- Duration: 1 year.
- Content: professionally oriented programmes with general subjects.
- Admission requirements: National Certificate or National Senior Certificate (NSC) which states that the graduate has met the requirements for admission to Higher Certificate programmes.
- Diploma: Higher Certificate.
- Duration: 3 years.
- Content: professionally oriented programmes.
- Admission requirements: Higher Certificate or National Senior Certificate (NSC) which states that the graduate has met the requirements for admission to (National) Diploma programmes.
- Diploma: (National) Diploma.
- Duration: 3 to 6 years; programmes in humanities, commerce and science usually last 3 years, nursing science and law 4 years, architecture 5 years, dentistry 5½ years and veterinary science and medicine 6 years.
- Content: varies per specialisation, sometimes an internship, usually no thesis.
- Admission requirements: the National Senior Certificate (NSC) which states that the minimum requirements for admission to bachelor's degree programmes have been met + extra requirements, such as certain subjects and/or grades. A (National) Diploma may also grant admission to bachelor's programmes in the same specialisation, with exemptions.
- Diploma: Bachelor, such as Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Technology, Bachelor of Engineering.
Bachelor honours degree
- Duration: 1 or 2 years.
- Content: either research and a dissertation or a package of taught subjects that is concluded with a final paper or research report.
- Admission requirements: a bachelor honours degree or a bachelor’s degree following a 4- tot 6-year programme.
- Diploma: Master, such as Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Technology, Master of Commerce, Master of Engineering, Master of Social Science, Master of Philosophy.
Doctoral degree (PhD)
Types of higher education institutions
Higher education institutions in South Africa can offer both higher professional education and research-oriented higher education. There are 2 types of higher education institutions:
- public universities; and
- private higher education institutions
There are 3 types of public universities:
- universities of technology;
- comprehensive universities.
Universities are the traditional academic universities. They offer mainly research-oriented higher education.
Universities of technology
Universities of technology are non-university institutions (technikons) that turned into universities. These institutions offer higher professional education. When students do research, it is practice-oriented.
Comprehensive universities are a combination of the traditional academic universities and universities of technology. They are the result of mergers of technikons and traditional universities. Comprehensive universities offer both higher professional education and research-oriented higher education.
Private higher education institutions
Higher education is also offered by private higher education institutions. These institutions mainly offer higher professional education.