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Why study at a medical college in South Africa?

South Africa offers some of the best medical degrees in the African continent, with a high quality of hands-on training. Although international students are largely restricted to students from neighbouring countries, South Africa is a popular destination for international students looking for an elective abroad.
You should be aware that there are many differences in study modes and quality between South African medical colleges. 

What medical programs are offered in South Africa?

Each medical school in South Africa follows a slightly different format, so check with your chosen school. However, you should expect to start with two years of theoretical training in the medical sciences, looking at introductory pathology and pharmacology, as well as general sciences.

As you progress, you’ll begin practicals and dissections before moving into clinical rotations in the third year. These will likely include obstetrics, paediatrics and surgery. You’ll continue this pattern through the fourth and fifth year, before moving into a practical rotation in the final year.

Immigration and visas in South Africa

Visa entry requirements for South Africa vary from country to country, with most countries requiring you to get a study permit if your course lasts longer than three month. You will not be able to register with a South African medical college without a study permit.

In order to apply for a study permit, you will need:
  • Confirmed letter from an approved university
  • Details of a person who will act as your guardian
  • Proof of finances to cover the duration of your studies
  • Health insurance

What are the costs of studying at a medical college in South Africa?

International students will often pay significantly higher tuition fees at medical colleges than home students. The cost of your study will depend on the institution and type of program you choose to study, but as a guide, you should expect to pay around ZAR52,000 (£2,850) per year of study.

Working in South Africa

South Africa has a developing economy, which is still struggling to get to the levels it wants. South Africa has high unemployment and a high rate of poverty, but it is improving. Agriculture forms a large part of the country’s employment and exports, particularly with other African countries and partners such as the US, China, Japan and the United Kingdom.

However, for students on a medical program or elective, it is the chance to work in a different medical environment to what they’re used to that is the draw.

What to do next

If you would like more information on choosing and applying for to a medical college in South Africa, sign up to our Free Application Service. We’ll get in touch with you with information tailored to your requirements, including advice on the best medical program for you.