How To Get A Bursary In South Africa

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Education is expensive, but it is also one of your biggest investments in life. Getting a bursary to help you in your education can be a way to curb this. A bursary comes in handy if you are struggling to pay for school or considering joining a university. It is also a plus if you have good grades.

There is a list online you can look up if you want to get a bursary in south Africa. The list of available bursaries is updated each year, and some are open in 2023. Many people are burdened with student loans, but bursaries can help you complete school with little money. If you’re wondering how to apply for one, the following information could help you.

What is a bursary?

It is a certain amount of money that someone is awarded for them to continue studying. It could be a postgraduate, a degree, or a college. The bursary will cater for your tuition fee, or in some cases; it can help cover anything related to schooling, from the accommodation, meals, and textbooks, to laptops.

After finishing a training program, it is a requirement that you work for the organization that gave you the bursary. It is a win-win situation for both parties because the bursar has guaranteed job security, and the organization gets an adequately trained employee in their organization.

You can qualify for either a partial or full bursary. A partial bursary covers a certain amount of your tuition fee, while a full bursary covers all your expenses related to school. They include tuition fees, textbooks, study-related materials, exam fees, accommodation, meals, transport, and a laptop or tablet.

What are the qualifications for a bursary in south Africa?

Qualifications for a bursary vary according to the company or organization offering it. There are standard requirements that cut across all programs. You must be:

  • A citizen of South Africa/ a permanent resident.
  • An excellent academic history (good grades in specific subjects).
  • Proof that you need the bursary (a household income or anything that shows your financial history).
  • You should also be currently in school or planning to apply to a recognized institution in South Africa.
  • The current field of study or your intended field of study should be appropriate for the field of study.

What are the documents needed for a bursary application?

  • An application letter.
  • National identity card (should be south African and certified).
  • Parent/guardian copy of identity card (it should be certified).
  • Academic records or transcripts.
  • Proof of financial need (it could be household income to show that you need the bursary).
  • An address.
  • A motivation letter (the letter allows the applicant to make their case or convince the organization why they are a good fit for the bursary. It also allows the applicant to explain their financial situation and also present themselves; their passion, goals, achievements, and what they would achieve when given the bursary).
  • Tertiary application letter

How to apply for the bursary

The application process is relatively straightforward, but first, you need to identify the field of study you are interested in. then ensure you are eligible for the bursary you are applying for.

All the necessary documents and information for applying for the bursary and completing the application form should be at hand.

Please fill out the bursary application form; it can be an online form, or you can download one from the site and ensure you fill in all your details diligently (personal details, permanent address, contact details, qualifications along with the requirements listed above)

The categories of bursaries available in South Africa

Science bursaries

Entomology and nematology, weather and climate, zoology, waste and sanitation, veterinary science and related studies, soil science, statistics and statistical science, physics, natural science, microbiology, material science, mathematics [applied mathematics, business mathematics, financial mathematics, mathematical statistics], maritime studies and related studies, aquatic science, oceanography, marine biology, hydrology, and hydrogeology, horticulture, general science, geology, grain and crop studies, farming, food science and technology, genetics, forestry, geography, and geographic related studies geo (geophysics, geomatics, geochemistry, geoinformatics, geohydrology), biology and biological science, botany and plant studies, biomedical studies, econometrics, environmental, animal science, archeology and anthropology, general chemistry and analytical chemistry, agriculture and agricultural related studies, actuarial science, aviation, air traffic, and pilot.

Medical bursaries

Speech and hearing therapy, radiography, psychology, psychotherapy, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, orthotics and prosthetics, nursing, hygiene, health science and health-related, general medical, ergonomics, emergency medical care, dental and dentistry, dietetics and nutrition, audiology, biochemistry.

Engineering Bursaries

General engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, instrumentation engineering, aeronautical and aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, construction engineering, electronics and electrical engineering, environmental engineering, mining engineering, mechatronics, metallurgy and metallurgical, mine surveying, mineral surveying, rock blasting and rock engineering, structural engineering, sound engineering, systems engineering).

General bursaries

Journalism, language, media and communication, operations and operations management, political and public administration, public relations, social work, real estate, property, sports, supply chain and logistics, transport and road, travel and tourism, cheffing and cooking, and hospitality.

Computer science and IT-related bursaries

Software engineering and software development. Multimedia and interactive media, information technology, information and communications technology, computer science, computer engineering, graphic design, game graphics, and informatics.

Accounting bursaries

General accounting, finance, financial management, auditing, chartered accounting, and financial accounting.

Art bursaries

Performing arts, music, jewelry design, fine art, visual art, film and motion pictures, dance, drama, and theatre.

Commerce bursaries

Transport economics, sales, retail, human resources, investment, marketing, purchasing and buying, risk management, asset management, business-related (business management, business science, business administration), economics, corporate governance, general commerce, fiscal, and public policy.

Construction and built environment.

Artisan/skilled tradesmen (Welding, plumbing, painting, millwright, fitter and turner, bricklaying, carpentry, electrician), construction and building, general built environment, building science and management, architecture, land surveying, quantity surveying, project management, safety, and town planning


You are not required to pay back a bursary, so there is no harm in applying for one. If you need it, fill out the application and write a compelling motivation letter to back you up. It is also essential to know that any application that asks for money beforehand is a scam. And if it is not an official email for the organization, don’t send your documents. The good thing is that there are many sites where you can see the list of available bursaries.

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