2023 First Year Students

Welcome to all provisionally accepted First Year Civil Engineering students for 2023. This page was designed specifically to address your concerns.

These FAQ’s should provide answers to many of the typical questions we receive, and here is more information on the Admission Requirements for Engineering.

Who should read this FAQ?

The FAQ is aimed at prospective students who had applied to study Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch University and were provisionally accepted to start with studies at Stellenbosch University early next year. Parents, guardians and bursary providers of prospective students may also be interested to read the FAQ.


How can I contact the Civil Engineering Department?

Feel free to visit us at the Civil Engineering Department, send an online query, email or call. The Department contact details are given here.

You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram.


What is studying Civil Engineering going to cost me?

For provisional study fees, go here.


When would I need to arrive on campus to study if I choose Civil Engineering @ Stellenbosch?

Key dates for the 2023 academic year are available here and the 2023 welcoming programme dates will be available shortly.

SU also has a great onboarding programme for first time Maties, so be sure to check that out!

If you have been accepted to one of the University residences they will provide the arrival date for new first years. Check with the residence, who will communicate well with their students.

How many candidates apply to study Civil Engineering at Stellenbosch? How many are accepted?

The number of applicants notably exceeds the number of available spaces each year to allow for some who eventually decide not to register for Civil Engineering. Only the best candidates are accepted up to a maximum limit, as determined by available resources. We prioritize student quality rather than quantity. In 2019 a total of 150 new students started their studies in Civil Engineering.


How would my matric marks affect my provisional acceptance?

Your matric marks are used to calculate the final score for entry to the B.Eng. programme. You will only finally know which programme(s) at which Universities you were accepted for after the conclusion of the final matric results. You should be able to recalculate your own marks and see whether you will be accepted with certainty.

The selection score is calculated as follows:

Selection score = Mathematics mark (%) + Physical Science mark (%) + (6 x Average % mark)

The minimum selection score for Civil Engineering is currently 610, but you also need to gain at least 75% for Mathematics and 65% for Physical Science. A limited number of applicants that had not been selected for the B.Eng. programme will be considered for admission to the Extended Degree Programme (EDP). The EDP admission and selection requirements differ from the above.


I have provisional acceptance to Civil Engineering. If my matric marks are the same or better than the Grade 11 marks used to calculate my provisional acceptance, would I be certain of acceptance to study Civil Engineering?

Yes. If you are uncertain about this or have not received correspondence in this regard, please contact the Department directly.


If my matric marks were lower than the marks used to calculate my provisional acceptance, would I automatically drop off the list and lose my acceptance to study Civil Engineering?

No. If your matric marks are lower than your Grade 11 mark that was used to determine your provisional acceptance, you do not necessarily lose acceptance. You are still considered for entry to the programme by the Engineering Faculty and Civil Departmental management, as follows: Your entry now depends on the total number of applicants who have already gained entry with marks above the required score, thus filling up the number of available spaces. The new cohort would fill up with additional names until all the available spaces have been filled.


I applied for various different programmes (e.g. computer science, medical, engineering), or for different programmes at Stellenbosch Engineering Faculty (e.g. Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Process, Industrial), or maybe at different Universities as well. How do I know which courses I have been accepted for – and which I should enrol for if I have more than one option?

The Department of Civil Engineering has a list of names of provisional 1st year students who have been accepted for Civil Engineering in 2020. Feel free to contact the Civil Engineering Department if you are unsure. We would be able to confirm your status.

Civil Engineering cannot gain access to the provisional acceptance lists of other institutions or other Departments, but we would be glad to assist you with any queries about Civil Engineering. We would love to have you enrol at Civil Engineering and hope to see you next year.


Once I have selected an Engineering programme (e.g. Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Process, Industrial), could I switch to another programme?

Yes. Switching between programmes within the Stellenbosch Engineering faculty within the first semester involves some administrative work, but is quite easy. You should be able to switch without any complications, provided that your matric marks were good enough to gain access to the selected programme. Switching between programmes within the Stellenbosch Engineering faculty after the first year is possible, but may involve catching up a missed course (depending on which programme you were enrolled for initially and which one you want to switch to).

With regards to switching between Universities after enrolling, this is possible but becomes more problematic the further you progress with the programme from 1st year to 4th year. Most students who switched from other Institutions to Stellenbosch University in the past did so after the 1st year (or 2nd year) when it is quite uncomplicated. If you plan to do so, make sure you pass all first year modules before the switch.


Would I be employable as a Civil Engineering graduate in South Africa and could I work abroad?

Yes on both counts. Our graduates are highly regarded by Civil Engineering firms and typically find employment before graduating, or shortly after graduating. A good study record would place you in a strong position, while a poor study record may hamper your chances. A number of our graduates find employment abroad, especially after registration with the South African Engineering Council (ECSA) as professional engineers. International recognition of your degree and subsequent ECSA registration by signature countries of the Washington Accord is useful in this regard. Read more here, also to see the list of signature countries.

Could I progress with postgraduate studies abroad after graduating?

Yes. A number of our students have progressed immediately after graduating to further studies (master’s and even doctorates) abroad, including highly rated institutions in the UK, Europe, Canada, etc.

What is my career path provided that I graduate with the Civil Engineering degree?

It is all up to you. The most common employment options for Civil Engineers include consulting firms, contracting firms and places of governance, who typically control large sums of money to fund infrastructure projects. At large corporate employers, you are likely to work on projects with budgets in the tens- or hundreds of million Rand’s.

The best part of Civil Engineering is the flexibility offered by this career path. You could work with small projects or huge projects; indoors or outdoors; work fixed office hours or have highly flexible hours; could travel a lot or choose to work online at home; you could face a computer screen, type reports, use software suites, employ smart metering technology, and even fly drones as part of your work. Our past graduates have found employment in the financial sector and banking, export farming, insurance industry, senior management, software development and computer programming, property development and logistics. Some find employment as academics and researchers.

Recently we have noticed a strong drive by entrepreneurs, inventors and dreamers to take a risk by starting small and setting up their own firm, or micro-enterprise. Stellenbosch University encourages this practice – and it is linked to job-creation. The University “Launch Lab” is well established with a number of success stories and has been established for this purpose (see below). As a Civil Engineer, you could make a living by living your dream.

What language is used in textbooks and class notes?

All textbooks used in all years are published in English. In some modules you will receive additional notes, available in English and Afrikaans.


In which language would I submit assignments and project reports?

The student has the option to use either English or Afrikaans.


Do I need a drawing board?

Yes you do, but the University has a system by which you could order the required drawing board after being accepted – it gets delivered to the Faculty. You will of course be exposed to 3D CAD drawing, but at present drawing boards are still used to teach certain concepts.


Do I need to buy textbooks?

Yes. All prescribed textbooks are ordered during the orientation week.


Do I need to bring my own laptop, tablet, or computer?

No. All computers and related equipment such as printers, scanners and software products that you may need are available in the computer lab. The FIRGA computer room provides access exclusively to engineering students. See the FIRGA webpage here.

How do I find accommodation?

The application process for University residences for 2022 has closed. The Engineering Faculty has no control over local accommodation. You could contact local estate agents, or consult private advertising sites online.

The SU International office provides a special service intended for international students, and provide help with finding accommodation for international students at this link.


What is the internet speed on campus?

The internet on the LAN provides about 100mbps in the FIRGA computer room. The WiFi speed is much lower.


Can I link my cell phone to the University Internet?

Yes. You can link up to 5 devices on your account.


Do I have to pay for internet use?

Yes – it is a pay-as-you go system and is linked to your student account. The cost varies from year to year. The current rates are available here.

More information regarding printing & copying, internet access, personalised email addresses, WiFi and IT-related issues go here.


Where can students (who are not in “res”) get food?

The Engineering faculty has its own cafeteria called “Chalk Board”, with a variety of snacks and lunch options as well as great coffee. Two more cafeterias, in the Launch Lab and Academia respectively, are located close to the Civil Engineering building. The “Neelsie” student centre is about 5 min walk away from Civil Engineering. In addition, the town of Stellenbosch offers numerous restaurants and cafés.


Do I need a car? Is parking available if I decide to drive to campus, or own a car?

Stellenbosch University, the surrounding campus area and the town centre are easily accessible by foot and bicycle, so a car is not necessary for student life. The University also provides a free shuttle service between key University locations, including the Engineering Faculty, Coetzenburg sporting facilities, Neelsie centre, and the University gymnasium.

Parking for students is available at the Engineering Faculty. Use of the access-controlled parking area at Civil Engineering has to be applied for online and comes at a cost. First-year students may also apply for parking. For more information on university parking see the following link.