with our international partner universities.  We are very pleased with your interest but ask for your patience as the situation is dynamic.  We continue to monitor a variety of sources and health and safety indicators. We anticipate that we will have more information to share after the Fall Semester has begun.  Please continue to watch our website and be assured that if we are able to offer spring study abroad, we will provide adequate time for the application process.

Applications will open TBA

Eligibility Requirements

  • Minimum 2.8 GPA; petitions may be considered
  • At least two semesters in residence at TCU by the start of the program
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing at TCU
  • A valid passport that will not expire until at least 6 months after your return

Application Deadlines

Note: The Spring application deadline is earlier than other TCU semester programs.

  • Fall Programs: March 16
  • Spring Programs
    • Priority Deadline: TBA
    • Regular Deadline: TBA

Application Steps

Admission is by lottery.

  1. Complete the Global TCU Study Abroad Forms. Already started an application? Login here to finish it.
  2. Complete the Credit Approval Form with all signatures. Watch the video tutorial on YouTube.
  3. Submit the online Stellenbosch University application, which must be completed in a single session. Before beginning, you should review the step-by-step guide and gather the supplemental materials.
  4. Submit the online SU Housing Application. List accommodations in this order: Academia, Concordia, Metanoia.
  5. Submit all of the following to Reed 214:
    — Copy of your transcript
    — Completed Credit Approval Form

Study Abroad programs often include field components that require the ability to perform tasks beyond what is expected in a typical classroom. Many programs require extensive walking and/or the ability to stand for extended periods of time; the ability to independently use public transportations; and/or sleeping in shared quarters. Program and housing facilities may lack central heat and air-conditioning, elevators, and other conveniences. Unless prior accommodations have been made through TCU Student Disabilities Services, students must be able to transport and manage own luggage through airports and public transportation centers.

South African Visas

U.S. citizens are required by law to apply for a visa — in person — at the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. or one of the regional consulates in Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York (depending on the student’s permanent home address). Students will make visa appointments and travel to the embassy/consulate in November or December (for spring programs) or May (for fall programs).

Do not plan to travel outside the U.S. during the two months prior to studying abroad. You surrender your passport during the visa application process, which can take up to 4 weeks. At orientation, you will receive detailed instructions about how to complete and apply for the visa. Center for International Studies staff will assist throughout the process.

Before Departure

You must attend the mandatory TCU-In Stellenbosch orientation. You should also review the TCU-In Stellenbosch Handbook and information about Preparing to Depart and Health, Safety & Emergencies.

Arrival and On-Site Information

Stellenbosch University (SU) provides free airport pickup service from Cape Town International Airport, which kicks off the orientation for all new international students. During this weeklong program, students learn about academics, culture shock, safety and security, and living in Stellenbosch. They also attend social gatherings; partake in Afrikaans and isiXhosa language lessons; and tour campus, Stellenbosch town, and Cape Town. All international students are required to attend orientation.

Because you are not enrolled in TCU classes, the TCU system will show 12 hours of coursework as a placeholder while you are abroad. Your classes will not transfer back to TCU until 8 – 10 weeks after the semester ends. At that time, the correct credit hours will be posted to your TCU record.

For more information about making the most of your experience abroad, see our While Abroad page

Students on Campus