Postgraduate scholarships for South African students in 2021

Studying abroad is more than just an academic experience - it's also a journey that widens your horizons.

By U2B Staff 

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South African students who are eager to study abroad and enjoy opportunities for global exposure shouldn’t let a lack of money be the primary issue for stopping them in their tracks. There are many scholarships, big or small, that can offer aspiring postgraduate students some respite. 

Below are some postgraduate scholarships that are coordinated by South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), or managed by other international, national and provincial departments or government agencies, that South African students can still apply for the 2021 academic year:



If you want to study in this landlocked country in Europe, the Hungarian Government is offering 100 scholarships to South African students to study at participating public universities in the country. 

All courses available for South Africans are taught in English while master’s students will be required to do a course called Hungarian as a foreign language. Postgraduate applicants should be below the age of 45 as of Sept. 1, 2021.

Master’s applicants can apply for the following fields of study: Agricultural Science, Social Science, Computer Science and Information Technology, Legal Science, Economic Science, Engineering Science and Natural Science. Doctoral applicants can apply for any field of study.

Deadline: Jan. 15, 2021


The France – South Africa Scholarship Programme is for South African students who want to pursue their master’s or PhD in France and start their studies in September 2021. 

Eligible candidates will need to undergo an interview in February 2021 while scholarship recipients will be announced in March 2021. Applicants can apply to all fields of study.

Deadline: Jan. 20, 2021


The Swedish Institute Scholarships for South Africa (SISSA) is open to South African citizens.

“About 600 master’s programmes taught in English starting in the autumn semester 2021 are eligible for SISSA,” said government agency Swedish Institute. The full list of eligible master’s programmes for SI Scholarships for South Africa academic year 2021/2022 can be found here.

Priority will be given to applicants choosing study programmes with an emphasis on one of the following subject areas: computer science and IT, design (industrial design, architecture, urban/regional planning), engineering, environmental technology/sustainable development, gender studies, nanotechnology, or public health.

“Applicants must apply for a master’s programme before applying for an SI scholarship. The application period at University Admissions is Oct. 16 2020 – Jan. 15, 2021. If you applied late at University Admissions, you may still apply for an SI scholarship during 8-18 February 2021. However, it’s high risk your application to the universities will be evaluated as [a] late application, which can delay the admission,” it said.

Applicants who are admitted to one of the eligible master’s programmes by April 9, 2021 will be considered for an SI scholarship.


If you’re applying for any of the following — PhD, Post Doc, Research Fellow — the Swiss government Excellence Scholarships scholarship is for you. It is available for all academic fields of research.

Scholarship holders for the 2021-22 academic year will be announced by the end of May 2021, while scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year will be advertised online from August 2021. For details, click here.

Deadline: Dec. 15, 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa

“The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is offering funding to Sub-Saharan African students for full-time master’s or PhD degrees in their home country or in another Sub-Saharan African country as part of its In-Country/In-Region Scholarship Programme,” notes DHET.

Students can find opportunities across a range of fields — be it mathematics, humanities to engineering — in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi.

Deadlines vary. Click here for details.


Hong Kong

The Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong is offering the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme (HKPFS), which aims to attract top international students to pursue PhD in Hong Kong universities.

The universities include The Hong Kong Polytechnic University,  The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and The University of Hong Kong, among others.

Students will need to contact the respective universities for details on admission requirements, eligibility criteria for research programmes, application methods and deadlines, regulations and policy of individual universities.

Deadline: Dec. 1, 2020