Live, Study, And Learn at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg

Plan for summer 2024

  • Earn up to 6.0 Queen’s units at the 300-level

  • Take seven-week seminar courses at a world-leading South African university

  • Follow an integrated immersion program in Johannesburg’s culture, history and society led by South African instructors

  • Live in approved accommodation in the heart of Johannesburg’s education/business district by Wits University

Johannesburg is the economic and cultural heart of South Africa and a gateway to southern Africa as a region. Ex-tending over hundreds of kilometers of peri-urban space, the city encompasses 15 million people and is a magnet for migration from around the continent and further afield. Yet even as it embodies many of Africa’s greatest development aspirations, Johannesburg also faces daunting challenges arising from persistent, racialized economic and public health disparities, high levels of crime and gender-based violence, climate change, and democratic deficits.

The DEVS Summer Semester Abroad is designed to allow Queen’s undergraduates the opportunity to live and study in Johannesburg with an integrated program of courses and experiential learning. The program includes taking formal courses at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) – one of the world’s leading universities – alongside actively engagement with South African culture and society under the guidance of both a Queen’s University and local South African instructor.


DEVS’ unique partnership with Wits enables up to ten Queen’s students to earn 9.0 units over seven 7 weeks of study at Wits while witnessing first-hand the development challenges facing southern Africa. While at Wits, students choose up to  two of the following seminar courses, each of which is pre-approved to transfer to Queen’s as DEVS 3UNSP/3.0 each:

•    Migration, Mobility and Health in South Africa
•    Anthropology and Ethnographies of Black Africa
•    Demography of Fertility and Reproduction
•    The Making of Urban History
•    African Politics: Natural Resources in Africa
•    Collective Action and Social Movements

In addition to the course work supervised by Wits faculty, students will attend a weekly hour-long seminar of new research being presented to the celebrated History Workshop, plus participate in a weekly reading group centered on classic and contemporary fiction from/ set in Johannesburg, coordinated by a Queen’s instructor. The History Workshop has been a leading voice in the struggle for democracy and development in southern Africa since the late apartheid era (

During your semester at Wits you will also be enrolled in DEVS 502 (Directed Reading Course). This will involve excursions to sites of importance to the history and contemporary development challenges for South Africans (e.g.: Constitution Hill, the Apartheid Museum, the Workers’ Museum) under the guidance of a local South African instructor.

ACCOMMODATION:  Located in the hip heart of Braamfontein, Johannesburg’s vibrant secondary business, educational and NGO centre, Wits offers a secure living and studying environment that is easily accessible to national and international destinations. This accommodation is guaranteed and included in the costs of the Summer Semester Abroad package.

COSTS: The program fee for this course is $1,800, which includes the accommodation in Johannesburg.  Queen’s tuition costs for the 6.0 credits would also apply (approximately $1,250).

Students would additionally need to cover all other travel and living expenses. These would include flights to Johannesburg (approximately $1,800); Meals/Food (approximately $1,250); and any applicable health and travel insurance.

FUNDING:  Students are eligible to apply for the Global Skills Opportunity Fund which can cover expense up to $5,000.

PREREQUISITE: A 300L Africa-focused course or permission of the DEVS department.

Applications due February 1, 2024

Application Process:

•    February 1, 2024:  Submit a statement of interest to (template will be provided)
•    February 29, 2024:  Successful applicants notified
•    March 21, 2024:  Students submit OCASP
•    July and August 2024:  Attend lectures at Wits
•    October 2024:Presentation to a DEVS 363 class

Program Features PDF available

Application Form