Opens for applications 10 February


We grant scholarships to a large number of master’s programmes starting in the autumn semester 2020. Check the list of master’s programmes that are eligible for SI Scholarships for South Africa (SISSA) for the academic year 2020/2021.

  1. To begin with, apply for a master’s programme at, between 16 October 2019 – 15 January 2020.
  2. Apply for an SI scholarship between 10 – 20 February 2020, follow the instructions below.

Up to 10 scholarships will be awarded to South African citizens attending master’s degree studies starting in the autumn semester 2020.

What's included

The scholarship covers

*The travel grant is a one-time payment for the entire scholarship period. The grant is not applicable to students already living in Sweden.

The scholarship does not cover

  • Additional grants for family members.
  • Application fee to University Admissions.

Scholarship period

The scholarship is intended for full-time one-year or two-year master’s programmes, and is only awarded for programmes starting in the autumn semester. The tuition fee will be paid directly to the Swedish universities in the beginning of each semester. The stipend for living expenses is paid monthly during the scholarship period.

The scholarship period cannot be changed or extended beyond the awarded scholarship period, nor can the scholarship be transferred to a study programme other than the awarded master’s programme.


Country of citizenship

Only citizens of South Africa are eligible for SISSA.

Read more about country of citizenship

Master’s programmes

The master's studies must be eligible for SI scholarships. We give greatest priority to certain subject areas.

Read more about the eligible master’s programmes

University admissions

You must be liable to pay tuition fees to Swedish universities, followed the steps of university admission, and be admitted to one of the eligible master’s programmes by 3 April 2020.

Read more about our criteria regarding University Admissions

Other eligibility criteria

There are also conditions regarding dual citizenships, previous residence and studies in Sweden, and more.

Read more about other eligibility criteria

Who we are looking for

The Swedish Institute Scholarships for South Africa (SISSA) programme is part of the Swedish government’s international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders who will contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and administered by the Swedish Institute (SI). The programme offers a unique opportunity for future leaders to develop professionally and academically, to experience Swedish society and culture, and to build a long-lasting relationship with Sweden and with each other. SISSA is a special initiative in connection with the Binational Commission agreement between Sweden and South Africa.

The goal is to enable the scholarship holders to play an active role in the positive development of the societies in which they live. Ideal candidates are ambitious young professionals with academic qualifications, demonstrated leadership experience, ambition to make a difference by working with issues which contribute to a just and sustainable development in their country in a long term perspective, and a clear idea of how a study programme in Sweden would benefit their country.

Priority will be given to applicants who

  1. have completed bachelor’s with honours or equivalent from a South African university,
  2. have demonstrated work and leadership experience, and
  3. choosing study programmes with an emphasis on one of the following subject areas (listed in alphabetical order, no priority or ranking is implied):
  • Computer science and IT
  • Design (industrial design, architecture, urban/regional planning)
  • Engineering
  • Environmental technology/Sustainable development
  • Gender studies
  • Nanotechnology
  • Public health

We recommend that you also look for other scholarship opportunities from your government, from organisations in your country, or from Swedish universities.

Required documents

You should only submit the required documents listed below in your online scholarship application. We will not consider any other documents than the required ones. You must complete your applications in English. Use our forms provided below and complete them according to the instructions, otherwise your applications will be disqualified.

The compulsory documents required are:

  • A motivation letter: you must use the SISSA form for motivation letter 2020/2021. You need to fill in and upload the motivation letter as a PDF-file on the application portal during the application period.
  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV): you must use the SISSA template for CV 2020/2021 and the CV should not exceed three pages. It’s up to you to decide which parts are relevant for your application. Additional pages will not be considered.
  • A copy of your passport: your personal data including name, citizenship and photograph must be shown clearly. Copy of passport should be included together with the CV as a last fourth page. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have a copy of your valid passport showing that your citizenship is South Africa, to include in your application.

Make sure you have a complete application

A complete application must consist of:

  1. a completed motivation letter
  2. a CV
  3. a copy of your valid passport

If your application is missing one of the required documents above, it will be disqualified.

If you apply to several master’s programmes

You should submit only one scholarship application for all the eligible master’s programmes that you applied for at It means, in one scholarship application, you can apply for SI scholarships for up to four eligible master’s programmes that you applied at However, if you have also applied for master’s programme(s) at Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), you should create and submit an additional scholarship application separately for the master’s programme(s) at SSE. If you only want to apply for SI scholarships for master’s programme(s) at SSE, you only need to submit one scholarship application for all the master’s programms you applied for at SSE.

Each scholarship application should have only one of each required document (and optional documents) attached, no matter how many master’s programmes you applied for. If you have applied at both and SSE, you should attach all the required documents (and optional documents) in both the scholarship applications.

Optional documents

Work and leadership experience is not a requirement for citizens of South Africa who apply to SISSA. However, it will be a merit if you have demonstrated work and leadership experience. In this case, please use our forms to provide one or two letters of reference and proof of work and leadership experience. You should not submit any other documents not listed here.

  • One or two letters of reference: you must use the SISSA form for letter of reference 2020/2021. The letter can be based on any types of work you had. The letters should be signed by the referee and stamped with official stamp of the referred organisation or a notary office. The form(s) should be typed, then printed, signed and stamped; and then be uploaded as one PDF-file. You can find more information in the instruction in the form and in our FAQ.
  • Proof of work and leadership experience: you must use the SISSA form for proof of work and leadership experience 2020/2021. The experience should be signed by the referee and stamped with official stamp of the referred organisation or a notary office. The form(s) should be typed, then printed, signed and stamped; and then be uploaded as one PDF-file. You can find more information in the instruction in the form and in our FAQ.

Data protection and integrity

The Swedish Institute (SI) is a public agency. As such, all applications received by SI are in the public domain. We use the personal information you give us to process your application. If your application is granted, we will continue to use this personal information in order to handle your scholarship. We deal with this information in accordance with the Swedish Principle of Public Access to Information and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Your personal information is handled by SI employees as well as outside experts who have signed a contract of compliance. For more information please read SI’s privacy policy.

How to apply

Opens in February

The application period for SI scholarships for master's studies starting in the autumn semester 2020 is 10-20 February 2020. You are suggested to also look for other scholarship opportunities at