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  • Locations: Cape Town, South Africa; Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Program Costs: Summer
  • Dates / Deadlines
Fact Sheet:
Advisor: Carol Lebold Who Can Apply?: All, Five-College
Fields of Study: Anthropology, Communication, Economics, History, Journalism, Labor Studies, Landscape Architecture, Legal Studies, Political Science, Public Policy and Administration, Resource Economics, Social Thought and Political Economy, Sociology, Sustainability Studies Host Institution: University of Cape Town
Language(s) of Instruction: English Summer Program Duration: 7 weeks
Program Description:
University of Cape TownProgram Overview/Academics

For thousands less than the cost of being on campus for a semester, the UMass College of Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS) and the International Programs Office are pleased to announce the 2019 University of Cape Town (UCT) and UMass Summer School in South Africa. This seven-week program will earn you a semester's worth of UMass credits (12-potentially 14) in disciplines such as Political Science, History, Communication, and Sociology. Courses will be taught by both UMass and UCT professors.

UCT is a comprehensive, public university offering a full range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs. It has six faculties (Commerce, Engineering and the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law and Science). UCT is internationally recognized as Africa's leading research university, a position confirmed by independent peer review. 

During the intersession between Summer Session 1 and Summer Session 2, students will also get a chance to travel throughout South Africa for 7 days, embarking on a week-long Garden Route tour (one of South Africa’s most popular destinations), on the Eastern Cape, in order to experience, compare and contrast South Africa's Eastern and Western Capes.

Pell Grant recipients can access Pell funds for the summer, and should plan on applying to the Gilman Scholarship for the Summer as well. 

For financial aid questions, please plan on visiting the IPO Advising Center (70 Butterfield Terrace) on Tuesdays from 12:30-4:30pm for Assistant Director of Financial Aid Sharon Ruth's drop in advising hours. 


Cape Town is known as the Mother City of Africa and the Western Cape, an area which is regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in the world. The city is a rare cultural gem, resulting from the amalgamation of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German settlers, the local Bushman and Hottentot tribes, and the Bantu tribes from the north. The impressive presence of Table Mountain, flanked by the legendary Devil's Peak and historical Signal Hill, stands proudly above the city. Beautiful white sandy beaches along a peaceful coastline frame the Cape Peninsula, which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, bountiful rivers, vleis and dams and magnificent countryside. The surrounding area extends far into the winelands, green in summer and red-gold in autumn. Cape Town is a city of culture, built on a history that reflects in the architecture, cuisine, music and dance. It enjoys a warm summer and temperate winter climate, and a friendly community.

The main teaching campus, known as the Upper Campus, is located on the slopes of Devil's Peak. This campus contains in a relatively compact site the faculties of Science, Engineering, Commerce, and most of the faculty of Humanities, as well as the residences Smuts Hall and Fuller Hall. Upper Campus is centered on Jameson Hall, the location for graduation and other ceremonial events, as well as many examinations. The original buildings and layout of Upper Campus were designed by JM Solomon and built between 1928 and 1930. Since that time, many more buildings have been added as the university has grown.

Contiguous with Upper Campus, but separated from it by university sports fields and the M3 freeway, are the Middle and Lower Campuses. These campuses, which are distributed through the suburbs of Rondebosch, Rosebank and Mowbray, contain the Law faculty, the South African College of Music, most of the student residences, most of the university administrative offices, and many sporting facilities. The Upper, Middle and Lower Campuses together are often referred to as the "main campus" or the "Rondebosch Campus".

Living Arrangements

UCT's well-equipped campuses and residences provide excellent living and learning environments in beautiful surroundings on the slopes of Devil's Peak and elsewhere on the Cape Peninsula. They provide ideal facilities for students. For Summer Session 1, students will stay at the ISA student residence hall called The Nest with self-catering (kitchen, etc) facilities in a bustling university neighborhood with easy access to the Jammie Shuttle to get onto campus, and for Summer Session 2, students will move to the All Africa House.


The program will be transcripted by UMass Amherst, and include opportunities to fulfill GenEd requirements, SBS major requirements and potentially enable you to graduate a semester early or replace a fall or spring semester with this summer program.

Choose 2 of 3 courses in Session 1 (final course offerings dependent on enrollment, to be announced the last week of February 2019)

Afropolitanism - Political Science 397 (required for all Session 1 students, will LIKELY fulfill a Gen Ed SBDG requirement)
Brief Description: An overview of historical and contemporary contexts in South Africa, offering a
timeline of significant events that have shaped South African politics and society. The course touches
on colonialism, apartheid, heritage and citizenship and raises questions about life in post-apartheid
South Africa.
Excursions: Visits to historical and heritage sites to experientially immerse students in the local

History of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic - SBS upper-division elective credit for certain majors
Moving from these broader perspectives and locations, the course comes to focus
on the HIV epidemic at its ‘epicentre’ in South Africa. South Africa has among the
largest total populations of people living with HIV, and the world’s largest
antiretroviral treatment programme. The course describes the emergence of HIV in
relation to reproductive health during the era of apartheid. Exploring the history of
HIV during the democratic transition, it studies the responses of post-apartheid
South Africa to the epidemic, including AIDS conspiracy theories and ‘AIDS
denialism’. It focuses on HIV activism, tracing the histories of the global HIV activist
movement through popular politics and social movements in the 20th century,
including radical gay politics in the United States, and anti-Apartheid activism in
South Africa.

Empowering Communities - Communication 397 (community engagement and service learning course), taught by UMass faculty Dr. Mari Castañeda and Dr. Joseph Krupcynski. Description TBD. 

And 2 of 3 courses in Session 2 (final course offerings dependent on enrollment, to be announced the last week of February 2019):

Elementary Statistics - Sociology 212 (R2 Gen Ed requirement), taught by Dr. David Cort, UMass faculty
This course provides students an introduction to the basic statistical techniques used by social scientists. It
will emphasize the interpretation of statistics as well as their calculation. These methods are important
because they can help us understand social life and social organization. As such, we well place special
emphasis on relationships between variables. For example, much of the discussion in this country about
issues of taxation center around who pays for society’s services and how much they pay. As such, these
issues are primarily concerned with the relationship between social class (i.e. working class, middle class,
upper class) and people’s attitudes toward government spending. Statistical methods are useful in
determining the relationship between these two variables.

Power - Political Science 273 (likely will fulfill a Gen Ed requirement), taught by Dr. Angélica Bernal, UMass faculty
Power is a central feature of political life and one of the primary concepts of political science.
But what is power? Despite being so central to our lives, power is a difficult concept to define.
Is it something that some (the powerful) have to use against others (the powerless)? Or not a
“thing” at all, but instead everywhere around us, shaping what we do, think, and how we relate
with others.
In this course, you will learn to think critically about power. To do so, we will look at the ways
that others have studied power. We will engage with the main approaches, controversies and
debates about what power is and is not, and see how these approaches help us to better
understand the real world effects of power. To ground our study of these theories, we will look
to political practice. We will look at how power plays out in various contexts: in the governance
of small cities like New Haven and larger ones like Baltimore; a mining town in Central
Appalachia; a peasant village in Malaysia; and within prisons and schools, to name a few.

African Media in a Digital Age - upper-division Communication elective
This course examines these recent changes and explores the role of old and new media in transforming
and communicating politics, development and social change on the African continent. Drawing on a
range of cases from different parts of Africa, the course introduces students to key concepts and
critical theoretical perspectives in political communication, global media studies, and development
communication. The first part of the course examines the history of African media, the governance
and regulation of media, the role of media in elections and nationalism, and the way in which new
media are transforming the practice of journalism. The second part of the course situates African
media within a global context and examines contesting media narratives of Africa, the impact of
changing geopolitical relations on media landscapes, the role of media in citizen participation and the
impact of mobile phones on social relations in everyday contexts.
Note: Open to UMass Amherst students across all disciplines, although SBS students will receive priority. 
NON UMASS students, except for 5 college consortium students (Smith, Amherst, Mt. Holyoke, and Hampshire) should apply through ISA here

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year UMass/IPO Application Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2019 02/22/2019 ** Varies 06/14/2019 08/03/2019

** Indicates rolling admissions.

If you are applying to a partner program, you must check their website for ACTUAL APPLICATION DEADLINES. The posted deadline above indicates when your UMass Abroad application materials are due and the program’s deadline may be sooner.