South African academic life is very similar to the European tradition. Courses are a mixture of lectures and seminars with individual laboratory time and library work. Students specialise early and study one or two disciplines for three or four years. In most subjects, assessment relies on continuous evaluation with assignments, orals, presentations, one mid-semester test and a concluding examination. Honours programmes are generally a combination of taught modules (with seminars and laboratory time) and a research thesis component. Masters programmes are either a combination of taught modules (with seminars and laboratory time) and a substantial research thesis component or programmes based on research only.
The academic year
consists of two semesters; the first runs from February to June and the second from July to November. Doctoral programmes have a minimum registration period of two years before the degree may be conferred. Students however typically study for around three years and are expected to work independently under the guidance of a supervisor. Doctoral candidates in all faculties must submit a substantial dissertation and will generally be required to complete an oral examination.
Under certain circumstances, you may transfer your credits earned at a foreign university to Stellenbosch University, but as a general rule it should be borne in mind that at least 50% of your credits must be earned at this institution in order to obtain your degree from Stellenbosch University.