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Qualifications: credits, modules and NQF levels

Credits are the number of notional study hours required for achieving the learning outcomes. Notional hours include study time, assignments and examinations. The credit rating system rates 10 notional hours as equivalent to one credit.

For example: a Higher Certificate has 120 credits consisting of a 10 x 12 credit module. A module consisting of 12 credits equates to 120 notional hours. It therefore requires at least 8 hours of study per week in a 15-week semester.

Qualifications require a certain number of credits, broken down into smaller units. At Unisa, undergraduate modules are usually 12 credits. Each module is pegged according to a specific NQF level. A bachelor’s degree of 360 credits, for example, consists of 30 modules of 12 credits each.

A bachelor’s degree may consist of between:

  • 8 and 10 modules of 12 credits each at NQF level 5;
  • 10 to 12 modules of 12 credits each at NQF level 6;
  • 10 modules of 12 credits each at NQF level 7.

These levels follow on from one another. When choosing a module, you must first have passed the module at the lower level. Before you can be awarded a qualification, you must have completed the required number of credits; and the modules must be completed at the required NQF level.

Plan your curriculum using the information on the registration website.

New NQF levelVocationalProfessionalGeneral
10   Doctoral degree Doctoral degree
9   Master’s degree Master’s degree
8 Postgraduate diploma Postgraduate diploma
Bachelor degree
Honours degree
Bachelor degree
7 Advanced diploma Bachelor degree
Advanced diploma
Bachelor degree
6 Diploma (240 credits and 360 credits) Diploma (360 credits)  
6 Advanced certificate (120 credits)    
5 Higher certificate (120 credits)