Choosing the Right Course to Study in South Africa

South Africa is known for world-class quality education and students from all over the world flock to the country for studying. There are many study options available to the students and “Selecting the Right Programme” is the need for better future. Before taking admission into an educational institution, students must take into consideration the following phases-

Phase 1: Know Your Goals

Know about your aims, course you want to pursue, and answers to the questions like, what after this course, growth prospects, and learnings from the programme, why this programme, and so on. Once you are clear with your goals and what you want to do, move onto the finding phase.

Phase 2: Research

Research about the educational institutions, the courses offered and admission requirements. Make a list of the institutions that offer the courses/programmes you want to pursue. Go through their respective websites. Most higher education institutions have their own websites. To know about the South African institutions contact information, go to

Call the higher education institution admission office or email and ask about the prospectus. The Institutions also post the information booklets about the courses/programmes offered and other details. 

Phase 3: Visit Campuses

Once you’ve prepared the list of institutions that suits you, visit their respective campuses. Most of the higher education institutions have open days. “Open days” is a great opportunity for prospective students to know more about the institution, courses/programmes and other related services/support provided. During the visit, you can meet the students present there and ask about the institution and services offered. To know about the open-days sessions, contact the respective Institutions. Also, there are career guidance counsellors available at the Universities, Schools in South Africa. You can consult them as well. Clear all your doubts, if any!

Phase 4: Apply

After the “Visiting phase”, make a final call and start applying before deadline. To apply to a specific educational institution, you’re required to get and fill out a University’s application form. Submit the form along with the fee and documents to the concerned institution.

Know about the dates and deadlines of the applications. Most of the higher education institutions close off applications in September or October so submit the forms in time.

General Admission Requirements

The academic requisites will vary depending on the level of education you wish to study in South Africa.

Bachelor Degree: 
  • The minimum admission requirement for the Bachelors degree programme is a National Senior Certificate (NSC).
  • Certificate of exemption from the matriculation endorsement required as issued by the Matriculation Board on behalf of HESA or a conditional admission certificate issued by a university of technology
Master Degree: The minimum admission requirement for the Master’s degree is a Bachelor degree or honours degree in the relevant field along with great academic achievements.

Doctorate Degree: The minimum admission requirement for the Doctorate Degree is a Master’s degree, or a corresponding degree from a professional institution. 

Entrance Examination

National Benchmark Tests: The National Benchmark Test (NBTs) is an entrance tests that evaluates the student’s ability to cope with the entry-level academic literacy, mathematics and quantitative literacy demands they will face in their university studies.  

National Senior Certificate scores: The NSC is a school-leaving certificate in South Africa that is required for admissions into South African Universities. It is also known as “matriculation” (Matric) Certificate.  

Once the application procedure is finished, the institutions will either confirm you admittance to your choice course, or apprise you that you’ve been put in waiting list, or your application has been unsuccessful. 

Phase 5: Apply for Scholarships or Loans and Bursaries

In South Africa, most of the higher education institutions offer scholarships, loans or bursaries to the pupils. 

To know about the Scholarships, click here.

To know about the Loans and Bursaries, click here

Phase 6: Apply for Study Visa

Once you get the acceptance letter from the higher education institution, apply for student visa at the South African Embassy at your place of residence. Apply in time with necessary documentation.


Before leaving for South Africa, check the following things-
  • Take your Visa and Passport. 
  • Make accommodation and other arrangements before your departure.
  • Carry your birth certificate and a copy of the same along with you.
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