South Africa



The Field Research Program in South Africa is a hands-on program which focuses on social entrepreneurship in Cape Town, South Africa. Developed in 2008 by Professor Dennis Shaughnessy, this academically rigorous program will enable students to learn more about global development and how entrepreneurship can lift families out of poverty.

The academic portion of the program includes subject material such as social entrepreneurship, social enterprise development, microfinance, impact investing, and small business management. Classes are supplemented with site visits to social businesses and enterprises in the surrounding Cape Town or Cape Flats area. Site visits also include guest lecturers from local social enterprises and businesses, visit(s) to Robben Island, Parliament and other historical/cultural attractions. Students also attend guest lectures by South African historians, politicians, journalists, faculty, venture capitalists, doctors and researchers to engage students in topics relevant to South African history post-apartheid, and how the country’s controversial history has led to its modern-day business climate.

Weekends include student-led service learning projects and thoughtful community service. In this service learning exercise, students are encouraged to research which organizations they wish to support, and fundraise towards their project goal; this component of the program enables students to see impact of their own strategic social investing. 

Weekends also include excursions, hiking trips, and an overnight safari.


ENTR3306: Global Development Entrepreneurship (4SH)

ENTR3308: Business Economic History of Modern South Africa (4SH)

Both courses are also regional electives for International Affairs majors/minors (Africa) 

Host Institution:

The Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA)

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Please note this program is only open to students with a minimum 2.8 GPA. Students who do not meet this requirement but still wish to apply must contact SEI at so additional arrangements can be made to facilitate a reference.
  • All students will have supplemental interviews in addition to the online application.
  • Preference is given to students who have completed prior Social Entrepreneurship coursework (see full list here) or are enrolled in the Global Social Entrepreneurship minor.

IMPORTANT Update: Due to the high volume of applicants, the lead faculty member on this program is actively seeking students who understand the mission of the Social Enterprise Institute. As such, students should understand a few key components – this program is academically rigorous (expect day and periodic evening classes in addition to field experience); this program is mission-driven at all times (expect community service at least one day of the weekend), and most importantly, this program has high expectations for mature students who understand that alcohol consumption is not the “end all” for having a good time abroad. This does not mean that the program is “dry” (meaning alcohol consumption is prohibited), but we expect that students will sign a contract for a self-enforced commitment to restricted alcohol usage.

 If you have specific questions about these requirements, please contact


Students will be staying in apartment-style accommodations near the waterfront area of Cape Town. Apartments are either two bedrooms, or one bedroom shared with kitchens, living rooms, and study areas. The building is equipped with Wi-Fi in certain areas, fee-for-service Wi-Fi in the apartments, laundry room, and gated security.


Students will be based in Cape Town, South Africa located in the Western Province. Students will have the opportunity to visit many townships in the Cape Flats area for site visits and their consultation program. 


Some information posted here is tentative and subject to change based on costs and dates of available flights. The website is updated as current information becomes available.