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  • Locations: Port Elizabeth, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: Mason applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Nelson Mandela University Summer School

This summer, celebrate the legacy of Nelson Mandela at a university that embodies diversity, compassion, and humanity while studying human rights, conflict management, or environmental studies. Though surrounded by a bustling and rapidly growing metropolitan home to approximately 1.5 million, the main campus of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University sits peacefully on a private nature reserve in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth. This unique atmosphere makes Nelson Mandela University an exciting location for students who want a little bit of everything!

Program Details


This program is open to all George Mason University undergraduate students. Students must have completed one year of college and meet the GPA requirement of 2.5 or higher.

Credits Offered

Students can choose either two of the 3-credit short programs or one 6-credit program. Upon completion of the program, students will produce a capstone portfolio for each course they take along with other program-specific requirements. Classes are held Monday - Thursday.

Three Credit Options:

Human Rights (3 credits)
Human rights play an important role in our modern globalized world and are recognized as integral to social change. They affect individuals and societies alike and raise a number of issues that are neither simple nor clear. This program introduces students to human rights related discourses in a social science context. The universal and cultural specific dimensions of human rights will be explored through exploration of human rights in relation to social and cultural diversity and their local and global contexts, with an emphasis on Africa. Students will learn to apply various human rights perspectives to selected human rights issues. This program examines the theoretical foundations of Human Rights from a social science and constitutional/legal perspective, and aims to guide the student through the exploration and analysis of a selection of issues and aspects of human rights and the economic, social, cultural and political contexts in which they arise. The primary goal of this program is to examine human rights from social science perspectives in order to develop an insight and understanding of how human rights, human rights practices and human rights institutions are socially created and recreated by human beings.

Community Service Learning (3 credits)
The aim of the program is to provide students from abroad with the opportunity to demonstrate and develop their global citizenship through volunteer work. They will develop an understanding of the current issues impacting community life in South Africa and experience this first-hand through service in a South African community, while earning academic credit. You will be volunteering and spending time at projects with previously disadvantaged children. This program orientates students to the fundamentals of community development in the field of Behavioral Science, in terms of its goals, principles, process, and application in South Africa. The program is comprised of a theory and practical component. Ongoing informal mentoring is made available to students.

Conflict Management and Transformation (3 credits)
This program provides students with an understanding of the processes and complexities of negotiations as tools for conflict management and transformation. The focus in the module will be on the negotiations that ended the apartheid system in South Africa through a series of talks between 1990 and 1994. Many consider the transition from apartheid to democracy to be a "miracle." Through readings, documentaries, class discussions, guest lectures and visits to museum, students will unpack the process to understand the strategies and approaches that led to the "miracle" and the "birth" of a new, democratic South Africa. The value of the program is enhanced by practical visits and field trips to places of interest that complement the program. It also includes a longer overnight field trip to a rural area where students have the opportunity to experience first-hand the history and local culture with knowledgeable hosts.

South African History, Culture, and Language (3 credits) - New in 2017!
This program will consist of a series of lectures exploring South African History, since the Eastern Cape Frontier’s earliest inhabitation by the Khoi and the San to the present day history. Further, it will provide students with insight into the Frontier as a meeting place of South African cultures throughout its history. The program will also explore intergroup relations on the Eastern Cape Frontier and introduce students to culture and language specific to the Eastern Cape. The course will also expose students to the Eastern Cape as the birth place of Nelson Mandela and other struggle heroes, and Nelson Mandela Bay, one of the places that played a critical role in the establishment of a democratic South Africa. This program will enable students to become familiar with South African history, gain an understanding about anti-apartheid struggle and transition to democracy, explore South Africa’s various cultures and languages, with specific focus on isiXhosa, and learn about South Africa’s history and cultures through field trips to museums, heritage sites and immersion into the communities.

Six Credit Program:
Environmental Studies (6 credits)
Students will gain first-hand experience of the unique environmental issues that define the Eastern Cape in South Africa. This area is recognized as a frontier, in many respects providing an ideal location to learn how development opportunities are shaped by environment. The special features of the Eastern Cape range from the globally unique concatenation of three global biodiversity hotspots, a treasure trove of ancient fossils, the oldest anatomically-modern humans, some of the earliest cultural artifacts, a history of rapacious over exploitation of natural resources and local extinctions, followed by conservation success stories and now an emerging biodiversity based economy that is built on ecotourism. This is an opportunity to gain knowledge in a landscape that is once again being shaped by the “big five” such as elephant and rhino and where new solutions to ancient problems are being developed. The course is largely field-trip based with visits to ancient caves, overnight stays, and visits to modern National Parks. It also includes a longer overnight field trip to a rural area where students have the opportunity to experience first-hand the history and local culture with knowledgeable hosts.

For more information about programs at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) visit their short-term program's website.

Choosing Courses Abroad

This program does not have pre-approved classes. It is your responsibility to select courses and get them approved for transfer credit. To facilitate this process, you will complete the Petition for Transfer of Credit (PTC) Form. You will have access to the PTC form when you open an application.

You are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to look at this institution’s courses ahead of time to see how they will match up to your Mason degree requirements. Talk to your academic advisor about what courses you will need to receive credit for during your time abroad to stay on-track for your degree. When looking at courses keep in mind that course schedules can change. We recommend having twice as many courses approved as necessary.


Off campus accommodations, conveniently located within close proximity to both the beach and the university. Students are housed 2-5 per room and share kitchenettes and bathrooms. Students will have the opportunity to select their housing preference during the application process.

Program Cost (Summer 2017): $5,150


  • Tuition and fees (6 credits)
  • Housing
  • Some meals
  • Program-sponsored excursions
  • Program-sponsored travel
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • International Emergency Insurance

Not Included:

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Personal spending
  • Most meals
  • Personal transportation
  • Wi-Fi at accommodation
  • Laundry service

Contact Information

Program Officer

Dianna Leonard

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2017 03/19/2017
Rolling Admission 07/01/2017 07/29/2017

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications.