TCU-In Stellenbosch

Program Overview

Aerial view of Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

Stellenbosch University

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.

Program Details

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.

As part of the application, students must have their Stellenbosch courses pre-approved through the credit approval process.

While you are abroad, you are enrolled in 12 hours of coursework (identified as SABD) as a placeholder. Your classes will not be posted to your TCU recorded until 8 – 10 weeks after the semester ends, when the transcript from Stellenbosch University is sent. Once the Registrar receives your transcript, they will record the courses using the department codes on your Credit Approvals  (i.e., MARK, HIST) and a generic course code. Your dean’s office will apply these to your major / minor / electives / core as approved.

All coursework, regardless of program type, counts for grades and will be included in your TCU GPA.

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

Group advising will be available to explain course options and the credit approval process.

On-campus residence facility at the Stellenbosch University

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.

These dates are estimates and will be confirmed soon

Spring 2024Program Start (Arrive by 4 pm)February 2 (estimate)
Spring 2024OrientationFebruary 2 - 11 (estimate)
Spring 2024Classes BeginFebruary 12
Spring 2024Midterm RecessMarch 29 - April 7
Spring 2024Final Exams - 1st RoundMay 20 - June 8
Spring 2024Earliest DepartureJune 9*
Spring 2024Program EndJune 28 (estimate)

Semester Costs for 2024

  1. Stellenbosch Program Fee: Spring 2024 – $4500, collected as:
    $500 Non-Refundable First Payment, to confirm your spot in the program after admission
    $4000 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 (potentially 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: $28,565
  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.

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 International Studies Award (included in program application)

Financial penalties are assessed on a sliding scale, based on withdrawal date.

Financial penalties are assessed on a sliding scale set by Stellenbosch University.

  • To withdraw from a program, you must notify TCU Global ( in writing. Study abroad scholarships and aid will be rescinded and cannot be used towards penalty amounts.
  • In the case that TCU must cancel the program, the program fee (including deposit) and tuition will be fully refunded. Study abroad scholarships and aid will be rescinded.
  • Financial penalties will be billed to your student account.
  • TCU Tuition refunds are subject to TCU policies :(See TCU Undergraduate Catalog:, Bachelor’s Degree, Definitions and Regulations.)

How to Apply

Fall applications open in late January

Spring applications open in late June/early July.

Application Information

  • 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

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

  • Fall Programs: March 15
  • Spring Programs:
    • TCU Global Forms: August 31
    • Stellenbosch Online Application: September 30

If applications exceed enrollment maximums, a lottery system will determine admission. (Consideration may be given to prior language study and majors with limited study abroad opportunities.)

  1. Complete the Global TCU Study Abroad Forms (already started an application? Login here to finish it).
  2. After completing your Global TCU forms, you will receive the link to the Stellenbosch online application, which must be completed by September 30.


Important Information

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.

Managing your health and safety is an important component in having a positive experience abroad. TCU provides you with a number of resources to assist you:

  1. Prior to departure, you will need to attend the mandatory orientation which covers specific health, safety, logistical, and cultural information.
  2. Upon arrival, you will have an orientation to reiterate health, safety, logistical, and cultural information.
  3. TCU provides you membership to On Call International, a premier Global Assistance program. You can call On Call for any kind of travel, health, safety, or emergency issues, including:
  • help replacing a lost passpor help translating and interpreting
  • help with lost luggage, along with reimbursement for items needed while luggage is lost
  • assistance finding general and specialty health care
  • assistance with emergency refills of prescription
  • health insurance for your time abroad.

For more information, please see Health & Safety

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. TCU Global 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 and Know Before You Go page.

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.