Undergraduate qualifications

FAQs for undergraduate higher certificates, diplomas and degrees

Distance learning and Unisa

How do I know if I’m ready for distance learning?

Many of us do not know what it’s really like to study through distance learning because most of our schooling and post-school education was completed through contact or face-to-face learning. We have developed a number of videos to help you assess how ready you are for distance learning. Click here to watch the videos.

Is Unisa a correspondence university?

Unisa is an open distance learning (ODL) university. Open distance learning is a different way of learning - there is a physical distance between you and your university. For most of us, this means that our previous learning experiences will not have prepared us for the Unisa study journey. In distance learning, YOU are responsible for your studies. You don’t attend daily lectures. You learn from a distance and you connect to the university mostly via the internet.
Visit www.unisa.ac.za/odl for more information.

Career and qualifications

What qualifications does Unisa offer?

Unisa offers different levels of qualifications:

I don’t know which qualification to choose.

Our careers are a work in progress and you continuously need to make career decisions, including what to study. Your starting point is to understand what kind of opportunities you want to prepare for. If you want to be a teacher, for example, you need to choose a qualification such as the Bachelor of Education degree to prepare you to be a teacher. If you want to be able to work in finance, you might choose to start with a Bachelor of Accounting Science degree to prepare you for finance-related opportunities.

The next step is to do research about yourself (your interests, values and skills) and career opportunities (by doing research on Google, job websites, talking to professionals in person and on LinkedIn, and doing job shadowing and volunteer work). This process will help you to understand what qualifications are more relevant to your career. Complete these career counselling activities to help you make a decision about what to study.

I know what I’m interested in, but am not sure what to study.

Your interests play an important role in sustaining your career and shaping specific career choices. Often, you are sure of what you like, but are not sure of what jobs are related to your interests. Click here to explore job titles related to specific interests.

Applying for admission

Who must apply for admission?

  • Everyone wanting to start a new qualification must apply for admission. This includes first-time Unisa applicants, Unisa students changing to a new qualification and applicants who previously applied for admission but were not offered a space.
  • Everyone completing a Higher Certificate or Alternative Pathway / Extended Programme must apply for admission to a follow-on qualification.
  • You must re-apply for admission if you previously applied for admission and received feedback, but did not register for any reason.
  • Everyone planning to enrol at a Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college under the Unisa-TVET agreement must apply for admission.

When can I apply?

Unisa will accept applications for admission to undergraduate qualifications (higher certificates, diplomas & degrees) for the 2019 academic year from 21 August to 28 September 2018.

How many qualifications can I apply for?

You can now apply for a maximum of two qualifications. You may be offered a place based on the following: whether you meet the academic admission requirements for your qualification of choice, your minimum points score and the number of places available for the qualification for which you have applied.

How do I apply?

Visit the Unisa application website (www.unisa.ac.za/apply) and follow the 5-step process.

I studied previously through Unisa. Must I also submit my academic record?

Yes, please obtain this information from myUnisa and submit your academic record as part of the application process. Please note that you do not need to get this unofficial academic record certified, as Unisa can verify the information against the Unisa database.

Will I still be able to submit any outstanding documents after applications have closed?

Unisa will not accept any late applications or documents submitted after the closing date for applications. You will need to re-apply for the 2020 academic year.

Will I be able to change my proposed qualification to a diploma or higher certificate if my Grade 12 results don’t give me admission to my degree of choice?

No qualification can be changed or added after the closing date for applications. You may apply for a maximum of two qualifications during the application process. We suggest that you also therefore apply for a qualification at a lower level to make provision for a situation such as this.

Current or returning Unisa students who wish to change to a new qualification / specialisation may ONLY apply for this change during the relevant application period.

I’m currently in Grade 12. When should I apply?

If you are in Grade 12 this year (2018), please apply for the 2019 academic year. The application period for the 2019 academic year will be open from 21 August to 28 September 2018.

Fees and student funding

Is there an application fee? If so, how much is it?

  • The non-refundable application for self-help and online applications is R105,00.
  • The non-refundable application fee for hard copy applications is R160,00.

This application fee is non-refundable even if you decide not to study through Unisa or do not qualify for admission to Unisa.

Please note: The closing date for applications is the closing date for the application fee. No late fees will be accepted.

Who must pay the application fee?

Only first-time applicants at Unisa have to pay the application fee. You do not need to pay the application fee if you have previously paid an application fee at Unisa.

Is the application fee subject to a cooling-off period?


When can I apply for NSFAS funding?

Visit the NSFAS website for all information related to NSFAS funding for 2019.

After applying for admission

I’ve applied. What happens now?

  • Unisa will assess your application, which includes the points score system. You may be offered a place based on the following: whether you meet the academic admission requirements for your qualification of choice, your minimum points score and the number of places available for the qualification for which you have applied.
  • Please note that you will not automatically be accepted to study through Unisa even if you meet the above requirements for your qualification(s) of choice. Students will be accommodated on the basis of the number of places available for each qualification.
  • Unisa will inform you of the outcome of your application. If successful, Unisa will indicate for which qualification you have been accepted and will offer you a space for the period for which you have applied.
  • You must accept or decline Unisa's offer within the prescribed period of time.
  • If you accept Unisa's offer, you must register for the period for which you have been granted admission. Should you not register for the relevant semester of study, you will need to re-apply for admission during the next application period.

When can I expect feedback on my online application?

The verification of applications takes some time. You may only receive feedback from Unisa six to eight weeks after the closing date for applications.

I’ve applied for one qualification, but now want to change to another qualification. What should I do?

It is, unfortunately, not possible to change your qualification once you have submitted your application. You will need to apply for the new qualification during the next application period.


I want to register, but didn’t apply during the application period. What should I do?

You will need to apply for admission during the next application period. Please visit www.unisa.ac.za/apply for more information.