The Curriculum

The Trinity in Cape Town program offers a broad liberal-arts curriculum through a combination of Trinity-taught courses and courses taken at a local host university.  

All students take two Trinity courses - "Imagining South Africa" and an Academic Internship - and further information is available on the Courses by Semester page in the left sidebar.

To compliment the Trinity classes, students take courses at a local university. Through our two academic university partners, the University of Western Cape and the University of Cape Town, students have a wide range of academic disciplines to choose from including, political science, human rights, history, english, economics, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, sciences, and public policy, to name a few.  Internships, complimented by program excursions and opportunities for students to join local clubs, fosters quality immersion opportunities. 

Choosing Courses and Getting Academic Credit

Academic Overview:

Students must take a minimum of 4.0 credits and a maximum of 6.0 credits while in Cape Town.  
Trinity Core Course – Imagining South Africa:        1.0 credit
Trinity internship:                                                                         1.0 credit
2-3 electives at UCT or UWC                                                1.0 credit but some exceptions
Trinity courses
Students will automatically be enrolled in the two Trinity courses and will receive in-house credit for both.  If students want major or minor credit for the Trinity courses, they must get approval from the respective department Chairs at Trinity.  This core course gives students a solid understanding of pre and post-apartheid South Africa and you should familiarize yourself with the syllabus so that you do not enroll in a similar course at the university. 
University courses
The academic year in South Africa begins in January:
Trinity spring semester = semester I
Trinity fall semester = semester II
Students will enroll themselves in the university courses upon arrival in South Africa but must pre-select courses as part of the university application process.  These courses will be awarded as transfer credit but, because these courses are in conjunction with a Trinity program, they will calculate into the student GPA, as the Trinity courses will.

Host Universities

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is the oldest institution of higher education in South Africa and one of the top universities on the continent. The UCT campus is situated at the base of Table Mountain in the attractive suburb of Rondebosch. UCT is a leading institution of teaching and research in the country, offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in most academic and professional fields. UCT enrolls approximately 20,000 students, the majority of whom are undergraduates. A wide array of courses are available in the arts and humanities, social sciences, and sciences. 

To view courses offered at UCT, go to their website at:

Courses at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are divided up by “Faculties” which are mini-schools within the college organized by academic groupings.  You may enroll in courses from different faculties.
You will notice that all courses end with a letter which corresponds to the semester the course is offered.  Pay close attention to this to ensure that you are choosing courses offered during the semester you will be there.
Trinity spring semester = semester I – course ends with “F”
Trinity fall semester = semester II – course ends with “S”
You should disregard courses that end with any other letter.
You will also notice that course numbers are in the thousands, not the hundreds like at Trinity.  Students with no prior knowledge about a specific subject should select introductory courses at the 1000 level. Students with prior knowledge about a subject should choose courses at the 2000 and 3000 level. Please note that students may only select 3000 level courses if they meet all pre-requisite qualifications and should be cautious about enrolling in 3000 level courses in economics and the sciences as these tend to be closer to graduate level.
The university website should provide a brief description of the course but a syllabus will not be available until you arrive in South Africa and begin the class.
UCT operates on the National Qualification Framework system, (NQF).
18 – 24 NQF = 4 – 5 North American Credits = 1 Trinity credit
30 - 36 NQF = 8 North American Credits = 2 Trinity credits.

The University of the Western Cape (UWC) is a national university committed to nurturing the cultural diversity of South Africa and responding in critical and creative ways to the needs of a society in transition. Located in the northern suburbs of greater Cape Town, the campus is tucked between the mountains and the sea and has a history of creative struggle against oppression and discrimination. Established in 1959 as a constituent college to the University of South Africa Pretoria, it began as an apartheid institution for people classified as "coloured" and was entirely under White control. It was granted independence in 1970 and today has seven faculties and over one hundred departments. The UWC offers a varied and cosmopolitan community of over 13,700.

 To view courses offered at UWC, go to their website via the link:

Follow the steps below which will direct you through the UWC module (course) database search engine. Enter the following information in the drop down menus:
Academic Year – Select the year in which you want to study abroad. Ex: Fall 2015, select "2015."
Faculty - Courses at the University of Western Cape (UWC) are divided up by “Faculties” which are mini-schools within the university organized by academic groupings. 
Graduate Type - Select "Undergraduate."
Study Type - Select "Full-time."
Degree Type - Select "Degree," and select "I am * an International student" for the search criteria.

The search engine will give you a list of programs to click into. It can be initially difficult to determine the difference between the options until you click on them.  Note that classes are called modules.

When you click on one of the options in the list, you will get a list of courses arranged by level, subject and then by term.   You will notice that the courses do not have distinctive titles that tell you what the course is about.  In most cases, there will be a PDF icon next to the course title which you can click on to get a course description.

If you see the same class listed for Semester 1 & Semester 2 , that probably indicates that it is a full year course and most likely is not available to semester-only students. Also note that modules with levels 2 and 3 normally require the completion of pre-requisites prior to enrollment.

Students with no prior knowledge about a specific subject should select introductory courses at level 1. Students with prior knowledge about a subject should choose courses at level 2 and 3. Please note that students may only select level 3 courses if they meet all pre-requisite qualifications and should be cautious about enrolling in level 3 courses in economics and the sciences as these tend to be closer to graduate level. Students may not take level 4 courses.

UWC is on a quarter system so please note the dates below (yy/mm/dd)

Semester Dates for 2015    
Semester     Term     Dates
  1           1      2015/02/02 - 2015/03/27
  1          2      2015/04/07 - 2015/06/18
  2            3      2015/07/13 - 2015/08/28
  2            4      2015/09/07 - 2015/11/25

Trinity spring semester = semester 1
Trinity fall semester = semester 2

If you are studying in Cape Town for the fall semester, be aware that some courses are continuation of courses offered the previous semester because their academic year begins in January. The only way to tell if a course is a continuation is if you see that it was offered the semester before.  I would not recommend these classes since you will have missed a whole semester of material.​

UWC has its own credit system. 

10-20 UWC credits = 4-5 North American credits = 1 Trinity credit
30 -40 UWC credits = 8 North American credits = 2 Trinity credit