Higher Certificate

(National) Diploma

We compare the (National) Diploma following a 3-year programme, to 3 years of higher professional education (HBO).

Bachelor’s degree

  • 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.

We compare the bachelor's degree, following a 3-year programme, to 3 years of higher professional education (HBO).

We compare the bachelor's degree in architecture to a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare the bachelor's degree, following a 4-year programme, to an HBO or a WO bachelor’s degree. This depends on the content of the study programme.

We compare the bachelor's degree in dentistry to at least a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare the bachelor's degree in veterinary science to at least a WO bachelor’s degree.

We compare the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBCh) to at least a WO bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor honours degree

  • Duration: at least 1 year.
  • Content: deepening the knowledge that students have acquired during the bachelor's degree.
  • Admission requirements: a bachelor’s degree.
  • Diploma: Bachelor Honours, such as Bachelor of Arts Honours and Bachelor of Commerce Honours.

We compare the bachelor honours degree to an HBO or a WO bachelor’s degree. This depends on the content of the study programme.

Master's 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.

We compare the master's degree is comparable to an HBO or a WO master’s degree. This depends on the content and duration of the study programme.

Doctoral degree (PhD)

  • Duration: at least 2 years.
  • Content: research and a dissertation.
  • Admission requirements: a master's degree and possibly extra requirements.
  • Diploma: PhD and Doctor of Philosophy.

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

Public universities

There are 3 types of public universities:

  • universities;
  • universities of technology;
  • comprehensive universities.

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

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.