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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
  • between 10 and 12 modules of 12 credits each at NQF level 6
  • 10 modules of 12 credits each at NQF level 7
  • an additional 10 modules or 12 credits each at NQF level 7 for 4-year qualifications

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. 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 degreeDoctoral degree
9 Master’s degreeMaster’s degree
8Postgraduate diplomaPostgraduate diploma
Bachelor degree
Honours degree
Bachelor degree
7Advanced diplomaBachelor degree
Advanced diploma

Bachelor degree
7Postgraduate certificate (120 credits and 132 credits)Postgraduate Certificate in Education 
6Diploma (240 credits and 360 credits)Diploma (360 credits) 
6Advanced certificate (120 credits)  
5Higher certificate (120 credits)  


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