Course of Study

Student Life

The Cape Town Policy in Action study away program partners Williams with three South African institutions: CIEE, the international study abroad organization, the Economic Policy Research Institute (EPRI), and the University of Cape Town (UCT). In this program, student life services (orientation, room/board, extracurricular activities, transportation, etc.) and registration for regular UCT courses are provided by CIEE. EPRI provides additional orientation for the EPRI courses and fieldwork.

Students enrolling in the Williams “Policy in Action” variant of CIEE’s Cape Town Arts and Sciences Program take a total of four courses from among the following:


This hybrid course is offered by EPRI leadership. The format is part seminar/part tutorial with half the course sessions conducted seminar style focused on issues in public economics with common readings, discussion and problem sets. The second half of course sessions are tutorial pairings where Williams students are paired with a member of parliament or a government minister. Each week, the pairs alternate writing 2-3 page essays on particular problems. For more information about this course, contact Michael Samson ([email protected]). Williams professor, Michael Samson, also holds the titles of EPRI co-director, instructor for the aforementioned tutorial, and lead Director of Research for the following Fieldwork Independent Study.

Fieldwork Independent Study

Students work 15 hours per week on a research project at the EPRI. Supervision at EPRI includes oversight by Michael Samson. This experiential course consists of daily meetings, assigned projects and independent research outcomes. Michael Samson is the lead instructor for this course.

University of Cape Town regular semester course

Students choose from a short list of UCT courses, the subject matter of which relates to the other academic and field work in the program.

Intensive Course

Students have the option to take one of EPRI’s two-week master’s level intensive courses. These courses consist of a dozen 12 hour days of lectures, discussions, and workshops. The scheduling is coordinated with UCT’s semester calendar. See here for a detailed description of a prior course.

Popular Topics of Interest

With the program’s strong focus on politics, society, economics, and development, student demand will likely concentrate itself amongst those interested in social sciences. There is strong evidence of interest in Africa among Economics majors: several work at EPRI and other anti-poverty NGOs in South Africa each summer. A broader social sciences orientation will likely attract other majors, potentially those in other divisions. Pre-med students, for example, have historically had a strong interest in EPRI internships and other opportunities in South Africa.

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