A bachelor’s degree is a four-year undergraduate degree. Historically, the term “college degree” meant a bachelor’s or traditional four-year degree.
It typically takes four years of full-time study to complete your bachelor’s degree encompassing 120-semester credits or around 40 college courses. If your college uses a quarter system rather than a semester system, you’ll need to complete a minimum of 180 quarter credits to earn an accredited bachelor’s degree.
The minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor, has amended the minimum admission requirements for a Bachelor’s degree in South Africa.
In a government gazette published on Friday (30 November), Pandor said that the changes were made after consulting the Council on Higher Education and will apply retroactively from 1 August 2018.
The new minimum admission requirement is a National Senior Certificate (NSC) with:
- A minimum of 30% in the language of learning and teaching of the higher education institution as certified by Umalusi.
- An achievement rating of 50 – 59% or better in four 20-credit NSC subjects.
A 20-credit NSC subject is a subject recognised for the seven-subject NSC package, which is where the biggest change comes in.
In March 2018, the Department of Higher Education revoked the country’s designated list of subjects, effectively making all 20 credit-bearing subjects offered as part of the NSC now have equal status (excluding Life Orientation).
Previously, for a Bachelor’s entry, matrics would have to have passed four subjects from a designated list of 18 – these were:
Accounting, Agricultural Sciences, Business Studies, Dramatic Arts, Economics, Engineering Graphics and Design, Geography, History, Consumer Studies, Information Technology, Languages, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Music, Physical Sciences, Religion Studies, Visual Arts.
Now, of a pupil’s seven subjects in matric, all they require for Bachelor entry is 30% in the respective language, and higher than 50% for any four other subjects, excluding Life Orientation.
These requirements work with the pass requirements to achieve the NSC, making the following the minimum requirements to gain entry to a Bachelor’s Degree programme:
- Pass one official language at Home Language level at 40% or more.
- Pass 4 subjects at 50% or more (excluding Life Orientation).
- Pass 2 other subjects at a minimum of 30%.
- Meet the language requirement for entry to further study (30% or more).
“Adequate achievement in the NSC and in at least four 20-credit NSC subjects provides the primary basis for admission to a Bachelor’s Degree programme,” the gazette states.
However, the department noted that an institution is entitled to specify an appropriate level of subject achievement for a particular programme.
“For example, admission requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree programme in Fine Art or Music might include a specified level of achievement in the corresponding recognised NSC subject(s),” it said.
“Similarly, an institution will be entitled to specify subject requirements for a particular programme. For example, Mathematics and Physical Science might be considered as requirements for admission to a Bachelor of Science Degree.”
The change in policy has been criticised by some universities, saying that it would make it easier for matrics to now attain entry into a Bachelor’s programme, and subsequently lead to a flood of applications at institutions that already struggle to place matrics.
What does a bachelor’s degree require?
It typically takes four years of full-time study to complete your bachelor’s degree encompassing 120-semester credits or around 40 college courses.
If your college uses a quarter system rather than a semester system, you’ll need to complete a minimum of 180 quarter credits to earn an accredited bachelor’s degree.
How many years do you have to study for a bachelor’s degree?
Four years, Bachelor’s degrees typically take four years of full-time study to complete, but some universities offer accelerated programs that can be completed faster.