Cape Town Overview


The academic objective of the Cape Town program is to introduce students to South Africa’s civil society, processes of governance and important theories of social justice, as well as the history and politics of post-apartheid South Africa. South Africa’s rich democratic processes do not have one entry point. Students can therefore engage with the program, and the City, in different ways. As a student in the program you can focus on developing your own conceptual understanding of the city through numerous courses or you can choose to apply for an internship with a Cape Town based organization. All possibilities hope to illuminate the many different ways South Africans practice active citizenship.


Students studying in Cape Town can arrange a directed reading guided by a Cape Town program lecturer or campus-based Stanford faculty member.

  • In either case, students interested in pursuing directed reading should consult with the program director as early as possible. Those interested in pursuing a directed reading with a campus-based Stanford faculty member should work closely with their academic advisor.
  • A Directed Reading Proposal (PDF) for Stanford faculty must be submitted to the Overseas Studies office at least one month prior to the quarter of intended study.
  • A directed reading may be taken only in addition to twelve units of regular coursework offered directly by the center.


The Cape Town Program offers courses that provide credit toward Stanford graduation and most classes also count toward an undergraduate major. Students must enrol in a minimum of twelve units from the courses offered through the program (directed readings are not included). For a list of all BOSP courses offered in the current academic year and planned for the next, and for information on which courses earn departmental credit or fulfil General Education Requirements, please refer to the BOSP course database. For information on courses scheduled for the current academic year and for enrollment, please refer to Axess.