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Global Healthcare Technologies

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Northwestern Global Healthcare Technologies program students in South Africa. Winter Quarter 2016
Northwestern Global Healthcare Technologies program students in South Africa. Winter Quarter 2016
Northwestern Global Healthcare Technologies program students in South Africa. Winter Quarter 2016
Northwestern Global Healthcare Technologies program students in South Africa. Winter Quarter 2016

Designed exclusively for engineering students, the Global Healthcare Technologies program offers hands-on experience in developing medical devices to improve health outcomes in resource-poor environments, particularly townships around Cape Town. Students work closely with Northwestern faculty, Stellenbosch University faculty and local health professionals to identify the healthcare needs of local clients and develop a design project. The emphasis is on problem definition, user-centered solutions, and the utilization of appropriate technologies. The program is organized in conjunction with McCormick’s Center for Innovative Global Health Technologies (CIGHT) and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering at Stellenbosch. Professors Martin Nieuwoudt, Matt Glucksberg, and David Kelso co-direct the program.

Begin Application Process


This is a Northwestern program with a set curriculum, so students must enroll in the Northwestern courses listed below. All courses and grades appear on students' Northwestern transcript and are figured into their Northwestern GPA. 

BME 388-SA: Health Systems Engineering
Course Coordinator: Sara Grobbelaar

This course provides an introduction to health systems in the context of disease burden, with special emphasis on developing countries and the devices and drugs used to combat diseases there. Site visits to hospital departments and community institutions are an integral part of the course.

BME 389-SA: Health Technology Management
Course Coordinator: Mladen Poluta

Students learn formal concepts and methodologies used in health-technology planning, assessment, and adoption for cost-effective healthcare delivery.

BME 391-SA: Healthcare Technology Innovation and Design
Course Coordinators: Dawie van der Heever and Cobus Muller

This course covers principles and practice of medical device design for the developing world. Working in teams, students will evaluate user needs within the context of under-resourced segments of the South African healthcare system and develop a design project using appropriate technologies.

GBL HLTH 314-SA: Health and Community Development in South Africa
Course Coordinator: Jacob du Plessis

This course explores health-related issues confronting South Africa, their social and economic impact, and efforts to address them, particularly within the context of apartheid and post-transition policies. Students will learn about demographics, prevention, and treatment of both infectious and chronic noncommunicable diseases.

Program Requirements


Open to Northwestern and non-Northwestern students who have completed upper-level engineering courses and meet NU's minimum application requirements.


No language requirement is needed.


  1. Apply for permission to study abroad
    All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.
  2. Interview
    Yes, an interview with Professor Matthew Glucksberg is required. It is not necessary to interview with an adviser in GLO.

This Northwestern Program has a maximum enrollment capacity. If there are more applicants than spaces available, then admission to this program will be competitive. Review the admissions criteria and selection process for Northwestern Programs here.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

4 Northwestern units per semester. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.


Students stay in Concordia, an international dorm in the residential area on campus. Each student will share a flat with other Northwestern students of the same gender. Flats are furnished with a bed, desk, chair, closet, a mini-kitchen, and wired internet access. Students are responsible for the cost of all meals.

Host Institution

Founded in 1881, Stellenbosch University (originally Stellenbosch College) is one of the top research universities in South Africa. Stellenbosch University is located in the beautiful Jonkershoek Valley in the center of the Western Cape Winelands. Stellenbosch is the second oldest city in South Africa and about a 35-minute drive from Cape Town.


Johannesburg & Kruger National Park

Johannesburg is an important cultural, political, and historic center in South Africa. Possible visits in Johannesburg include Soweto, the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, and the Cradle of Humankind as well as visits to local hospitals. Under the direction of noted scholar David Bunn, a Northwestern University alumnus, students will visit Kruger National Park. Students will also visit rural clinics in the area.

Cape Peninsula Tour

This day-trip to Cape Point – the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula – includes visits to the quaint fishing villages of Hout Bay and Kalk Bay, the naval village of Simon’s Town with its interesting maritime history, stunning panoramic views of Chapman’s peak, and penguins at Boulder’s Beach.

Local Excursions

Local excursions include visits to townships and local attractions in and around Stellenbosch as well as important historical, social, and cultural sites in Cape Town, including Robben Island.

Program Resources

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make and travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Review identity-specific information about South Africa:

Program Cost

Study abroad program costs vary widely and may be more or less expensive than studying at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Winter 2020: $22,344

Billed by Northwestern
  • Tuition: $15,919
  • Housing: $2,675
  • GeoBlue: $150

Total: $18,744

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Airfare: $1,800
  • Meals: $1,000
  • Local transportation: $150
  • Books & supplies: $50
  • Personal expenses: $600

Total: $3,600

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern Programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions. Contact your study abroad adviser (listed above) if you have any questions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend a Northwestern study abroad program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. Northwestern students admitted to Northwestern programs are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Northwestern Invoice

Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee, which includes tuition, accommodations abroad, all related program activities, and international health insurance. Your program's billable costs and estimated budget are outlined above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans, these funds will continue to apply directly to your CAESAR account. If you were awarded a ULA scholarship, it will also disburse to your CAESAR account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately. The 9PAY plan is not available for summer programs.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact ULA for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may also contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from a Northwestern Program after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern Programs.

Life in Stellenbosch

Video by: Carolina Alvarez - South Africa 2020, McCormick 2020