Bursaries in South Africa (A to Z)

The Basic Guidance and Facts

When you want to continue your study to a higher level – let’s say, you have completed your high school and you want to go to the university – and yet you can’t really afford the tuition, you probably consider the option of having a bursary. The term may be alien to you but it is basically a financial support or assistance that is given by organizations, institutions, or companies for students with bright intelligence or great skills and yet coming from unfortunate conditions (such as those coming from poor families or background). The money support is designed to help these students so they can continue their education and reach their dream.

However, there are some deeper information and knowledge that you need to understand about the bursary so you won’t be making mistakes when trying to get one.

What Is Bursary?

Since bursary is related to financial support and assistance, most people think that bursaries are just the same the financial grants, awards, or scholarships. After all, if you are trying to find the meaning of bursary, you will mostly get this understanding: an amount of financial support or money that is given to a certain person by an organization to help them to study.

There are different meanings of financial support or assistance with different requirements, terms, and conditions. Here are their basic differences:

  • Scholarships are the money students usually get based on their achievements or academic performance. If you usually get high grades or you usually sit on the top spot of the class for your academic performance, you can get the scholarship. However, it is also common for people to get scholarship although they aren’t too academically well. For instance, athletes who have excellent performance can get scholarships based on their ability. It is common for those who are great in basketball, for example, to continue their study with the basketball scholarship. Or those who are great in athletic can continue their study with the athletic scholarship. If you get the scholarships, you aren’t expected to pay back the money. Once you get the scholarship, you can continue your study without thinking about repaying back or whatsoever.
  • Grants are the financial help that you get based on the condition of the recipient. If you have a great academic performance, you can get one. However, if you come from unfortunate background, you can also get one. Basically, the grants are given to those who need it based on their condition and situation so it is basically quite flexible. If you are involved in an academic research project, you can also have one – provided that you have met all the requirements.
  • Bursaries are the financial assistance that is based on your financial condition. Whether you are bright or so-so, you are entitled to the bursary as long as you meet the requirements. Unlike the scholarship, you will be expected to pay back for the bursary you get by working for the organization or company giving you the money. The working term or period depends on each organization or company, with one year period as the shortest. Each organization has different policies and regulations about it so you need to consult them first before getting one.

Bursary Application

If you are looking for a bursary, you can check the university, companies, or other social organizations. Universities usually provide financial assistance in the form of bursaries, scholarships, or grants. Go to their section or page in the Financial Assistance or Financial Aid and you can take a look at the provided lists.

Once you come to the section, you may see different terms and categories. Don’t worry; they are all basically the same – offering financial assistance through different implementation and terms.

  • Entrance financial help is usually referring to the financial assistance you get when you enroll in the university. Also known as the admission scholarship or bursary, this financial aid can help you during your first year of study.
  • Renewable help is the financial assistance that is renewed on a yearly basis only if you are able to maintain a good academic performance or high grade.
  • National assistance is the financial support given to students all over South Africa.
  • In-course assistance is the financial aid given to students in the second or third year. This financial support is applicable after you have passed your first year.
  • External money assistance is the financial support given for students from organizations outside of the school. The organization isn’t a part of the educational institutions. If you do get such kind of financial support, the school you go to must be approved by the organization first. Some organizations have their own listings of educational institutions.

Keep in mind that different organizations or institutions will have different regulations or policies concerning the bursary. However, there are some basic requirements that you need to follow, such as most applicants should be the South Africa citizens and they are able to show proof of documentation. A valid ID card or record must be shown to prove their existence. These students are also required to take the full time study type. It is also common that the participants will be asked to take parts in interviews and also psychometric testing.

In most academic settings, these applicants should provide their academic skills or achievement. For instance, English proficiency is a must since most of the textbooks are imported so the participants should have a good knowledge and ability of it. Ability in math or other specific fields (accounting, computer, etc) is also required – but then again, it depends on the requirements from the bursary providers.

In South Africa, there is a certain requirement for certain fields because the human resources are quite limited and scarce. These are the most popular bursars that you can find there.

Nursing Bursaries

If you are passionate about helping others and you really want to take care of others (who are obviously aren’t able to do this by themselves), you can take the nursing bursary. Those interested in making differences in their community and yet having to suffer from financial hardship can make use of this type of bursary.

Most people can take these common fields, such as:

  • General Nursing
  • Nursing Care
  • Emergency Medical Care
  • Public Health
  • Primary Health Care
  • Pharmacy

Mind you that the offer for the bursaries isn’t only limited to the subjects mentioned above. It is possible that there are other offers provided by other organizations or institutions.

The basic requirements for the participants, such as:

  • Having pre-approval letter from the higher learning institutions
  • They should be the citizen of South Africa with legit and valid ID card proof
  • They should be able to show the proof that they need the financial support
  • They should have good academic record
  • They should come from disadvantaged community or background

Some of the institutions provide information in relation to the nursing field and you can check their official website, such as:

  • HCI
  • Correctional Services Department
  • Health Department
  • Spoornet
  • Ekuhurleni
  • Netcare
  • Bestmed
  • Social Development Department

Some of the websites provide general information of the bursaries without focusing too much on a certain topic. You can easily browse them and explore your way around the website for specific info.

Engineering Bursaries

You will be surprised to find out that there are so many different fields of engineering provided in the industrial work and environment. If you are interested in the engineering financial support, there are different fields and subjects to take.

  • Chemical Engineering. You will learn about chemical process in manufacturing goods and products, such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, and also food.
  • Civil Engineering. You will be responsible for infrastructure development, such as building bridges, railways, water reservoirs, and highways.
  • Industrial Engineering. You will learn about organizing people, information, equipment, and places. They manage complicated systems that will involve process improvements, project management, and business process engineering.
  • Mechanical Engineering. You will be responsible for mechanical process and design. You will deal a lot with CAD (Computer Aided Design).
  • Electrical Engineering. It usually involves micro and macro engineering. The previous one deals with smaller project designs, like the digital cameras, car airbags, or mp3 players. The latter one deals with bigger projects like the roller coaster maintenance and power grid in the amusement park.
  • Environmental Engineering. As the name suggests, you will be responsible for improvement and system to clean drinking water, clean rivers, or oceans. You should also be responsible for toxic waste treatment and management.
  • Mining Engineering. You will be responsible for combining scientific and technological knowledge and resource to extract the earth’s mineral. Metallurgy, geology, mineral processing, and surveying are mostly related to this sector.

You will find a lot of websites offering bursaries for these fields. Make sure that you do your research well and carefully so you can continue your study and fulfill your dream. Once you have completed your study, you will have to work back for the company. Then, you can finally work for private hospitals, emergency care services, state hospitals, and clinics in South Africa or any international setting.

Government Bursaries

South African government has a lot of different departments responsible for different purposes and usages. You can find information about Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and so much more. It also means that there are limitless vacancies and positions open in the government. Here are some of the listed government departments in South Africa with official websites that you can check:

  • City of Johannesburg EMS Bursary
  • Alfred Nzo District Municipality Bursary
  • Department of Tourism Bursary
  • City of Matlosana Bursary
  • And so much more

Naturally, you need to find a detailed information about each bursary and offer. For instance, the Alfred Nzo District Municipality bursary focuses on students with certain fields because the human resources for these subjects are pretty scarce. The fields include:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Internal Auditing
  • Financial or Accounting Management
  • Environmental Health Management
  • Community Water Sanitation and Services
  • Environmental Management
  • Regional and Town Planning
  • Computer Science or Information Communication Technology
  • Geographic Information System

To apply for this bursary, you need to check the official website. But most importantly, you need to be the resident of Alfred Nzo area and you should be in between 16 to 35 years of age.

IT Bursaries

The Information Technology is a highly crucial subject nowadays because we live in the modern world where everything is ruled and managed by technology. With the IT knowledge, you can transfer, process, and also deliver message and information. All industries and businesses are heavily depending on technology –without it, you are doomed. That’s why it is important to find credible and reliable young talents in this field. If you take the subject, you will heavily deal with electronics, e-commerce, the internet, hardware, computers, engineering, and so much more.

There are some common bursaries for this IT subject, such as:

  • NYDA
  • Rhode Trust
  • Access Trust
  • Multichoice
  • FNB
  • National Treasury
  • Shoprite
  • Nedbank
  • Vodacom
  • CSIR
  • Investec
  • And much more

Here are some of the common subjects where the bursaries are provided:

  • System Analyst
  • System Manager
  • Computer Programmer
  • Software Engineer
  • Computer Scientist
  • Statistician
  • Database Administrator
  • Forensic Computer Investigator
  • Cloud Architect
  • IT Manager
  • IT Vendor
  • Geospatial Professional
  • Web Developer

To be a candidate for this bursary, first you need to be the citizen of South Africa, naturally. Then, you need to have great skills in problem solving and math. It is crucial that the candidates should have the required academic skills and performance – at least, above the average. And most importantly, you should have a good language skill and proficiency. Being flexible in working performance (meaning that you should be able to work in a team or work alone) is a must.


Finding bursaries in South Africa isn’t as difficult as you think. You can go directly to the each link we have provided below. Which bursary do you want to apply, click the link, then you will directly send to the detail information and find the official website in the end of description. Make sure that you do your research well. Use your time wisely and don’t make any rush decision or judgment. Good luck!

A – Z List of Bursaries for South African Citizens (Click Each Link for Detail)





African Rainbow Minerals

Africon Engineering International



Anglo American

ANC (African National Congress)

Anglo Platinum

AngloGold Ashanti







Basil Read


BHP Billiton

Bidvest Trading and Distribution Company


BKS Inc Bursary Fund

BOE – The Bank of England


British American Tobacco

Career Wise



City of Cape Town

City of Tshwane Bursary


Coca Cola

Commonwealth Postgraduate Bursary



David Morrison

De Beers


Denel Dynamics

Department of Agriculture

Department of Arts and Culture

Department of Education

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Department of Finance

Department of Health

Department of Justice

Department of Labour

Department of Public Works

Department of Social Development

Department of Water Affair and Forestry

Discovery Trust 




Ernst and Young

Eskom Bursaries


Ethekwini Municipality 


FET College

Fidelity Fund



Funza Lushaka

Gold Fields

Grant Thornton

Group 5

Harmony Gold

HCI Foundation



Illovo Sugar Limited

Impala Platinum



Jacob Zuma Foundation


Kantey and Templer


Kumba Iron Ore





Mercedes Benz








Murray and Roberts


National Treasury Department




Nelson Mandela’s Children Hospital





Old Mutual Actuarial

Palabora Copper

Petra Diamonds


Phalaborwa Mining Company

Pick n Pay

Price Waterhouse Coopers


Rand Water


Richards Bay Mineral




















South African Reserve Bank

South African Weather Service


Stats SA

Stefanutti Stocks

Stellenbosch University

Sun International


Thuthuka Bursary Fund

Tiger Brands





UJ (University of Johannesburg)


Umsobomvu Youth Fund



University of Cape Town

University of Limpopo


Varsity College Bursaries



Water Affairs


WITS University



Young Leaders



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