UCT Application | UCT English Language Centre

1. Can I apply to UCT?

Yes, anyone can apply to undergraduate studies at UCT. However, you must fulfill certain requirements before your application can be considered:
a) You must have a matriculation exemption certificate, in most cases this will be foreign conditional exemption.
b) Your qualifications must have been certified, translated into English and verified by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
c) You must show that your level of English is good enough to study at UCT through an IELTS or TOEFL certificate.

If you meet these requirements, the Faculty you have applied to can consider your application. Each Faculty has different requirements for admission, which can be found in the undergraduate prospectus. The university receives over 20,000 applications for about 4000 first year places, so admission is very competitive and you will need excellent grades to be accepted.

2. When should I apply?

The academic year in South Africa runs from February to November. The closing date for undergraduate applications is 30th September for admission the following year. So, if you want to start in February 2018 you must apply by 30th September 2017.

3. What should I do first?

You need to follow the complete steps:
First, get your ID documents, high school certificates and academic transcript translated by a sworn translator and certified.
Second, submit your certificates to SAQA for verification.
Third, apply to UCT.
Fourth, apply for matriculation exemption.
You do not need to wait until you receive an acceptance from the university to apply for matriculation exemption, but you do need to have an application number.
Fifth, complete your IELTS or TOEFL exam.

4. How do I apply?

To apply, go to and select ‘apply online’. You will then complete an online application form. To complete the application, you will have to upload various required documents, including your high school qualifications and your IELTS or TOEFL certificate.

5. How do I get my qualifications verified by SAQA?

Go to and register as a user on the SAQA website. You will need to complete their application form and submit your ID document and original copies of your certificates. You will also need to pay a fee – note that only credit card payments or cash payment into their bank account are accepted, not bank transfers. The SAQA verification process usually takes 4-8 weeks.

6. What is Matriculation Exemption?

In South Africa, only those who have completed a certain level of pre-university study can be considered for admission to university. For international students, this is the equivalent to a pass in grade 12 of the National Senior Certificate (NSC). The Department of Higher Education looks at the high school systems in all countries, and decides whether they are equivalent to the NSC. The Matriculation Exemption (ME) certificate details whether you are eligible for university studies in SA.

7. How do I apply for Matriculation Exemption?

Go to to complete the online application form. You will have to upload your certificates and the translations. In addition to the online application, you will have to download and complete an M30 application form, and this needs to be stamped by the University.

8. What happens if I don’t qualify for Matric exemption?

Unfortunately, high school leaving certificates from many countries are not sufficient to be granted matriculation exemption. In this case, you can return to your country and study the first year of a degree course in your country to qualify for matric exemption.

9. How do I register for my IELTS or TOEFL test?

IELTS exams are run in Cape Town on a regular basis. Go to to register for the exam. You will usually need to get a minimum score of 7.0 to be considered for admission to UCT. You will receive your results two weeks after you take the test. TOEFL exams are run less frequently in Cape Town, for information please consult the

10. Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of being accepted?

If you are already in South Africa, you may want to complete the National Benchmark Test (NBT) to support your application. You can register to write the NBT at

11. When do I find out if I have been accepted?

Acceptance letters are usually sent out in the first two weeks of January. You can also track the progress of your application online by logging onto

The UCT English Language Centre is the official English teaching unit for the University of Cape Town. If you need to prepare to take an IELTS or TOEFL exam for  your university application, then our competent, highly qualified and experienced staff and teachers are best placed to help you with your journey to successfully passing your English exams. 
In addition, we assist and advise all our students throughout their application process. 
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.
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