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  • Offer degrees only (BA, BCom, BSc etc.), 3 or 4 years programmes which allow you to do postgraduate studies (Honors, Masters and Doctoral degrees). Focus on giving theoretical knowledge.

  • E.g. Wits, Univ. of Cape Town, Univ. of Pretoria, etc.


  • Offer National diploma (N Dip), done in 2 to 3 years.

  • Focus on practicals (internship in a company for at least six months during your third year).

  • more than theory.

  • E.g. TUT, Vaal, etc.


  • The University of Johannesburg offers both diplomas, "technology degrees" (Btech) and degrees. For Btech degrees of the Faculty of Engineering, you need to do a six months in service training.


  • Online courses.

  • You study at home.

  • It can be quite lonely.

  • But the material is easy to use and you can join study groups. 

  • E.g. UNISA, tuition free People University in USA (


To pass your Matric (National Senior Certificate), you need a minimum of:

  • 30 %  in 3 subjects;

  • 40 % in 3 subjects, including Vernacular.

Your Matric results determine if you can apply for a bachelor Degree, a Diploma or a Higher certificate.

Bachelor degree:

  • 30 % in the language of learning (Vernacular);

  • at least 50 % in 4 subjects.


  • 30 % in the language of learning;

  • at least 40 % in 4 subjects.


Even if you get a "Bachelor" pass, you might not be admitted for a bachelor degree, as there are many more applicants than space available. Universities, universities of technology and colleges also have their own entrance requirements (points and subjects) for specific degrees, diplomas and certificates which you will have to meet over and above the “Bachelor” pass to be considered for admission.


To study at University, learners must meet a minimum level of points called APS (Admission Points Score). You add all the levels obtained in 6 or 7 subjects (Life Orientation is often not included). Check the university prospectus for more info.

APS calculation :

Percentage (%)         Points

80-100                        7

70-79                          6

60-69                          5

50-59                          4

40-49                          3

30-39                          2

0-29                            1


  • Check when are the Open dates (very good to attend). Some are already in March (UP, Wits).


  • Check the minimum levels (APS, marks) you need to get a chance to be admitted on the prospectus of universities; At Wits, you get 0 points if your marks are below 40 %.

  • You sometimes also need a minimum of marks in Maths, English and other subjects - check the prospectus of each University.

  • For some Faculties (like Health and Sciences At Wits and UCT), the results of the NBT test are as important as your marks. Even if you have 7 distinctions but you fail the test, you will not be admitted ! To get more info, go directly to the Faculty and meet an adviser. Note that NBT tests have been suspended for the 2021 academic year due to Covid.

  • Check the application deadlines dates (between May and October, depending on each University and Faculty

  • Competition is very tough to get admitted at Varsity. Even if you have the levels required, you might not get admitted because of lack of spaceYou need more than the minimum APS and levels/subjects which are on the prospectus (+ 5 at UJ in average)

  • You have more chance to get admitted in Universities outside of Gauteng.

  • Sometimes it is better to study a diploma than a degree. For instance:

    • Doing a BSC in biochemestry at UJ qualifies you for becoming a sales representative for a drug firm or a large pharmacy. 

    • To register with a professional body, you need to do a Honors degree but there only about 10 places per year! Biochemistry at TUT and university of technology level offers much more practical learning and better chance to get a job.

  • Check the application deadlines dates (between May and October, depending on each University and Faculty). Note that some universities are open for late admission in January when you have received your matric results (UJ, TUT, Walter Sisulu university, University of Zululand in 2022)

  • At UJ, all choices (1st and second) are processed regardless of their order of preference and if you apply in January via Mobi (late admission), it does NOT cancel any choices. UJ just process the additional choice as well.

  • Even if you apply with your Gr 11 results, admission is based on your Gr 12 results (except for a few courses mostly in Health faculties)


University of Johannesburg

Tshwane University of Technology

Vaal University of Technology

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (Wits)

University of Pretoria

9. Q&A

Can I apply at a Tvet college and then the next year go to university?

Nsfas is only funding for 3 years-so better to either study at Tvet, or upgrade your marks and start university next year


How do you accept one offer from UJ if you have been admitted for 2 courses? 

When you register, choose the right one


When should I register ? Must I  wait for Nsfas approval ?

If you have been admitted at UJ, and you are happy, register as soon as possible (otherwise, you might loose your spot). Normally, you won’t have any registration fee to pay.

1. Academic Universities
2. Universities of Technology
3. Combined
4. Distance Learning
5. Degree, Diploma or Certificate?
6. How Do I Calculate My Points?
7. Tips
8. Links
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