Bursaries for Women in South Africa
Bursaries for Women in South Africa: Fulfilling Academic Dreams

Pursuing higher education is a pivotal step toward empowerment and success for women across South Africa. However, financial constraints often limit access and prevent bright female students from reaching their potential.

Bursaries tailored for women aim to break these barriers by providing funding to deserving candidates. I’ve compiled this guide to share the main bursary options available throughout South Africa. Let’s explore the possibilities to make your academic goals a reality!

Bursaries for Women in South Africa

Why Are Bursaries for Women Important?

Before diving into specific bursaries, it’s worth looking at why funding earmarked for female students matters.

Overcoming Discrimination

Sadly, gender inequality persists when it comes to education access in South Africa. Outdated attitudes mean women face discrimination in even being allowed to pursue certain fields of study. Bursaries help smash through these biases.


Many bright young ladies come from low-income households without resources to finance advanced education. Bursaries empower women to access opportunities despite financial disadvantage.

Economic Independence

Bursaries allow women to gain qualifications leading to meaningful, well-paying careers. This enables financial self-sufficiency.

Investing in women creates a ripple effect of benefits across families, communities, and South Africa as a whole. That’s why numerous organizations offer bursaries aimed at empowering female students.

Now let’s explore the main options available.

Undergraduate Bursaries for Women

If you’ve just finished school and are looking to pursue higher education, there are several general bursaries open to women across fields of study:

Transnet Bursary

  • Covers various diplomas and degrees including engineering, accounting, HR
  • Value up to R50,000 per year
  • Open to females with strong academics

FirstRand Laurie Dippenaar Bursary

  • For degrees in commerce, engineering, law, science
  • Full tuition plus accommodation, food, books
  • Aims to support black female students

Investec CSI Bursary

  • Focus on business, accounting, IT, and engineering
  • Value up to R100,000 per year
  • For disadvantaged women

Anglo American Bursary

  • Mining-related fields like engineering, geosciences
  • Full bursary including tuition, residence, books
  • Empowers rural women to enter mining sector

Postgraduate Bursaries for Women

If you’re looking to pursue an Honours, Masters, PhD or postgraduate diploma, options include:

Canon Collins Bursary

  • For Masters study in any field
  • Up to £20,000 funding
  • Aims to develop women leaders in South Africa

Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship

  • Postgraduate study related to health, agriculture, etc.
  • Full scholarship including living allowance
  • Empowers African women as researchers and innovators

Sasol Bursary

  • Postgrad study in science, technology, engineering
  • Full bursary value plus industry placement
  • To enable women’s leadership in STEM careers

DST-NRF Grantholder-Linked Bursary

  • Honours, Masters & PhD study in science and research
  • Up to R150,000 funding for women and disabled scholars

As you can see, major corporations and foundations recognize the importance of supporting women’s postgraduate education.

Bursaries for Women in Specific Fields

Many bursaries target women studying disciplines like:

Science & Engineering

  • Eskom Engineering Bursary – Electrical engineering, computer science
  • TOTAL Bursary – Oil/gas industry-related degrees
  • WC Government Bursary – Agriculture, IT, engineering, science

Health Sciences

  • Johnson & Johnson Bursary – Medicine, pharmacy, nursing, health science
  • Netcare Bursary – Medicine, radiography, emergency care
  • Clicks Pharmacy Bursary – Pharmacy, health science

Education & Law

  • Funza Lushaka Teaching Bursary – Teaching degrees and PGCE
  • Bowman Gilfillan Bursary – LLB, LLM law degrees

Accounting & Business

  • Deloitte Bursary – B.Com, B.Acc, CA stream
  • KPMG Bursary – B.Com, CA stream, IT
  • Allan Gray Orbis Fellowship – MBA, entrepreneurship

This shows the wide range of specialized bursaries to help women succeed in top professions.

How to Find & Apply for Bursaries

Here are some tips:

  • Research bursary options for your field of interest – Use this guide as a starting point.
  • Check eligibility criteria – Confirm you meet all requirements.
  • Prepare application materials – Follow instructions e.g. CV, essays, documents.
  • Apply before deadlines! – Submit early as funding is competitive.
  • Follow up – Check status of your application.
  • Say thank you – If awarded a bursary, express your gratitude.

With some dedication and effort, you can discover funding to pursue your degree as a woman in South Africa.


The bursaries mentioned here are just a sample – there are always new opportunities arising. The key is to start searching early, understand eligibility criteria, and apply to multiple bursaries simultaneously.

I hope this guide highlighted some of the main funding options available specifically for women at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, across numerous fields.

Education is empowerment. Don’t let finances limit your dreams – the right bursary can open the doors to an amazing future. I wish you all the best in your studies and achieving success as a woman in South Africa!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about bursaries for women:

What are the main eligibility criteria?

  • Female
  • South African citizen
  • Studying full-time
  • Strong academic performance
  • Financial need

When should I apply?

Start searching and applying 12-18 months before your studies commence. Bursary deadlines are usually 8-12 months in advance.

Which bursaries don’t require repayment?

Most bursaries don’t require repayment – they are awards, not loans. Always confirm repayment terms.

Do I need excellent grades to qualify?

Good grades help, but funders also consider your financial situation. Less strict on grades than scholarships.

Where can I get help with my application?

Ask your school guidance counselor or university financial aid office for assistance.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


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