Applying to Stellenbosch University: Your Complete Step-by-Step Guide

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Stellenbosch University (SU) is not just a cornerstone of South Africa's higher education landscape; it is deeply ingrained in the cultural and historical fabric of the nation. Situated in the picturesque town of Stellenbosch, nestled in the Western Cape province, SU's journey traces back to its humble beginnings in the 19th century. The roots of SU can be found in the establishment of the Stellenbosch Gymnasium in 1866, a pivotal institution in the region dedicated to providing education in both traditional academic subjects and the arts. This institution laid the groundwork for what would later become Stellenbosch University.

In 1887, the institution underwent a significant transformation, evolving into the Victoria College. This marked a crucial moment in its history as it expanded its academic offerings and solidified its reputation as a centre for higher learning in South Africa. Under the banner of Victoria College, the institution continued to grow, attracting students and scholars from across the country and beyond. However, it was not until 1918 that Stellenbosch University was officially founded. This milestone was a testament to the institution's growth and development over the decades, culminating in its recognition as a fully-fledged university. With this transition, SU cemented its place as a leading institution of higher education, committed to academic excellence, research, and community engagement.

The journey from Stellenbosch Gymnasium to Stellenbosch University is a testament to the institution's resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to education. Today, SU stands as a beacon of learning, innovation, and intellectual inquiry, continuing to shape the minds of future generations and contribute to the advancement of knowledge and society.


Stellenbosch University has had a series of distinguished chancellors who have played significant roles in the institution's development:

1. Johannes Izak Marais (1918–1919)

2. Balthazar Johannes Vorster (1968-1983)

3. Dr. Johann Rupert (2009–2019)

4. Justice Edwin Cameron (2019–present)

Awards and Achievements

Stellenbosch University has garnered numerous accolades and achievements:

- Academic Excellence: SU consistently ranks among the top universities in Africa and the world for its research output, innovation, and academic performance.

- Research Initiatives: The university is renowned for its contributions to various fields such as health sciences, engineering, and social sciences.

- Innovations: SU is known for its significant contributions to technology and sustainability, with various patents and innovations to its name.


Stellenbosch University is highly regarded in both national and international rankings:

- QS World University Rankings: Stellenbosch University is frequently listed among the top 400 universities globally.

- Times Higher Education (THE) Rankings: SU is often ranked in the top 300 worldwide, with particular strengths in engineering, life sciences, and social sciences.

- Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU): Known for its strong research output and academic reputation.

Open Days

Stellenbosch University hosts annual open days to provide prospective students with insights into university life, academic programs, and campus facilities. Typically scheduled for the end of April these events typically include campus tours, information sessions, and interactions with faculty members and current students. Open days are crucial for applicants to gain a deeper understanding of the programs and services offered.

Why Choose Stellenbosch

There are several reasons why choosing Stellenbosch University (SU) could be a great decision:

1. Academic Excellence: SU is known for its high-quality education and academic standards. It ranks among the top universities both nationally and internationally, offering rigorous and reputable programs across various fields.

2. Diverse Range of Programmes: Whether you're interested in humanities, sciences, engineering, business, or health sciences, SU offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs to suit different interests and career goals.

3. Research Opportunities: SU is a hub for research and innovation. Students have the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research projects and work alongside renowned professors and experts in their fields.

4. Community Engagement: The university is committed to making a positive impact on society through community outreach programs, social initiatives, and partnerships with local organizations.

5. Beautiful Campus: Situated in the picturesque town of Stellenbosch, SU boasts a stunning campus with modern facilities, green spaces, and a vibrant student life.

6. International Recognition: SU's reputation extends globally, providing students with opportunities for international collaboration, exchange programs, and exposure to diverse cultures.

7. Supportive Environment: The university offers various support services to help students succeed, including academic tutoring, career guidance, counselling, and financial aid.

8. Networking Opportunities: SU provides ample opportunities for students to network with industry professionals, alumni, and fellow students, fostering connections that can be valuable for future career prospects.

Overall, Stellenbosch University offers a compelling combination of academic excellence, research opportunities, community engagement, and a supportive environment, making it an attractive choice for higher education.

Faculties and Departments

Stellenbosch University is organized into ten faculties, each housing numerous departments:

1. Faculty of AgriSciences

   - Agronomy, Animal Sciences, Food Science, Viticulture and Oenology

2. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

   - Drama, History, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology

3. Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

   - Business Management, Economics, Logistics, Public Leadership

4. Faculty of Education

   - Curriculum Studies, Educational Psychology, Sport Science

5. Faculty of Engineering

   - Civil, Electrical and Electronic, Mechanical and Mechatronic

6. Faculty of Law

   - Mercantile Law, Public Law, Private Law

7. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

   - Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Physiotherapy

8. Faculty of Military Science

   - Human and Organisational Development, Security and Africa Studies

9. Faculty of Science

   - Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Physics, Zoology

10. Faculty of Theology

    - Old and New Testament Studies, Practical Theology, Systematic Theology

Courses Offered

SU offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses across its ten faculties. Programs include Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, and Doctoral degrees in diverse fields such as:

- Humanities: BA in Social Dynamics, BA in Language and Culture

- Sciences: BSc in Computer Science, BSc in Molecular Biology

- Engineering: BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering

- Business: BCom in Management Sciences, MBA

- Health Sciences: MBChB, BSc in Physiotherapy

When to Apply

Applications should be submitted online, taking careful note of the specified closing dates. Applicants must ensure that their applications are submitted before the designated deadline. It is essential to provide a valid email address and phone number during the application process to facilitate communication. Upon creating a profile, applicants can proceed by following the prompts provided by the system. It is crucial to adhere to the closing dates for various application categories. For undergraduate applications and residence applications, the opening date is 4 April, with the closing date set for 31 July. Financial assistance applications at SU are open from 15 June to 30 November. NSFAS bursary applications have a distinct timeline set by NSFAS, running from 1 September to 30 November. For Diploma in Public Accountability applications (Telematic education), the application period spans from 4 April to 15 December.

Documents Required

When applying to Stellenbosch University, applicants need to submit:

- Certified copy of the applicant's ID or passport

- Academic transcripts and certificates

- Proof of application fee payment

- A completed application form

- English language proficiency test results (if applicable)

- Curriculum Vitae (for postgraduate applications)

- Motivation letter or personal statement (for certain programs)

Application Fee

- South African Applicants: The application fee is R 100.

- International Applicants: The fee is R 400.

-Stellenbosch Business School applicants; MBA programmes –R1050, all other programmes-R850

Applying to Stellenbosch University (SU) involves several steps

1. Review Requirements: Before applying, carefully review the admission requirements for the programme you are interested in. These requirements may vary depending on the level of study (e.g., undergraduate or postgraduate) and the specific program. Click here to apply.

2. Create an Online Profile: Visit the SU website and create an online profile on the university's application portal. You'll need to provide basic personal information such as your name, contact details, and educational background.

3. Select Program: Choose the program(s) you wish to apply for and ensure you meet the minimum eligibility criteria.

4. Gather Documents: Prepare the necessary documents for your application, which may include academic transcripts, certificates, identification documents, English language proficiency test results (if applicable), recommendation letters, and a motivation letter or personal statement.

5. Submit Application: Complete the online application form, providing accurate information and uploading all required documents. Make sure to double-check the information before submitting your application.

6. Pay Application Fee: Pay the application fee, which is required for processing your application. The fee amount may vary depending on your nationality and the program you're applying for.

7. Monitor Application Status: After submitting your application, you can monitor its status through the online application portal. Keep an eye out for any updates or requests for additional information.

8. Receive Admission Decision: Once the admissions committee reviews your application, you'll receive an admission decision via email or through the online application portal. This decision will indicate whether you've been accepted, placed on a waiting list, or declined admission.

9. Accept Offer: If you receive an offer of admission, carefully review the terms and conditions, including any deadlines for accepting the offer and paying any required deposits.

10. Complete Registration After accepting the offer, follow the instructions provided by the university to complete the registration process, which may include submitting additional documents, paying tuition fees, and attending orientation sessions.

It's essential to adhere to all deadlines and requirements throughout the application process to ensure a smooth and successful application to Stellenbosch University. If you have any questions or need assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to the university's admissions office for support.

Minimum Admission Requirements

The admission and selection criteria must be met before applying to Stellenbosch University. Prospective applicants should ensure they fulfill the basic academic requirements for a bachelor’s degree and meet the specific requirements and selection criteria for their chosen program(s). However, meeting these criteria does not guarantee admission, as the university receives numerous applications each year, and available space is limited.

For a bachelor’s degree, applicants must have:

- At least 30% in a South African Language of Learning and Teaching (English or Afrikaans).

- An achievement rating of 4 (50% - 59%) in four 20-credit subjects.

To calculate the National Senior Certificate average, applicants should add the highest score in the Language of Learning and Teaching (English or Afrikaans) to five times the best results in 20-credit subjects (excluding Life Orientation, Advanced Mathematics, Mathematics 3, and any other non-NSC subjects), and then divide the total by 6.

For international qualifications, appropriate calculations and conversions will be applied according to the guidelines for the specific examination.

Requirements for Each Course 

- Undergraduate Programs: Minimum admission requirements include the National Senior Certificate (NSC) with specific subject requirements and performance levels that vary by program.

- Postgraduate Programs: Requirements include a relevant Bachelor’s degree with specific prerequisites depending on the chosen field of study.

Housing and Transportation

Stellenbosch University offers a range of on-campus and off-campus housing options:

- Residences: SU provides accommodation in university residences with various amenities.

- Private Accommodation: Off-campus options include private apartments and houses.

- Transportation: The university offers shuttle services for students. The town is also well-serviced by public transport and is bicycle-friendly.

Contact Details

- General Enquiries

  - Tel: +27 21 808 9111

  - Email:

  - Website: Stellenbosch University Website

Stellenbosch University is really good at academics and new ideas, not just in South Africa but all over the world. It has been around for a long time and offers lots of different courses. The university also does a lot of research and works with the community. It's a great place for students from anywhere because it has lots to offer, whether you want to study for your first degree or continue with more advanced studies. SU has a friendly campus and lots of support, making it a top pick for higher education.


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