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Public Health & Development in South Africa

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Public Health and Development in South Africa, Spring 2017
Public Health and Development in South Africa, Spring 2017
Public Health and Development in South Africa, Spring 2017
Public Health and Development in South Africa, Spring 2017

The Public Health & Development in South Africa program introduces students to public health issues, development policies, and political reform in contemporary South Africa. Courses are taught in English by faculty at Stellenbosch University.

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.

POLI SCI 358-SA: Contemporary South Africa: A Political Economy/Policy Perspective

This course aims to help students to develop a framework for analyzing South African politics. The course will briefly deal with the apartheid past and the transition to democracy, and then cover party politics at present and the politics of race. Toward the end of the course, students will concentrate on three important policy issues - political economy, gender equality, and HIV/AIDS - before concluding by questioning whether South Africa can consolidate its democracy.

AF ST 360-SA: Culture, Language, and Identity in South Africa

This course is an introduction to South African culture, identity issues and languages and will foster an understanding of how the attitudes, ideas and values of individuals and groups in South Africa are represented in their history, art, literature, languages, religion, food, cultural practices and customs, and other creative activities. The course is intended to provide students with an understanding of South African people and culture in order for students to be able to contextualize their public health courses. It also includes an experiential component where students are involved in a variety of cultural activities through volunteering, field excursions, home-stays with South African families, and related activities to encourage interaction with different South African populations.

GBL HLTH 315-SA: Public Health in South Africa

This course introduces students to the health care system in South Africa. Students will learn about the burden of disease in the Western Cape, including: HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis; Malnutrition and Poverty; Sociocultural Rehabilitation; and Environmental and Occupational Health. The course consists of classroom instruction, readings, and presentations, as well as exposure to guest speakers and visits who can speak to these themes. Students will also take a field trip to the Garden Route (Southern Cape) where they will learn from an expert on indigenous medicine and who will introduce them to the African worldview on health. Also, in Hamakuya, north of the Kruger National Park, students will learn about access to health and community health, as well as contribute to research on water utilization.

GBL HLTH 316-SA: Development Perspectives on Health in South Africa through Community Engagement

The course takes on a sociological and social anthropological approach to understand tensions between economic and health policy and the ways in which they have influenced society and the state in the post-apartheid era.

Program Requirements


Open to Northwestern and non-Northwestern students meeting Northwestern's minimum application requirements.


No language requirement is needed.


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.

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. 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


Kruger National Park & Hamakuya

Under the direction of noted scholar David Bunn, a Northwestern University alumnus, students will visit Kruger National Park and Hamakuya, a rural local village. Students will participate in activities rarely open to other visitors, including game viewing drives, night walks in the veld, and a homestay in Hamakuya, all the while learning about the culture, history, research, and challenges of the places visited.


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.

Garden Route

The Garden Route trip will take students along the southeastern coast of South Africa to see its diverse beaches and ecosystems. Some stops may include Mossel Bay, the towns of Knysna and Oudtshoorn, and Tsitsikamma National Park.

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.

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.

Spring 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: Lauren Clem - South Africa 2018, Weinberg 2018

Video by: Kathleen Clark - South Africa 2017, Weinberg 2018