Scholarships in South Africa and how to get them

November 20, 2017

South Africa is a desirable destination for many international students that want to study abroad, especially the ones from Africa. For that reason, we have prepared some international scholarships that will allow you to study in South Africa. In addition to that, we will tell you how you can increase your chances of getting one of these scholarships. Check it out!

How to get scholarship to study in South Africa

Scholarships in South Africa for international students

We want to start off our list with one of the best scholarships for studying in South Africa — MasterCard Foundation Scholarship. If you are younger than 29 (undergraduate studies) or 35 (graduate studies) and have a good leadership potential, consider this scholarship.

MasterCard Foundation collaborates with three South African universities (University of Cape Town; University of Pretoria; African Institute for Mathematical Sciences). If you are interested in studying at one of them, you can find their requirements for this scholarship on their websites. Read more about this scholarship here:

Another great opportunity is the MTN Solution Space Scholarship. However, it will only work for those who want to apply to the University of Cape Town for their MPhil or MBA programmes at the Graduate School of Business. You can find more information here:

male student

If the University of Cape Town is where you want to get your Master’s degree, you can also consider the Bertha Scholarship. It is the best scholarship for social innovators, especially in the spheres of inclusive healthcare, education and finance. Find the full list of requirements here:

You should also check out the Mandela Rhodes Scholarship. It offers citizens of African countries an incredible opportunity of studying at a South African university of their choice. This programme is open for both First Degree Applicants and Masters Applicants. More information can be found here:

If you are fine with the scholarship covering only the tuition and other academic expenses, then consider the Commonwealth International Scholarship. It offers scholarships for citizens of Commonwealth countries that want to get their Master’s Degree from a South African university. You can find the full list of participating universities, as well as the scholarship requirements at this link:

female student

For those seeking a Masters or a PhD in Development Management, Public Administration or Development Studies, there is the scholarship from the South African-German Centre for Development Research. It provides the participants with a monthly stipend of 650 euros for Masters students and 900 euros for PhD students of the University of the Western Cape. Read more at

These are some of the best scholarship options for international students that wish to study in South Africa. Most of them are made for African citizens, so if you are African, you will be often given an advantage before other applicants. Nevertheless, you should still check out our useful tips on how to acquire a scholarship.

Tips on how to get scholarships to study in South Africa


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As you have managed to read to the end of this article, you deserve to know some of the secrets of successful scholarship applications. Here are seven tips that will allow you to maximise your chances of getting a scholarship:

  • Apply as early as you can. As soon as the application portals open, start your application right away. Many people who were successful in getting a scholarship said that applying early was important for their success.
  • Apply for as many scholarships as you can. You should not rely only on one scholarship if you really want you education to be paid for. You need to have several backup plans in case you get rejected. Apply for every scholarship that is relevant for you and do your best.
boy with a book
  • Visit university websites for the latest information. If you have a particular university in mind (or several of them), you should check out its website. There, you can find all the necessary information concerning courses, fees, funding and scholarships.
  • Do not forget about additional websites. What we have listed here might not be a comprehensive list of scholarships in South Africa. If you really want to get a scholarship, you should also try other websites that specialise in providing information about scholarships. They are also a great tool for finding scholarships that are tailored just for you.
  • Do not stray away from the topic of your essay. As most (if not all) scholarships require you to write essays, you need to remember that paying attention to the topic is essential. Take your time, analyse the topic and key words carefully and try not to write about anything even remotely off-topic.
girl with laptop
  • Have someone else check your application before submitting it. No matter how hard you look, you might miss some obvious mistakes in your application. For that reason, ask someone to read through it. Apart from correcting your mistakes, they might also point out what is missing and give their expert opinion.
  • Improve your time management skills. When you are juggling several scholarships at once, it might be hard to keep track of all the requirements. Make sure you have plenty of time before each deadline and build a pan that will allow you to do everything on time.

If you follow these simple recommendations, you should be able to get any of the scholarships we have talked about. We wish you the best of luck and hope that you get into the university of your dreams!

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