South Africa is a worthwhile adventure through its exquisite natural scenery, colorful political history, and rich cultural diversity. Located on the southernmost tip of the African continent, this country delivers on providing a different point of view for international travelers and students alike.

The country is a champion of diversity, from its 11 officially recognized languages to being home to some big names in the African community. Its balance in remaining close to African history and tradition and openmindedness to modern technologies has produced an education that is unique and treasured. The country takes pride in one of the highest literacy rates of any population at 87%. Today, the country has 26 public universities and more private institutions such as the University of Cape Town which have reached top spots in university rankings worldwide.

Moreover, education in South Africa is more than just books. It is exploring the natural wonders of the safari outside the city, debating and reflecting on the ways of the post-apartheid community, and uncovering the traditional yet modern South African culture. Adventures go back to basics as they are spent scouring townships, strolling through National Parks, and watching the waves crash through the Cape of Good Hope.

With its high priority for education and affordable rates, South Africa is an ideal destination for any international student looking for a world-class educational adventure without breaking the bank. Check out what the country has in store through this article, where we will discuss how to study for a bachelor’s degree in South Africa.

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Application Requirements for Applying for Bachelors in South Africa

Some common requirements for applying for a bachelor’s in South Africa include the completed application form, a high school diploma copy or equivalent, official transcripts, standardized test scores, proof of funding through a bank certificate, guarantor’s letter or equivalent, and passport or birth certificate as proof of identity. Additional requirements may include a curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, and a letter of motivation. Arts courses may also require students to submit their portfolio or sample works as well.

Moreover, because international students do not undergo the National tests that locals do, they must apply for Matriculation exemption using their high school diploma as a basis. This is legally required by the South African government to ensure students are deemed ready for higher education. Approved school qualifications will grant these students a certificate of exemption from the Matriculations Board.

The student visa is an indispensable part of the requirements for international students. To apply, students must get in touch with the South African Embassy in their countries of residence. They will be asked to fill out a visa form BI-1738 and submit it with their passport, proof of payment for the visa application, official acceptance letter from the university, proof of funding, health insurance, and police clearance from the country of residence. Check that all forms are documented in English. What is unique to Africa is the requirement of a vaccination certificate. Students must ensure their shots are up to date before applying for a student visa.

Bachelor’s Degree Language Requirements for South Africa

The country’s 11 official languages might sound intimidating, but don’t worry – degree programs in South Africa are taught mostly in English. Some courses are taken in African dialects, but these can be managed on a case-to-case basis.

With this, proof of English proficiency is an important requirement to thrive in South African universities. Most universities accept world-renowned proficiency tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic.

In the university of Johannesburg, international students who are non-native English speakers must score a minimum overall score of 6 in the IELTS or have a score ranging between 80 to 104 in the TOEFL exam to qualify in bachelor’s programs. Meanwhile, international students applying for the University of Cape Town must garner a TOEFL iBT score of at least 88, with segment scores of 19 in Listening and Writing, 22 in Speaking, and 20 in Reading. Another option is through the IELTS, where scholars must obtain a minimum score of 6.5 or above, with no individual component scoring lower than 6. While less popular, the PTE Academic Test with an overall score of 67 is also accepted, so long as there is no score below 59 across all communicative skills components.

How to Apply for Bachelor’s Programs in South Africa

1. Applying for Courses

The South African educational system is largely decentralized, which means that each university must be applied for directly. For students who wish to study undergraduate studies in South Africa, applications can be done on each of the university’s websites, and additional requirements can be uploaded through the portal as well. Be prepared with the university requirements, as well as English proficiency test scores if asked. Upload all documents before the aforementioned deadlines.

2. Applying for Student Visa

With an acceptance letter in hand, the next step is to apply for a student visa. Students who wish to study for a bachelor’s degree in South Africa can visit the South African Embassy in their countries of residence to communicate their intent to study abroad in South Africa. They will then receive guidance on the necessary steps for visa approval. The visa application fee is approximately 107 USD.

The visa process can take as long as two months, so it would be best to start as soon as possible. The student visa also enables international students to take on part-time jobs in South Africa for up to 20 hours per week.

3. Applying for Matriculation Exemption

While program requirements vary, all international students looking to apply for an undergraduate degree in South Africa must ensure their high school degrees meet the standards of South Africa for Matriculation exemption. To apply for the certificate, the M30e form may be obtained from the universities or downloaded online. This form and other requirements must be sent back to the Matriculation Board for approval.

As applying for Matriculation exemption is a relatively standard process, turnaround time will only take days. Once cleared, exemption certificates will be sent out to students to finalize their enrollment.

For more information, check out the following top universities in South Africa and their application processes and requirements:


I hope this article on how to apply for a bachelor’s degree in South Africa was helpful. Make sure to also check out our Scholarships Page for different information on scholarships and universities across the globe!