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*Health Science Internship in South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa

IntroductionAcademicsLocation Faculty program director CostsDatesApplication

Learn more at the info session: 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11



The MU International Center sponsors this summer, faculty-led study abroad program in collaboration with the School of Health Professions. An MU faculty member will lead this three-credit program in Cape Town, South Africa, in conjunction with the University of the Western Cape.

The partnership between MU and UWC is unique. Both institutions have worked together to explore issues related to health and social services in the context of the history and culture of both countries. On this program, you will participate in field placements focusing on disease prevention and disability with organizations committed to improve the health of local communities, dealing with topics such as physical and developmental disabilities, infectious disease, community nutrition and injury prevention care for elderly citizens.

You will learn how the legacy of apartheid and the current social stratification continues to have a major impact on the health, education and welfare of the citizens of South Africa. There are few countries that can match the impact that history and culture have had on the health and social welfare of its citizens. MU was one of the first U.S. universities to affiliate with a university like UWC that was open to all students in the apartheid era. You will have the opportunity to meet historical colleagues at UWC who have made such a powerful relationship between MU and UWC possible.



You will be enrolled in one MU course for a total of three credits.

HLTH SCI 4975: Internship in the Health Sciences (3) will provide you with an increased understanding of how public health interventions are implemented in under-resourced communities. You will be better able to connect environmental, social and cultural context with health status and access to health services. You will have the opportunity to observe firsthand how community health workers assess community needs and take into account both the strengths and challenges of a particular environment in designing programs to prevent disease and improve health. The program will also encourage you to reflect on how your own social and behavioral context impacts your susceptibility to a variety of health outcomes.

The program will provide the opportunity to understand and learn how to develop professional skills. The service-learning and internship experiences will allow you to practice professional competencies that are representative of attributes needed to perform successfully in a health sciences career or graduate program.

The program is structured to allow group discussion at the close of each day to allow for reflection on how the day's activities relate to the understanding of health, in-country health practices, health service availability and priority health needs. Course requirements include a short series of classes before departure, journaling, active participation in discussions and a final paper due after returning from South Africa.

Public health is a challenging, interdisciplinary course of study that requires familiarity with subjects such as epidemiology, biostatistics and environmental health, as well as psychology, community organization, political structures and cultural competence. Learning to be an effective public health professional requires experience with a wide variety of social groups and, in an increasingly small global environment, an understanding about how emerging public health issues impact both the developing and developed world.

Prerequisites: Must complete HTH SCI 2100, just a junior or senior, and gain approval from internship adviser. Contact the Department of Health Sciences Office of Experiential Learning (573-884-2698 or for information on obtaining approval to complete internship credit.

Academic credit

You will be enrolled in actual MU courses. You are guaranteed to receive MU credit for successfully completed courses; however, you must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how courses might fulfill degree requirements.

MU students: Grades will be calculated into your MU GPA and appear on your MU transcript when grades are recorded by the faculty program director. You must work with your academic adviser(s) to obtain pre-approval as to how the courses might fulfill degree requirements.

Non-MU/visiting students: Transcripts will be issued from MU and can be mailed to your home university. You must work with your home university to determine how credit from the program will transfer. The International Center will issue one transcript per student to one domestic address, as indicated on your Non-MU Student Application for Study Abroad. Additional MU transcripts for study abroad must be requested and purchased from the MU University Registrar.


Accommodations and meals

You will stay in shared apartments in Tygervalley, Cape Town, near the UWC campus. Some meals will be provided and prepared by you in the living quarters. Other meals will be purchases at or near the placement sites. Several group meals will also take place at various sites in and around Cape Town.

Host city and surrounding areas

Cape Town, South Africa, is known as one of the most beautiful places in the world. The city's stunning vistas and biodiversity provide a beautiful backdrop and allow for easy access to outdoor activities. As South Africa's largest city, Cape Town boasts a wide variety of entertainment venues and three major public universities. Cape Town represents an extremely important link between South Africa's past and the hope for continued change in the future. Important cultural sites include Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, and the District 6 Museum, which describes some of the effects of apartheid. You can also enjoy visiting Table Mountain National Park, which offers miles and miles of hiking trails and is considered by many to be a place for spiritual nourishment.


You will travel with the group, but will have the opportunity to explore some sites independently during your time abroad. Travel will likely include visits to:

  • Robben Island
  • District 6 Museum
  • Cape of Good Hope
  • UWC Apartheid Museum
  • Community health education and clinic sites

Faculty program director

A University of Missouri faculty member will accompany the students to Cape Town.

Faculty-led programs enrich the study abroad experience as well as the MU campus by providing students with opportunities to study other cultures and disciplines in-depth while gaining new perspectives on our own society. Faculty leaders serve as mentors, role-models and resources as students explore their host institution and country.


Program budget

Additional expenses

In addition to the program costs paid to MU, you will have expenses associated with international travel and living abroad. The amounts listed are estimated costs based on current exchange rates and on the information provided to us by your host institution and past participants. Depending on your personal spending habits, you may spend more or less than the figures provided.

Please note that these expenses do not include vacation travel or sightseeing.

Financial aid information

If you are awarded financial aid for study abroad, it will be applied to your MU account according to the regular financial aid disbursement schedule. Reminder: You must be enrolled in study abroad and have completed the required financial aid forms for study abroad in order to be considered for aid.

Because non-resident tuition charges apply, MU students should be eligible to use non-resident scholarships toward program costs.

Dates and deadlines

Term Application deadline Program start Program end
Summer 2019 02/15/2019 07/27/2019 08/11/2019
Summer 2020 02/15/2020


We are delighted that you are applying to study abroad. This is the first step of your journey, and while there is a lot to do, it should not be overwhelming. Once you start an application for the program, you will have an electronic checklist to help you through the process. In addition, our study abroad staff are available to answer your questions.

  1. Meet with the International Center study abroad adviser listed in the program snapshot if you have any questions.
  2. Start an application using the button below if you are an MU student.
    • Non-MU students should visit our page for non-MU participants for more information about the application process.
    • Once you have started an application, you can return to it later by logging in to myStudyAbroad (see the button at the top of the page).
  3. Complete and submit your application.
  4. Receive your admissions decision within 7–10 business days.

Ready to get started? APPLY NOW