Course Offering 
  • COSA (Community Organizing and Social Activism) in South Africa
  • Introduction to COSA (Course Offered Online)
  • Apartheid's Footprint: South Africa Today
  • Ethics and Community Health in South Africa
* Some courses may not be offered during a given term. Please inquire. 
Travel and Excursions that Broaden Your Perspective
Travel is an essential part of studying abroad. Taking knowledge from the classroom and applying it through direct observation allows for greater classroom comprehension and cultural understanding.


Excursions MAY Include:

Cape Town City Tour

Get your bearings and find pout how to navigate your new home while seeing the important highlights of the city.


Table Mountain National Park

Created from massive beds of sandstone and slate, the mountain forms the northern end of the Cape Peninsula.

City Museums

Iziko Museums of South Africa comprises 11 museums covering a wide array of topics.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

In a beautiful setting on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain,the gardens  are part of the Cape Floristic Region UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Other Opportunities for independent Excursions

IPSL students in Cape Town may also work with program staff on-site to arrange for independent travel to other areas of South Africa and neighboring countries. As with all travel, weather and other travel hindrances can affect the exact destinations of excursions. In such cases, IPSL program staff make every effort to find suitable replacement itineraries.



The semester curriculum combines  COSA (Community Organizing & Social Activism) in South Africa and a Service-Learning Reflections & Practicum course along with exciting electives that frame the history of South Africa, it's challenges and opportunities  that help students to understand the South Africa of today.  All courses are taught in English.  

There are required courses and some electives. Students can take up to 15 semester credits. All courses are taught at the 300-level or above . Unless otherwise noted, each course carries 45 contact hours and 3 semester credits or 4.5 quarter credits.  Students earn an official  transcript for all courses successfully completed

Required Courses

COSA in South Africa: Apartheid's FootPrint (Community Organizing and Social Activism)

The focus of this course is to explore community organizing and social activism in South Africa with the goal of learning how to effectively translate these ideas and techniques into a concrete knowledge of social activism (including a practical tool set and the development of a personal ethic of advocacy) that can be applied across cultures, countries, and efforts. This course unpacks apartheid’s intricacies and impact. It explores apartheid’s footprint on South Africa’s socioeconomic platform and how the country is grappling with much-needed transformation. The course will identify and relate the injustices of apartheid to past and current world injustices The course starts with an overview of social change institutions, explores the history and ethics of international service and moves to the examination of past and current political and social movements and advocacy efforts in South Africa. Students will learn the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning in an African context. This course complements IPSL community service placements and helps students make sense of their international experience in order to develop their intercultural competence. Topics are examined through the prism of hands-on community service in African NGOs and other non-profits.

Contact Hours: 90

Recommended U.S. Credits: 6

Introduction to COSA 

This course is delivered virtually and begins before departure and completes after returning. The content includes both pre-departure and post departure information, discussion and reflection and serves to compliment the IPSL COSA in South African Course. The course explores the theories and practical realities of intercultural service-learning to help make sense of the international experience and to develop intercultural competence. One credit will be awarded for 15 hours of academic reflections work and 2 credits for the hands-on service-learning volunteering.

Contact Hours: 45
Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

Elective Courses

Ethics and Community Health in South Africa

This course explores public health issues in South Africa via hands-on training at IPSL’s partner organization in Cape Town, South Africa. By uniting service with traditional learning, students gain knowledge about the historical, political, economic, cultural, and geographic forces that shape the history of public health interventions in South Africa. The service places students at the nexus of Community-based Health, Social Enterprise, and the struggle for Social and Racial Justice. Through lectures from scholars and scholar-practitioners, readings, hands-on service, and selected site visits in the region, students critically examine topics related to health promotion and provision, traditional healing, rural health and social justice in South Africa.

Contact Hours: 45

Recommended U.S. Credits: 3

 *Please note that depending on enrollment one of these courses may not run.