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What kind of postgraduate funding is available in South Africa for 2019?

I expect to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in entomology at Copperbelt University in 2019 and would like to earn a Masters at a different university if possible. For the U.S., U.K., and Australia the cost of postgraduate funding is probably prohibitive. I am really looking for bursaries as I am already concerned about loans for Uni funding. South Africa seems to offer many postgraduate bursaries. Are they all for South African citizens only? Can you recommend any student finance postgraduate contact who might help?

Deborah Edwards

in Student Loans

1 answer

1 answer

Jennifer Patterson on July 25, 2018

Government funding for postgraduate studies in South Africa is, as you’ve noticed, mostly for South African citizens. There are a few exceptions, I emphasize “few.” Most of the ones I’ve found are full scholarships offered by various organizations for outstanding students at the University of Capetown. Bertha, MasterCard, and some other big companies have advertised scholarships for graduates from Zambia, Zimbabwe, and other countries on that part of the continent if they qualify.

Are you prepared to be an outstanding student at Capetown? It’s possible. Copperbelt does emphasize entrepreneurship and community activity along with math and research, and the Capetown scholarship material specifies those qualifications.

You’re right about the postgraduate bursary programs; as far as I know, the government-funded ones for international students in South Africa are set up by the students’ home countries. China and Hungary have such programs. If Zambia has any, they’re not advertised.

On the other hand, literally, dozens of scholarships are available for graduates from Zambian colleges pursuing postgraduate degrees in South Africa, or in Europe, the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, or Japan. In some ways they’re even better than bursaries: you can probably go home, debt-free, as soon as your studies are finished. Scholarships don’t always involve any work contract at all; fellowships involve teaching or research contracts that last only as long as you study. Here is a short list emphasizing the most prestigious programs:  .

University funding, expenses, and work opportunities vary depending on what kind of masters degree you pursue. The students polled for this article ( ) didn’t even try to qualify for scholarships, grants, fellowships, or fee waivers before taking out loans that most of them are unlikely to be able to repay. Why would they start their lives by destroying their credit ratings?

Because the funding available to you will depend on whether you want to teach formal classes, do applied science in the field, distribute products, write (or produce videos), be a community leader, or something else, you should consult postgraduate student finance contact people at Copperbelt and any other university you may attend. Don’t underestimate these professionals; they can help you identify relevant sources of funding and send in your applications in time for them to be fairly reviewed. You may not need to take out any more loans without cosigners even if you go to Georgetown University.

Caroline Campbell2 years ago

Yes, but will a full scholarship cover all of these student’s postgraduate funding needs? I checked a few different ones when my daughter, a U.S. citizen, got into the Master's program at the University of Connecticut. A few scholarships do cover all the international student fees, rent, meals, lab fees, books, and supplies, as well as tuition. Most don’t. The ones that take care of everything tend to be the ones that are offered to three students chosen from among five thousand applications every year. The scholarship a student is likely to get may cover the full cost of tuition, which is a big help, but nothing else. Before leaving home I would suggest that a graduate student do some work to raise money for those other expenses. If the writer means Georgetown University in Washington DC, which has a program for graduate students from Africa, it is extremely expensive.


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