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SIT South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy

Language of Instruction: English, Zulu
Multiple locations,
South Africa
Term: Spring, Fall

Examine the theoretical aspects of health and social policy in South Africa

The next application deadline is Oct 1, 2019
See other program dates


Consider SIT South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy if you are interested in learning more about the relationship between traditional healing and state-of-the-art medicine, prenatal care, access to health care, and health education.

The program base of Durban serves as a nexus of health teaching, research, and practice in both Western and traditional healing systems. You attend lectures from academics and leaders of non-government organizations (NGOs), many of whom are on the cutting edge of research and policy development in South Africa.


Through the interdisciplinary coursework in this program, you examine contemporary public health issues in South Africa through a multidisciplinary lens, as well as analyze the historical, political, economic, cultural, and geographic forces that shape the history of public health interventions in South Africa. Through the Field Study Seminar, you learn to be a critical consumer of medical research papers and media reports on health, to gather primary data on health issues through questioning and observation, and to conduct ethical, culturally appropriate research in preparation for the Independent Study Project (ISP). Through language study and homestays, you gain a unique window into the culture and insights into community healthcare.

You enroll in five courses:

  • Two (2) Community Health & Social Policy Seminars
  • Intensive Language Study: isiZulu
  • Social and Community Health Research Methods
  • Independent Study Project

Program Features

Throughout the semester, you live with South African host families near Durban as well as a number of rural community homestays to gain a better sense of health care in specific communities. A number of site visits are also scheduled to get a first-hand look at the healthcare systems of South Africa.


Review eligibility to ensure that you meet all Columbia requirements to study abroad.

Review the external program webpage to understand any additional program prerequisites.

Application Instructions

To apply, you must complete the two steps below. Deadlines vary and some applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Therefore, you should complete the steps below simultaneously:

  • To apply for Columbia clearance (approval) to study abroad, click on "Start Your Application" on this webpage. Clearance applications are approved on a rolling basis until the application deadline listed on this webpage.
  • To apply for program admission, complete an external application directly on the program webpage. Note that this deadline may be in advance of the Columbia clearance deadline.

Fact Sheet

Humanities, Social Sciences
Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, Columbia General Studies, Columbia Undergraduates, Junior, Senior, Study Abroad
Language of Instruction:
Multiple locations,
South Africa
Africa South of the Sahara
Spring, Fall

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Friday, March 1, 2019
Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, October 1, 2019