General Information for all International Students
Why choose Rhodes?
Rhodes University is a South African liberal arts university which is vibrant, internationally renowned and academically prestigious. If you are interested in studying in Africa, about Africa or even just in a unique University setup, we recommend that you come to Rhodes. Rhodes offers students a rare learning experience. Thanks to its relatively small size, students at Rhodes are guaranteed a high quality of education with easy access to their lecturers and tutors. Rhodes University also boasts some of the top academics in their fields. This gives students at Rhodes the opportunity to study in a setting that is unparalleled throughout the world.
Because of its small community and academic excellence, Rhodes University is an ideal host university for international students looking to study in South Africa. Rhodes scores highly on three important indicators of quality: student/staff ratio, research output per capita, and percentage of international students (20%). At Rhodes, you will easily make friends with both South Africans and students from all over the world. You will also get the chance to visit the stunning surrounding countryside in the Eastern Cape (which features beautiful mountain ranges, big game, other-worldly landscapes and the beach!)
The International Office facilitates your entire exchange programme, ensuring that your stay at Rhodes University is comfortable and fulfilling.
For more information about what makes Rhodes so special, please see: Why Choose Rhodes.
Rhodes University is a liberal arts university. This means that we offer a well rounded selection of humanities, commerce and sciences to suit the career path of our students. As a liberal arts university, the emphasis is more on comprehensive understanding than it is on attaining a particular career. At Rhodes, you will be able to choose from a wide range of subjects to contribute towards your chosen career path. Rhodes University boasts prestigious academic departments, some of which offer material and knowledge unique to our corner of the world.
To see what courses are on offer at Rhodes, please visit the websites of each department. (Please note that not all courses are available to exchange/study abroad students.)
Who Are You?
Internations students applying to Complete a Degree at Rhodes University and international students applying to do an Exchange Programme at Rhodes follow different processes. If you want to find out more about either one of these in particular, please click on the relevant tab below. The rest of this page is devoted to application requirements that apply to ALL INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS. Please take the time to read through this page as it will help you in registering at Rhodes University.
Closing Dates for Applications
- Degree-seeking students (full year)
If you are an undergraduate, the closing date for applications is 30 September.
If you are a postgraduate: You can apply anytime.
- Exchange/Study Abroad students
First semester (February to June): 15 October
Second Semester (July to December): 15 March
Rhodes University Academic Year
South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere and Rhodes University's academic year is scheduled so that the longest vacation, and year beginning and end, coincide with the December/January summer season.
Term Dates 2013
Monday 11 February – Friday 22 March
(6 teaching weeks)
Monday 8 April – Friday 21 June
(7 teaching weeks)
Monday 22 July – Friday 30 August
(6 teaching weeks)
Monday 9 September – Friday 13 December
(7 teaching weeks)
Lectures for undergraduates end: Friday 24 May - Friday 25 October
Swot Weeks: Monday 27 May – Friday 31 May
Monday 28 October – Friday 1 November
Examinations: Saturday 1 June – Friday 21 June
Saturday 2 November – Friday 29 November
If you would like to know more about the Rhodes University yearly calendar, or would like to find the dates for 2014, please see the Rhodes University Calendar, Diary and Dates.
In order to apply either to complete a degree at Rhodes as an International Student or to complete an Exchange Programme, you will need the following:
All international students are required to have South African medical cover for the duration of their study at Rhodes University, and as this is a requirement for study visa purposes, proof of cover will have to be provided when applying for your visa BEFORE your arrival in South Africa.
If you are planning to study in South Africa as an international student in ANY capacity, we recommend that you read this page: Medical Aid for International Students
A Valid Study Permit/Visa
All international students (those who are not South African citizens or who do not have permanent residence in South Africa) are required to have a valid study permit prior to being permitted to register at Rhodes University. You can apply for a study permit at your nearest South African Consulate, Embassy or High Commission.
For detailed information on how to get a Study Permit, please visit our website at: Study Permit Information
The language of instruction at Rhodes is English. English is the lingua franca of South Africa, despite it only being the mothertongue of under 8% of the population. All students at Rhodes University are expected to be able to express themselves proficiently in both writing and speaking English.
Applicants coming from countries where English is not the medium of communication in the business (or medium of instruction in schools) and whose primary language is not English are required to submit the following:
A recent overall band score of 7.0 (with no individual element of the test scoring
below 6.0) on the International English Language Test System (IELTS).
Matriculation Exemption (Not required for International Students on Exchange)
The South African qualification for having completed 12 years of school is called a Matriculation Exemption. A Matriculation Exemption is necessary to register at a South African university. International applicants may qualify for exemption through AEB or Cambridge examinations if they have two “A” level passes (A, B or C) or equivalent. (Unfortunately, it is not sufficient to pass in “O” levels alone.)
After registering, application for exemption will be made through the University. The University accepts no responsibility for deciding whether a student qualifies for matriculation exemption or not. It should be noted that obtaining an exemption certificate from the Matriculation Board does not mean that selection is assured.
If you would like more information about how to obtain an exemption as an international student, please visit this website. If you have any queries regarding Matriculation Exemption, please contact the Rhodes Student Burea.
Once you have been accepted at Rhodes University, you will need to register.
If you are an undergraduate:
- First year students register on a week before the start of term 8:00am - 4:30pm. Please download the Orientation Information 2012 Semester 1 Booklet
- Returning students can register from the second week of January. Please go to the Student Bureau in Eden Grove.
If you are a postgraduate:
You can register from the second week of January. Please go to the Student Bureau in Eden Grove.
If you plan to arrive late (after the academic year has commenced), you need to request permission from the Registrar (email@example.com). Please note that you may incur a penalty fee.
Please make sure that you bring the following to Registration:
- Valid Passport
- Valid Visa/Study Permit
- Proof of South African Medical Aid
- Your full fee has been settled
- You have decided on what courses you would like to take or what degree you would like to do
Getting to Rhodes
Rhodes University is situated in Grahamstown, which is about 130km from Port Elizabeth - the nearest airport. Before you arrive in South Africa, you will need to book transport from the airport to Rhodes University. The International Office recommends you make use of either Rhode Trip (firstname.lastname@example.org) or J.C. Shuttle (email@example.com). For more information on getting to Rhodes, campus life and Grahamstown in general:
Please read Getting to Rhodes for directions and transport options.
For information about life at Rhodes, please browse through the Student Handbook, or take a look at the general student information that is available to all Rhodes students on StudentZone.
For information on Grahamstown, please see Grahamstown Information.
SRC International Affairs Councillor
Your 2012 SRC International Affairs Councillor is Ms Vanessa Siwawa-Ndai.
Students can contact Vanessa and the rest of the SRC should they have any issues regarding student life.
Vanessa's Cell: 078 578 9500
Please visit the SRC website.
Unfortunately, we do NOT have a budget to offer financial aid to international students. Please see our Financial Assistance Policy.
Should you have further questions, please consult our Frequently Asked Questions page.