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Stellenbosch University Exchange

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Stellenbosch, South Africa

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Vineyard mountain
Vineyard mountain

In this exchange program, students enroll directly at Stellenbosch University, one of the top research universities in South Africa. The program is open to students from all majors, and students have access to a wide range of course offerings in arts and social sciences, economic and management sciences, education, engineering, legal studies, and natural sciences.

The fall semester (SU’s second semester) takes place from mid-July to early December, and the spring semester (SU’s first semester) takes place from late January to June. At the beginning of each semester, the Postgraduate and International Office at SU hosts a compulsory orientation program that covers information about services provided by the university, the course enrollment process, and other campus resources.

Begin Application Process


Stellenbosch University is a comprehensive university, and exchange students have access to courses in a wide variety of disciplines. Students can choose to take “IPSU” (International Programmes Stellenbosch University) courses or “Mainstream” courses, or a combination of the two. IPSU courses are targeted to international students, are taught in English, and tend to focus on South Africa-specific content. Afrikaans and isiXhosa language courses are also available. For a list of IPSU course offerings, download the course booklet for your term. Mainstream courses are courses taken with full-time Stellenbosch University students in any of the ten faculties, which are taught in English, Afrikaans, or bilingual English/Afrikaans. For additional course information, refer to the SU website or to this instructional document on how to find courses.

Exchange students are expected to take 60 SU credits (6 NU credits), which is typically about five or six courses, per semester. Students must make their course selections when they complete the learning agreement in their SU application form. It is recommended that students list more courses than they need on their learning agreement. SU will liaise with relevant departments on students’ behalf and return your learning agreement with an indication of courses that have been pre-approved. Students will not be able to attend mainstream courses for which they did not receive pre-approval.

Program Requirements


Open to Northwestern students meeting Northwestern'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 for your program

    • For the interview, please be prepared to:
      • Discuss your specific motivations for study abroad and reasons for selecting this program.
      • Explain how the program and coursework aligns with your personal, academic, and/or professional interests.
      • Ask informed follow-up questions about program details that you have reviewed on the program website.
  3. Apply for your study abroad program
    All affiliated programs and all Northwestern exchange programs require an additional external program application. This application will not be accessible until you are nominated by Northwestern to participate in the exchange. Please check the program’s website for more details and deadlines.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

6 Northwestern units. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations. Refer to the Credit Conversion page for information on the “C” grade equivalent and minimum credit requirement for this exchange program.


Students have access to on-campus housing at Stellenbosch, as long as they apply by the application deadline. Students may have a single room or share a flat with other 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 costs of all meals.

Host Institution

Stellenbosch University is located in the beautiful Jonkershoek Valley in the center of the Western Cape Winelands. SU is one of the leading institutions of higher education in South Africa and consistently ranks among the top 20 in BRICS countries and the top 300 globally. With ten faculties, SU is a comprehensive university with an active residential and student life, including almost 4,000 international students. Stellenbosch is the second oldest city in South Africa and about a 35-minute drive from Cape Town.

Program Cost

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

Fall 2020: $28,939*

Review estimated costs for other terms on the program budget sheet.

*Budget sheets for exchange programs were last updated on September 14, 2020. All international travel associated with undergraduate credit-bearing study abroad programs slated to begin during the Fall 2020 quarter, including all Fall 2020, Fall/Winter 2020-21, and Full Year 2020-21 exchange programs, was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Billed by Northwestern
  • Program fee: $19,409

Students attending exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to Northwestern tuition, which covers academic fees, program administration, orientation, and GeoBlue health insurance.

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Room & board: $6,000
  • Airfare: $1,800
  • Visa fees: $230
  • Books & supplies: $300
  • Local transportation: $300
  • Personal expenses: $900

Total: $9,530

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern exchange 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.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend an exchange program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. You are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Program Fee

Students participating in exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to the NU tuition rate for:

  • 1 quarter for fall quarter or spring quarter exchange programs
  • 1.5 quarters for fall-winter or winter-spring exchange programs
  • 3 quarters for full-year exchange programs

The program fee includes tuition and GeoBlue health insurance. It does not include additional program-related costs, such as housing, meals, or airfare. Refer to your estimated budget sheet above for the full estimated breakdown of your expenses abroad.

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 GLO for assistance.

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

Northwestern Invoice

You should not pay your exchange institution directly for tuition. Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee (outlined above). You will not be billed for on-campus student fees, and exchange programs are exempt from the study abroad administrative fee.

It is your responsibility to pay directly for all other charges abroad, including your housing. Review estimated costs on your budget sheet, linked above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans from Northwestern, these funds will continue to apply directly to your Northwestern 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.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from an exchange program abroad after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern programs.

Program Website