Stellenbosch University Summer Schools
Welcome to Stellenbosch University



​June/July Programme​

Stellenbosch University currently offers 4 programmes during June & July. The academic programme consists of lectures, group discussions and field trips, and is taught by Stellenbosch University faculty and other South African experts.​

Our academic approach at the Summer School

General Elective Programme: 

Students following the General programme have the option to enrol for 1 – 3 courses during their period of study in Stellenbosch. The courses cover a variety of fields of study, which includes: Philosophy, Engineering, Botany, Political Science, Economics, Literature, Art and Media, History, HIV/AIDS, International Relations & Chinese Studies. Students can choose one course from each of the Elective groups.​

Individual Courses (Provisional Course Outlines):

Course 1: Introduction to South Africa's Political History

 Field of Study: Political Science and History

  • This course serves as an introduction to South Africa's political history, aimed at familiarising students with the historical context that shaped, and continues to shape, the country and its people.  Understanding the interplay between the country's political, social and economic issues and how the colonial and apartheid past impacts on the present allows us to better comprehend the challenges currently facing South African society.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 2: Bio-Diversity: Plants for the People in the Western Cape

Field of Study: Botany

  • The extraordinary botanical diversity of the Cape Flora and the ecological processes that helped shape it are explored. Once a basic understanding is gained through lectures and two field excursion, the course adopts a more applied focus. We explore the horticultural potential of local plants in the international cut flower industry, and visit local flower farms. Finally we explore traditional plant use by local people, especially traditional healers, through lectures and visits to healers and/or traditional medicinal markets.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 3: Visual Narratives and South-North Interactions

Field of Study: Art and Media

  • In this course, we will track major developments and changes in South African art, media and especially film during the Apartheid era (1948-1994) and after (1994-present). The point of this broad historical perspective is not so much to provide a condensed history of South African media, as it is to explore the relationship between South Africa's turbulent socio-political landscape and its visual culture. In particular, we aim to explore the notion of collective identities as they manifested and still manifest in visual culture. We are interested in how South African visualities and indentities borrow from and influence those from the Global North. We compare art, magazines and films from Africa with those from dominant, western cultures in an effort to understand the political power of visual, cultural and textual entanglement.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 4: Introduction to Muslim History, Society and Culture in Cape Town (Course Framework tbc)

Field of Study: Sociology and Religious Studies

  • The course provides an introduction and overview of Muslim history, society and culture in the greater Cape Town region of South Africa. It offers critical insights into the inner workings of the Muslim society with reference to its founding community dynamics; rites of passage, religious rituals and cultural practices; and the socio-political, economic and educational dimensions of their lives at the southern-most tip Africa.

Course 5: Equity & Leadership in the Global Classroom

Field of study: Political Science

  • This interactive experiential learning module will equip participants to critically reflect and evaluate their contextual worldview around contemporary global social justice issues. We will journey to deepen our understanding of how to achieve equality in an unequal society by exploring modern racism, privilege, discrimination, oppression and structural injustice.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 6: Travel Photography

  • The aim of the course is to teach students about photography with a focus on travel photography theory. Students will gain knowledge of their own cameras, improve their photography skills and gain practical experience in the areas of landscape and portrait photography as well as wildlife photography
  • Elective 3 (29 July – 7 August 2021):

Course 7: Transitional Justice

Field of Study: Political Science

  • Among the pressing challenges facing societies emerging out of war or authoritarianism is how to respond to human rights violations perpetrated in the mayhem of conflict. South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission represents one model that has been both celebrated and heavily critiqued. Offered by a practitioner who has worked with the UN in the African Great Lakes region, Nepal, and north Africa, this course sets the commission in historic and comparative context, critically highlighting questions about truth recovery, justice, reparations, and enabling non-recurrence.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 8: Present Imperfect: Negotiating Identities in Film and Literature

Field of Study: Film and Literature Studies

  • This course explores the ways in which South African film and literature register and reflect socio-political conflicts and tensions. Students will engage with classic and contemporary South African poems and short stories, as well as a novel and three films, in order to explore how these fields of cultural production serve as a means of questioning and negotiating identity in South Africa.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 9: Understanding HIV in South Africa: A Health & Social Justice Perspective

Field of Study: HIV/AIDS Management

  • This interactive course aims to develop a global understanding of HIV and AIDS, gender and sexuality through a health and social justice perspective. We will have a specific focus on the South African experience,  evaluating how far have we have come regarding HIV and Aids, gender, sexuality and health social justice in post-apartheid South Africa.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 10: China in Africa

Field of Study: International Relations and Chinese Studies

  • This course offers a comprehensive introduction to China's engagement on the African continent. The course includes an overview of Chinese investments on the continent, including infrastructure, extractive industries and trade relationships; it also examines China-Africa relations within the context of global groupings such as BRICS and FOCAC, the role of historical and political relations and the growing role of Chinese security within Africa. The course familiarizes students with the controversy surrounding the relationship, including issues of labour and environmental degradation as well as mechanisms which African countries draw on to command more co-operative interaction.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

Course 11: Biomedical Engineering – Designing solutions for African health (Course framework tbc)

Field of Study: Engineering

  • Biomedical engineering involves applying the concepts, knowledge and approaches of virtually all engineering disciplines to solve or improve healthcare related problems. The challenges created by the diversity and complexity of living systems and the unique context of South Africa, require creative, knowledgeable, and imaginative people working in multidisciplinary teams to monitor, restore and enhance normal body function. In this course students will be exposed to healthcare challenges faced in South Africa and will work together in teams to help address these issues using novel engineering approaches.
  • Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits​

Date of Programme: 17 June – 15 July 2022 (All 3 Electives)  (Or only attend selected Elective)

Academic Weight: 2 US Credits / 4 ECTS Credits (Per Elective)

(Students who choose to do the full 3.5 week Programme with all 3 Electives will receive 6 US Credits/ 12 ECTS Credits.)

Top up Credits: All Electives have an optional 1 US Credit/2 ECTS Credits Top Up option.

(This means that each Elective becomes 3 US/ 6 ECTS Credits)

Language: English


  • Minimum GPA Requirement of 2.8​
Can be Topped up with 1 US/2 ECTS Credits

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