News & events

MBL teach out plan

Following regulatory changes to the qualification framework, the SBL obtained accreditation from the Council on Higher Education (CHE) to offer the Master of Business Leadership (MBL) degree on level 9 of the National Qualification Framework (NQF) from 2017. The purpose of this announcement is to inform you of the teach-out plan of the MBL Programme that you are currently registered for.

As background, the Higher Education Qualification Framework (HEQF), which was promulgated in October 2007, provided for the establishment of a single qualification framework for higher education institutions in order to facilitate the development of a single national coordinated higher education system. The revised Higher Education Sub-Framework (HEQSF) was promulgated in August 2013 and provides the basis for integrating all higher education qualifications into the NQF. In 2008 the NQF Act brought about the new changes in the NQF levels. This resulted in an increase in the NQF levels to ten from the previous eight. Following this, Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) were requested to align their qualifications to the revised HEQSF.

As a comprehensive distance learning university, Unisa has revised all its qualifications in the light of the HEQSF. This has resulted in changes to qualifications currently being offered, the phasing out of some existing qualifications and the introduction of new qualifications. The SBL, along with other members of the South African Business Schools Association (SABSA), approached the CHE on behalf of the business schools, with a request that the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and MBL degrees be re-aligned to be offered on NQF level 9 and that the MBA be classified as a professional degree. Prior to 2016, all MBA and MBL degrees offered in South Africa were pegged at NQF level 8.

This required the re-curriculation of the programmes that included a rigorous peer evaluation process. The SBL submitted two new qualifications (i.e. MBL and MBA) and obtained accreditation for both programmes as they met the criteria and minimum standards for accreditation by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) that grants the accreditation status to programmes.  As a result, the MBL qualification currently offered by the SBL is being phased out and replaced by the recurriculated MBL qualification, aligned to the Revised Higher Education Qualification Sub-Framework. The following table summarises the teach-out phases and measures that will be implemented during the teach-out period:

Qualification Last date for first-time registration Final date for completion of qualification New qualification to replace current qualifications Articulation with other qualifications
Master of Business Leadership January 2016 2016 MBL1:  December 2021   2015 MBL1: December 2020   2014 MBL 1: December 2019 Restructured Master of Business Leadership Students who do not complete this qualification by the final date may articulate into the restructured Master of Business Leadership or Master of Business Administration,   provided that the relevant admission requirements are met. The number of modules that may be transferred will be determined based on the equivalency of modules, NQF levels and credits.

Students currently registered for the NQF level 8 MBL programme will continue with this programme and exit with an MBL qualification at NQF level 8. Whilst the modules may be common across the current and new MBL programmes they are not equivalent as the admission requirements, content, and the research requirements, differ. The current qualification remains a relevant and a qualification of choice in South Africa and beyond. Kindly refer to the list of frequently asked questions in Annexure 1.   Students currently enrolled in the MBL degree may transfer their studies to the newly introduced MBA or MBL. Applications will only be considered if admission criteria are met as outlined in the qualification brochures. If a student considers this option, he/she is required to apply and register for the degree. Automatic exemptions apply to the following modules:

PDG/MBL modules successfully completed MBA/L module exemption granted
Accounting for Managers (PGD4807) or Financial and Management Accounting (MBL914-N) Accounting for Managers
Economics for Managers (PGD4801) or Economics and the Global Business Environment (MBL916-Q) Economics for Managers

To qualify for the exemption of modules, you are required to complete a DSAR04 form. The completed form must be submitted as part of your registration documents. To conclude, the SBL is determined to provide you with the necessary support to enable you to complete the MBL qualification within the allocated period. Frequently asked questions

  Question Answer
1. Is my current qualification downgraded? No, the qualification is realigned to the new qualification framework. This is not unique to the SBL and applies to all MBAs offered prior to 2016. It also applies to all other Master’s and Doctoral degrees conferred prior to re-alignment.   (To put this in context – is a grade 12  a better qualification than a standard 10?)  
2. Which modules will I be exempted from if I qualify for admission onto the revised MBL or MBA? Accounting for Mangers and Economics for Mangers modules.
3. Will I get automatic exemption? No, you have to complete DSAR04 form upon registration in order for your exemption request to be processed.
4. What will be my options if I do not finish by the official completion date, and do not qualify for admission onto the revised MBL? You can be admitted onto Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration (PGD) and apply for exemption of qualifying modules. You can access the revised MBL upon completion of the PGD providing you meet the minimum admission requirements .
5      . Will I be able to articulate to Doctor of Business Leadership upon completion of the current MBL? Yes, provided you qualify for selection as well as availability of a supervisor for your research focus area. 
7. How does the current qualification differ from the new qualification?
  Current MBL New MBL
Admission Requirements
  • Hold a three-year recognised Bachelor’s degree, with 360 SAQA credits or Higher National Diploma or Advanced Diploma from an accredited institution
  • Have had at least three years’ managerial experience, to ensure that they can contribute meaningfully to group discussions, assignments and the study schools
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree
  • Hold a Bachelor Honours Degree, or a Postgraduate Diploma or a 480-credit Bachelor’s Degree with a minimum of 96 credits at NQF level 8
  • Be proficient in the English language
  • The prospective student must be willing to undergo the prescribed selection process
  • Five years’ managerial experience
NQF Level 8 9
Credits 360 credits First year (all modules are compulsory)
  • Human Resource Management and Employment Relations (20 credits)
  • Operations Management (20 credits)
  • Marketing Management (20 credits)
  • Financial and Management Accounting (20 credits)
  • Strategic Management (20 credits)
  • Economics and the Global Business Environment (20 credits)
Second year (all modules are compulsory)
  • Leadership and Organisational Dynamics (20 credits)
  • Strategic Financial Management (20 credits)
  • Strategy Dynamics and International Business (20 credits)
  • Information Resource Management (20 credits)
  • Business Research (20 credits)
  • Business Ethics (20 credits)
Third year A compulsory year module: Executive Project Management and a field study (24 credits) A research report (72 credits) An elective module (9 options; 24 credits each)
180 credits 5 compulsory semester modules (12 credits each)
  • Economics for managers
  • Accounting for managers
  • Value-based management
  • Corporate governance and ethics
  • Strategic Financial management
2 compulsory year modules (24 credits each)
  • Leading People
  • Leading Strategic Change
2 electives (8 options; 12 credits each) Strategic Leadership Project (Research Report, 48 credits)
Mode of Delivery Blended Blended
Duration of studies 3 years 2 years
Articulation DBL DBL

Publish date: 2017/12/08