What are the entrance requirements for universities and technikons? How do I go about choosing the right institution? Where can I get financial assistance? How do I register as a foreign student? Get the answers to these and other questions on higher education in South Africa - plus all the related links you need to find out more.
The minimum requirement for entrance to one of the countryís 21 universities for an undergraduate degree is a Senior Certificate with matric endorsement issued by the South African Certification Council (SACC) or a certificate of exemption issued by the Matriculation Board on behalf of the SACC.
For matric endorsement, a minimum of three subjects must be passed on the higher grade as opposed to the standard grade. Some universities set additional academic requirements.
For further details on university entrance requirements, visit the Matriculation Board, an organisation that advises the South African Vice-Chancellors Association on minimum university requirements.
What will ensure entry into a technikon?
What are the differences between technikons and universities?
Universities offer a three-year bachelorís degree as the basic qualification, followed by masterís and doctoral degrees. Career-oriented degrees take four years Ė for example, a BA Ed (education) or more - as in the case of architecture, engineering or medicine. Universities also offer undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas.
Honours degrees usually comprise one year of study after a bachelorís degree. A masterís degree Ė comprised of research or course work or a combination of the two - is awarded after a minimum of one year of study after a four-year undergraduate qualification. Doctorates are awarded after a minimum two years of study and a research thesis.
How do we go about choosing the right institution for our daughter?
Although most universities and technikons are located in major cities, there are also several high quality institutions in outlying areas. Your decision will depend on your daughterís matric results, preferred field of study, funds available and personal preference. (See below for information on student finance.)
As a foreign student, what are my chances of studying in South Africa?
For students wanting to study abroad visit Studying in South Africa. This is a useful website with plenty of information for foreign students on the country, its universities, technikons and technical colleges. The site provides basic information on study permits, visas etc and gives a useful introduction to the higher education system. It also provides links to all the institutions and gives plenty of information on the different offerings of each. Order the publication in hardcopy from the site.
Foreign students need to apply for a study permit at the South African High Commission, Embassy, Consulate or Trade Mission in their country. Study permits, which are renewed annually, are given for studies in certain fields. For more detailed, step-by-step information, visit Studying in SAís student info page.
The South African Qualifications Authority will evaluate the level of education obtained so far by a foreign student, to determine their entry level. The Matriculation Board will also do this for students applying to universities.
How many students are enrolled in higher education?
Where can I get a bank loan or bursary to further my studies?
Banks also give student study loans. Go to Ananzi for a list of links to South African banks, some which will provide specific information on student loans.
For more scholarship opportunities check out:
SA-USA Fulbright Commission. Post-graduate study grants (Masters and PhD level) to the United States.
Educational Opportunities Council. Offers bursaries to South African students to higher education institutions around the world.
Opportunities in higher education. Department of Education web page with links to local and international opportunities, and to a directory of scholarship, fellowship and exchange programme offers.
Northern Cape Premier's Education Trust Fund. Offers bursaries for full-time study in particular fields at South African universities to academically deserving and financially needy Northern Cape residents.
What opportunities exist for research?
The legacy of apartheid left a duplicated and fragmented higher education sector. Its size and shape is now being redesigned so that the sector more closely meets the countryís social and economic needs. The plan is to steer more students into the sciences and embark on an equity drive to compel institutions to open their doors to more black, women and disabled students and staff, by withholding funding if they do not comply. As part of the restructuring plan to eradicate duplication and establish centres of excellence, some institutions are likely to close or merge with others.