University Qualifications Explained

All University qualifications fall into the NQF category Levels 5 to 10.

1 Higher Certificate and Advanced Certificate Levels 5 and 6

The Higher Certificate Level 5 and Advanced Certificate Level 6 are both one-year qualifications. The Advanced Certificated is equivalent to a 2-Year Diploma at Level 6


2 Two Year Diploma Level 6

Many Universities of Technology, especially in Engineering, had opted to replace the previous 3-year Diploma with the new 2-year Diploma. Work Integrated Learning at the workplace is not a compulsory option in the new 2-year Diploma.

Engineering Council Technician Registration

Engineering students who graduate with the 2-year Diploma, are required to complete, on their own, one-year of mandatory Work Integrated Learning with an Employer in order to be eligible to register and practice as a Technician. The Work Integrated Learning must conform to the Standards set by the Engineering Council of South Africa.

In order for the 2-year Diploma graduates to further their studies towards the Advanced Diploma at Level 7, them must complete the mandatory one-year Work Integrated Learning training which must be assessed and quality assured.


3 Three Year Diploma Level 6

The new 3-year Diploma includes a compulsory component of Work Integrated Learning at a work place for a duration of 6 to 12 months.

The University is responsible for placing the student with an Employer and to quality assure the Work Integrated Learning Training

Graduates of the 3-year Diploma with the quality assured Work Integrated Learning component, are immediately eligible to register with the Engineering Council to practice as an Engineering Technician


4 Three-year Degrees

The 3-year Degree at Level 7, include qualifications such as the BSc Degree, Bachelor of Technology Degree (BTech), BA Degree, etc

Engineering Council Technologist Registration

Universities of Technology offers the new 3 Year Bachelor of Engineering Degrees at NQF Level 7 whilst the Traditional Universities offer the Professional 4 Year Bachelor of Engineering Degrees at Level 8 c

Graduates who had complete the 3-year Bachelor of Technology Degree are eligible to register with the Engineering Council to practice as an Engineering Technologist


5 Four-year Professional Degrees at Level 8

The Honours Degree and the 4-year Professional Degrees are both at Level 8. The Professional Degrees are generally offered at the traditional Universities. These qualifications include the BSc Engineering, BSc Surveying, BSc Pharmacy, BSc Medicine and Surgery, BSc Dentistry, BSc Veterinary Science, Bachelor of Town and Regional Planning, Bachelor of Business Science in Actuarial Science, etc

The most Professional Degrees require a period of on-the-job Internship be eligible for registration with the respective Professional Bodies, for example,

Engineering Council Engineer Registration

The BSc Engineering graduates are eligible for registration as Professional Engineers with the Engineering Council after the requisite training

Health Professions Council of South Africa

BSc Medicine and Surgery graduates are eligible for registration as Medical Practitioners after the completion of the Internship period



NQF Level

Qualification Name

Minimum Credits




Higher Certificate


1 Year

ENTRANCE:Higher Certificate is a Post Matric Certificate.

The Higher Certificate is Vocationally Focussed Qualification.

PROGRESSION: The Higher Certificate is a pre-requisite to the Advanced Certificate and the Bachelor of Technology Degree


Advanced Certificate


1 Year

ENTRANCE:The entrance requirement to the Advanced Certificate is the Higher Certificate.

It's a Vocationally Focussed Qualification




2 Years


Matric Certificate

The Diploma is Vocationally Focussed

The 2 Year Diploma in Engineering EXCLUDES Work Integrated Learning

Upon completion of the 2 Year Engineering Diploma,

graduates would need to complete the one-year Work Integrated Learning on their own, with an Employer. The One year Work Integrated Learning is mandatory to practice as a Technician. The Training must meet the Engineering

Council's quality standards and assessment in order to be able to register as a Technician

PROGRESSION: After the completion of the mandatory 1-year Work Integrated Learning period,

the 2-year Diploma articulates into the one-year Advanced Diploma at Level 7




3 Years

ENTRANCE:Matric Certificate

The Diploma is Vocationally Focussed

The Diploma is the entrance requirement to the 1-year Advanced Diploma at Level 7

The 3 Year Diploma in Engineering INCLUDES Work Integrated Learning. The onus is on the University to place the students with an Employer for Work Integrated Learning and to conduct all assessments

PROGRESSION: Upon completion Engineering Graduates are able to register as Technicians with the Engineering Council


Bachelor's Degree


3 Years

ENTRANCE:Matric Exemption

The Bachelor's Degree articulates to the Honours Degree and the Post Graduate Diploma

The Bachelor of Technology Degrees in Engineering does not include a period of Work Integrated Learning at an Employer's Workspace

PROGRESSION: Graduates completing the 3 Year Engineering Degree are able to Register as an Engineering Technologist with the Engineering Council


Advance Diploma


1 Years

ENTRANCE:3-year Diploma. This qualification allows for specialization within a professional field


Professional Bachelor's Degree


4 Years

ENTRANCE:Matric Exemption.

The 4-year Degree is a Professional Degree that typically qualifies graduates as into careers as Professional Engineers, etc.

PROGRESSION: Graduates can articulate to the Master's Degree


Honour's Degree and Post Graduate Diploma


1 Year

ENTRANCE:Entrance to the Honours Degree is a 3 Year Bachelor's Degree

The Honours Degree is a post Graduate Degree

PROGRESSION: Master's Degree


Master's Degree


2 Years

ENTRANCE:Honours Degree, Post Graduate Diploma, or a Professional Bachelor's Degree

The Master's Degree is a Research or a Part Research Post Graduate Degree

PROGRESSION: Doctoral Degree, PhD


Doctorate Degree


3 Years

ENTRANCE:Master's Degree

The Doctorate Degree is Research Degree