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Please read carefully through the eligibility requirements below before you apply. Keep in mind that you need to apply for academic study at the University of Cape Town first as you will need the application code UCT supplies to be able to submit your application for the Scholars Program.

What is The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program about?

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is a 10-year global initiative to educate and develop the next generation leaders who will contribute to social and economic progress, particularly in Africa.

The Scholars Program enables young people from economically disadvantaged communities to complete quality secondary and tertiary education, and make successful transitions to further education or to the workforce in their home countries. With comprehensive support, Scholars are equipped with knowledge, skills and values needed for success in the economy and to make positive impacts in their communities.

Who can apply for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program?

The MasterCard Foundation specifically targets students from the lower economic quintiles in their countries. The Scholars Program is open to students from Sub-Saharan Africa and is open only to new applicants who have not yet commenced a degree programme. The Scholars Program is not open to African refugees living outside Africa due to the desire for Scholars to return and give back to their home communities. Students completing their Postgraduate diploma or doctoral study are not eligible for this Scholars Program. The Program is not intended for work permit holders due to the desire for Scholars to return and give back to their home communities

How do I apply for The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at UCT?

The deadline for submitting applications for the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at UCT for the 2015 academic year was 30 September 2014.

Applicants must have applied to and been accepted for a course of study at UCT before they apply for the Scholars Program. If you fulfil the eligibility requirements please follow the process below to apply:

  1. Review the study options and admissions requirements at UCT and decide which faculty and degree programme you wish to apply to.
  2. Obtain proof of English language proficiency (see How to Apply for further instructions).
  3. Write the National Benchmark Tests (for applicants from South Africa, or if you are an applicant from any country and intent to the Faculty of Health Sciences).
  4. Collate the necessary documentation to support your application, including evaluation of any previous university level qualification by the South African Qualifications Authority, additional portfolio requirements for degrees in Fine Art or Architecture, and matriculation exemption documentation.
  5. Apply online to UCT.
  6. Apply online for info_mcfsp@uct.ac.za for assistance.
  7. A selection panel will evaluate the applications during November and December 2014 and applicants will be informed of the outcome in mid-December 2014.
Studying at UCT

Students start classes in January of each consecutive year until about the second week in December. Each semester consists of two terms and each term ends in a mid-term break. English is the language of instruction. There are no restrictions placed on the course of study by the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at UCT. However, applicants must fulfil all the requirements to study at UCT, including any special requirements for a particular course of study such as early deadlines, additional documentation, and additional selection processes. Like any university, UCT receives many more applications for admission than it has space to offer places to study. The application process is highly competitive and applicants should ensure they provide all the correct information on time so their application has the best possible chance.

Living in South Africa

What vaccinations do I need when visiting South Africa?

Travellers should visit either their doctor or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure. Most of South Africa is malaria-free but if you plan to visit the Kruger National Park or low-lying parts of northern KwaZulu-Natal you should take precautions.

Are there suitable medical facilities?

South Africa has many world-class private hospitals and medical centres especially in the urban areas, while many state hospitals also offer excellent care. Among them is Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, where the first heart transplant was performed.

Is there electricity and clean water supply?

The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 Hz. With a few exceptions electricity is available almost everywhere. In urban areas tap water is usually of high quality and safe to drink. It is quite safe to have ice in drinks and to eat salads. However, when travelling to remote rural areas and the bush you should take your own drinking water or buy bottled water.

Is it safe to visit South Africa and Cape Town?

Personal vigilance is the key to remaining safe. Like any big city around the world, Cape Town has its share of crime. During the orientation programme you will be given safety advice, but it is also your responsibility to learn which actions and areas are safe and which may put you at risk.

What is Cape Town like?

Cape Town has a population of about 3,7 million people and is a city alive with creativity, sounds and tastes. Table Mountain, flanked by Devil's Peak and Signal Hill, stands proudly above the city. Beautiful white sandy beaches frame the Cape peninsula which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, bountiful streams, vleis and dams and magnificent countryside. The surrounding area extends far into the winelands, green in summer and red-gold in autumn.

This natural beauty combined with the bright lights and fast pace of the city are the benefits of studying at the tip of Africa. The 'mother city' as it is affectionately called offers a myriad of things to do and places to see. Live entertainment at the V&A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Gardens, the Baxter Theatre and various other entertainment arenas allows Scholars to experience the culture and ambience of Cape Town.

South Africa's past and recent history make Cape Town an interesting cultural and educational tourism city. A variety of organised tours are on offer for visitors to understand South Africa's past. Typically such a tour will bring to life the Bo-Kaap or Malay Quarter and its Museum, District Six, Langa, Gugulethu and Khayelitsha township areas. Scholars could visit Robben Island or enjoy the scenic Table Mountain cable car ride.

What about South Africa's climate?

South Africa is known for its long sunny days. Spring starts in September with summer weather lasting from November through to April or May. June to August can be very cold and wet in the Western Cape. Cape Town's weather can be unpredictable at times, but temperatures average between 15 – 36 degrees C during summer and between 2 – 18 degrees C during winter. Most of the 9 provinces have summer rainfall, except the Western Cape, which has winter rainfall and a Mediterranean climate.

What languages are spoken in South Africa?

Dubbed the 'rainbow nation', there are 11 official languages in South Africa: Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu. English is the language of instruction at UCT. Since the first post-apartheid elections in 1994, South Africa has had a democratic government. The Constitution is regarded as an example to the world and enshrines a wide range of human rights protected by an independent judiciary.

Where is the University of Cape Town?

UCT is located in the peaceful suburb of Rondebosch and is about ten minutes' drive from Cape Town's city centre. Rondebosch main road offers several fast food outlets, restaurants, supermarkets, banks and bookshops. Scholars can take a minibus taxi or bus, which are the most frequently used and economical means of public transport to just about any area. The UCT Jammie Shuttle service for students and staff also offers transport between campuses and on designated routes around the suburbs close to the university.

What costs are covered by the Scholars Program?

Comprehensive financial assistance includes:

  1. Visa application costs.
  2. Tavel costs to and from South Africa and including travel insurance.
  3. Full tuition and international student fees, including any application fees to UCT.
  4. Full accommodation and living expenses, including medical aid, books, stipends and transport.
  5. Residences provide accommodation for undergraduate men and women students who are usually under the age of 21. These residences provide students with up to three meals a day in a dining hall. In all instances awarded Scholars will be provided with the necessary financial means to afford food services.
  6. Research, development and academic travel costs as approved or recommended by UCT and The MasterCard Foundation (for postgraduate students only).
  7. Access to internship opportunities and ad hoc costs related to such participation.
  8. There are no application fees for applying to the Scholars Program at UCT.