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LLM Tuition Fees In South Africa

LLM Tuition Fees In South AfricaLLM tuition fees in South Africa are structured in a way that students from Europe and North America will find familiar. Some South African law schools – but not all – charge international students a higher rate to home students, and tuition fees are often increased annually by around 10%.

The advertised rates are often an average tuition fee charged by the institution during the previous academic year, and most students will receive an estimate of their tuition fees on application to their course.

So, what does it cost to study an LLM in South Africa?

LLM StudentsHome and International students

Most universities and law schools in South Africa charge discounted rates to students who are South African citizens or residents and those students who are citizens or resident of other Southern African Development Community (SADC) states. The SADC states are Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Higher fees are often, but not always, charged to students who are citizens or residents from outside of the SADC area. International students are sometimes charged an additional fee of South African Rand 1,000 to R3,000 (£50–£150) on top of tuition fees and other costs. Tuition fees usually cover registration for the course, all charges associated with classes and tutorials, examinations, library access, personal accident insurance, and use of facilities like gyms as they do at the University of Cape Town

Variation in tuition fees

Law schools in South Africa don't have a huge variation in tuition fees charged to students, but some do charge more than others. The University of Cape Town is often ranked as one of the best law schools in South Africa, and they charge Home students around R23,500 for their LLM courses. Alternatively, the University of Witwatersrand, which is often also ranked highly among law schools in South Africa, charges R19,150 for their LLM course. The University of Pretoria, another well-respected law school, charged R40,000 on average for their LLM course in 2017 and the University of Cape Town charges international students R60,000. 

Full time, part time and research LLM tuition fees 

Generally, LLM courses in South Africa charge the same total tuition fees regardless of if they are undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis. Research LLM courses can often be charged at a lower rate. For example at the University of Pretoria the LLM by Research costs R16,300 per year compared with the R40,000 for the tuition fees of the taught LLM course. 

Additional fees 

Universities in South Africa usually charge an application fee of around R100 for home students or R300 for international students. Most law schools also charge a deposit for many of their courses – especially graduate courses – and this can be as much as R9,340. This is referred to as the first fee payment or as an acceptance deposit, and is a part payment of the tuition fees. Some institutions charge first time students a non-refundable acceptance of around R250 in addition to further acceptance deposits. 

Other course costs 

Don't forget about extra costs you will incur whilst studying your LLM program, like course materials, textbooks and travelling to and from your classes. Many universities will also charge you fines for late returning of books and for any damage you cause while you are studying at the law school. Many institutions in South Africa will charge students interest on unpaid fees of 1% each month after the final tuition fee payment is due and a 10% charge on late payment of the first instalment of the tuition fees. Most law societies and clubs in South African law schools require the payment of fees for membership as well. 

Tuition fees for LLM programs in South Africa

Here's a table of LLM tuition fees in 2018 at six of the most popular South African law schools for domestic and international students.

South African Law School

Home Tuition Fees

International Tuition Fees

University of Cape Town



University of Witwatersrand



Stellenbosch University


R57,336 (SADC students)

R61,341 (International)

University of KwaZulu Natal



University of Pretoria



University of Johannesburg



SADC students are from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Eswatini, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

South African tuition fees

Other costs associated with studying an LLM in South Africa

There are other costs you will need to cover when studying an LLM in South Africa.

Accommodation – this will differ depending on where you are studying and where you want to live. Living on campus is a popular choice for international students and each university provides comprehensive guides to the cost of on-campus living. Depending on whether you're planning to live in catered or self-catered halls of residence or share accommodation. The University of Witwatersrand charges between R36,300 to R70,861 per year for their accommodation and Stellenbosch University charges around R60,000 per academic year for their on-campus student accommodation.

Food – what you pay for food will vary depending on your diet and lifestyle as an LLM student in South Africa. Most universities advise between R2,000 and R4,000 per month if you're not living in catered halls of residence.

Transport – you're living on campus, then you'll not have much to consider for commuting costs. But if you are staying at home with your parents, or living off campus, then you'll undoubtedly have costs associated with commuting. It depends on the type of vehicle or the way you plan to travel. You might want to consider using public transport or buying a car. If you’re living close enough to the law school campus you could even buy a bicycle, which will cost around R1,200 to purchase.

Healthcare – International students will certainly want to have health and dental insurance for the duration of their courses. Depending on pre-existing conditions and the provider, you should expect to pay from around R370 per month.

Set-up costs – if you’re moving specifically to attend your new law school you would expect to incur some set up costs. Plan to spend around R10,000 to R15,000 on a computer/laptop, and set aside some more cash to make your student accommodation feel a little more like home easing that settling in period.

Returning home – when deciding where to study your LLM program, you should factor in the costs associated with travelling home. If you are coming to South Africa as an international student your flight costs could be quite high, for example a flight to London will cost around R8,000 one way.

*Please note, all LLM tuition fees and other associated costs are figures from 2018.


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