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South Africa: Law, Justice, and Transitions to Democracy

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Program Type

  • OHIO Credit

Academic Focus

  • Humanities and Social Sciences


  • South Africa

Program Term

  • Spring

For additional information contact:

Larry Hayman
Program Director

Dr. Haley Duschinski
Program Director

Courtney Talbot
Program Coordinator, Office of Global Opportunities

Office of Global Opportunities

Application Deadline

Final Deadline: January 19th, 2024!

Apply for this OHIO Credit Program

***For Summer 2024 - Students who apply by the program deadline AND participate in the program, will automatically receive a $250 grant during the term of travel.***

Second half spring semester course and capstone summer travel experience.


Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to the beautiful and vibrant country of South Africa, where you will explore the intersection of law, culture, and politics in one of the world's most diverse and fascinating societies. This CLJC study abroad course offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in South Africa's rich history and dynamic present, while gaining practical experience in legal proceedings through a capstone moot court experience. 

The course is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the South African legal system in its cultural and political context. You will explore South Africa's history of apartheid -- including legalized racial segregation, discrimination, and violence as well as the political uprisings, resistance movements, and legal mobilizations that sought to establish truth and accountability through transitional justice processes.

We will focus on Nelson Mandela and his legacies as well as the complexities of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. You will explore topics such as human rights, constitutional law, criminal law, and international law. Through pre-departure study and on the ground experience, you will learn about the diverse legal frameworks that exist in South Africa, as well as the socio-political issues that have shaped the country’s past, present and future. 

Our program culminates in a moot court experience that allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired throughout the program. You will have the opportunity to argue a case in front of a panel of experienced legal practitioners, receiving feedback and guidance to enhance your persuasion, presentation, and legal skills. This experiential learning opportunity provides insight into what it's like to participate in legal proceedings in another country, helping to prepare you for future career opportunities in international law, domestic law, human rights advocacy, and more. 

Highlights and Excursions 

The study abroad trip also includes visits to:

  • South African Human Rights Commission 
  • Constitutional Court 
  • Robben Island 
  • University of Johannesburg Law 

Additionally, you will explore the cultural and historical landmarks of South Africa, including a visit to the iconic Apartheid Museum, which provides a comprehensive history of apartheid in South Africa. You will also experience the vibrant culture of Capetown and Johannesburg, visiting local markets, attending live music performances, and trying traditional South African cuisine. 

View from mountain looking down on Cape Town. The mountain and water frame the city on the left side of the photo. The water is blue and there is lots of green vegetation surrounding the city.

Information Sessions

  • In-person information session: Thursday, Sept. 7, from 5 to 6 p.m. in Bentley 124
  • Virtual information session: Monday, Sept. 25, from 6-7 p.m. on Microsoft Teams
  • This program will be discussed during the second half of the information session, and Northern Ireland: Human Rights, Law, and Justice 2024 will be discussed during the first half.

Living Arrangements 

Accommodation during the program will be provided in comfortable and safe lodgings with 2-3 students per room, and we will have a dedicated team of experienced staff on hand to provide assistance and support throughout the trip. 

Program Dates 

May 11- May 26, 2024

Students will need to book flights to depart on May 9th or 10th to ensure arrival on May 11th, 2024.


  • Combines rigorous classroom study with immersion in South African legal and political networks 
  • On the ground experiences focusing on the laws and legacies of apartheid , transitional justice processes, access to justice, human rights, and democratic governance.    
  • Capstone moot court experience 
  • Ideal for students interested in international law, human rights advocacy, government, and politics 

Students pick one 7 week spring semester course (March 18-May 4, 2024)

  • Undergraduate
    • ANTH 4590 Legal anthropology in South Africa (3 credits)
    • or
    • SOC 4940 Research problems in sociology in South Africa (3 credits)
  • Graduate
    • ANTH 5590 Legal Anthropology in South Africa (4 credits)

Summer Capstone Experience in South Africa (May 11- May 26, 2024)

  • Undergraduate
    • LJC 4945 Externship in Law, Justice, and Culture (1 credit)
  • Graduate
    • LJC 6930 Independent Study in Law, Justice, and Culture (1 credit)


The program fee for this program includes: Student accommodations, daily breakfast, some group meals, excursions, airport pickup, in-country group flight, and international medical health insurance.

In addition to the program fee, students should plan for appropriate credit hours of tuition*, administrative fee, and out-of-pocket costs. Below is the student budget worksheet for this program, which outlines these costs.  

Student Budget Worksheet

Items that are not related to the program (ie. additional entertainment, souvenirs, extra travel, contingency funds) are not included in the cost estimates provided and should be budgeted for separately.  


  • Non-resident surcharge waived for the credit hours associated with this program. 
  • If you are nominated to this program, you will be required to pay a deposit to confirm your participation. The deposit is a down payment on the total costs to be billed by OHIO and is determined by the total cost of the program. 

Funding Opportunities 

More information on financial aid and scholarships can be found on our funding pages. 

Students should apply for the summer OGO travel scholarships as the travel portion of this program takes place during the summer term.

Eligibility and Requirements 

This program is open to all OHIO undergraduate and graduate students in good academic standing.  

Students who will be on probation at any point during the program for a conduct offense that took place less than a calendar year from the program start date may not study abroad. Read the entire conduct policy

This program accepts NON-OHIO students. For more information about this process visit the Non-OHIO student page  

Participants must have a at least a high school diploma or the equivalent (e.g. GED) by the start date of the program to be considered for eligibility.  Students enrolled in College Credit Plus (CC+) are not eligible for study away programs.

Entry and Exit Requirements 

U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when traveling outside of the United States. If you plan to study or travel abroad in the next year,  apply for your passport  now. Some countries also require a visa to legally enter or reside in the country. 

U.S. citizens  will not  need a visa or other special documents to enter the country for the length of this program. Please also note that visa requirements may vary if you plan to stay in the country longer than the program dates or travel to other countries during or after the program. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to this program. 

For more specific visa-related information, please visit OGO’s  Visa Information Page 

Information for  Non-U.S. citizens