Inez F. Stebbins studied at Oberlin College (near Cleveland, Ohio) in the United States, where she was awarded the degree Bachelor of Arts (BA). In 1904 (or somewhat earlier) she came to the Cape Colony to take up an appointment as teacher of botany at Huguenot College, Wellington, under Dr Bertha Stoneman*. She also taught library science. Meanwhile she continued with post-graduate work in botany through Oberlin College and in 1909 completed her thesis for the degree Master of Arts (MA): A taxonomic study of the trees of the Cape Colony; analytical key based on leaf characters.
Stebbins became a member of the South African Philosophical Society in 1904, but her membership lapsed when it became the Royal Society of South Africa in 1908. She joined the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1905. By 1906 she was a member also of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science, but her membership had lapsed by 1910.