Nelson Mandela University Admission Requirements

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  • The table below explains how well you will need to do in your school subjects to meet the minimum statutory requirements for each qualification level (Higher Certificate, Diploma or Degree)
  • The university has also set its own additional minimum entry requirements. 
  • Please note that the achievement of the minimum statutory entry requirements does not necessarily guarantee you admission to any programme or field of study at this University.  
QualificationMinimum Statutory Entry Requirement
Higher CertificatePass NSC with: A minimum of 30% in
the language of learning and teaching of the
higher education institution, together with
any other university requirements. 
DiplomaPass NSC with: A minimum of 30% in the
language of learning and teaching of the
higher education institution, coupled with
an achievement rating of 3 (40–49%) or
better in four recognised NSC 20-credit
subjects (this excludes LO which is 10-credits),
together with any other university requirements.
Bachelors DegreePass NSC with: A minimum of 30% in the
language of learning and teaching of the
higher education institution, coupled with
an achievement rating of 4 (50–59%) or better
in four recognised 20-credit NSC subjects
(this excludes LO which is 10-credits),
together with any other university
requirements.

*(LOTL) Language of Teaching & Learning, which is English at Nelson Mandela University.

Designated subjects

As per the Government Gazette Notice No.165 No. 41473 dated March 2018, the list of designated subjects has been revoked with immediate effect. Subsequent to this announcement, the revised admission requirements for degree entry as they pertain to Nelson Mandela University, are further explained below:

  • Applicants must meet the minimum statutory entry requirements for each type of qualification they wish to apply for as stated above.
  • The University may add additional subject specific requirements for certain qualifications.
  • Applicants will also need to comply with the Applicant Score (AS)subject(s) and percentage % pass required for specific subjects which may be required for certain qualifications, before a final decision will be made of the outcome of his/her application.
  • Any recognised 20-credit NSC subject combinations (dependant on school capacity) can be used towards applying for degree studies (this excludes LO which is 10-credits), provided that each of these four subjects are also passed on a level 4 (50-59%) or higher.

How to calculate your Applicant Score (AS)

  • Your Applicant Score (AS) will be different if you took Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy or Technical Mathematics at school.
  • Your Applicant Score (AS) is calculated using six subjects. Please note that Life Orientation (LO) is excluded.
  • Write down your Grade 12 subjects and the most recent percentage (%) obtained in each subject (NO Gr 12 March results).
  • You MUST include the results for the following three fundamental subjects1) Home language; 2) 1st Add. Language; and 3) Maths; or Maths Lit; or Technical Maths.
  • For applicants with seven Grade 12 NSC/IEB subjects, your AS is calculated by adding the percentages for your six 20-credit subjects (Note that LO is not included as it is a 10-credit subject). This gives a score out of 600.
  • For those applicants taking eight or more subjects your AS is calculated as follows: add the percentages obtained for your three fundamental subjects (two languages and Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy or Technical Mathematics), plus the percentage(s) for any subject(s) required by the programme, together with the percentage(s) for the next best / highest subject(s), to a maximum of six subjects.
  • In addition, for those applicants from quintile 1 to 3 schools who attain 50% or higher for Life Orientation (LO), 7 points are added to their score out of 600 to arrive at their final AS.
  • If your Applicant Score (AS) & subject requirements are below the minimum required, you will need to consider another qualification for which you do qualify.

* All South African public ordinary schools are categorised into five groups, called quintiles. Quintile 1 to 3 are non-fee paying schools, while Quintile 4 & 5 are fee paying schools.

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The table below provides examples of how to calculate the AS for:

  • Applicant 1 who has 7 NSC Grade 12 subjects, who is applying for a programme with Life Science and Physical Science as required subjects; and
  • Applicant 2 who is applying for the same programme, but who took 8 subjects in Grade 12.
  • Applicant 3 who is applying for the same programme, but who is from a quintile 1, 2 or 3 school.

Example: Applicant 1 

NSC/IEB Subject% obtained% used to calculate the AS
isiXhosa Home Language7878
English 1st Additional6060
Mathematics6565
Life Science6262
Physical Science5050
Geography5555 
Life Orientation88
APPLICANT SCORE (AS) 370

Example: Applicant 2

NSC/IEB Subject% obtained% used to calculate the AS
isiXhosa Home Language7878
English 1st Additional6060
Mathematics6565
Life Science6262
Physical Science5050
Geography55
Life Orientation88
History6060
APPLICANT SCORE (AS) 375

Example: Applicant 3 from a Quintile 1, 2 or 3 school

NSC/IEB Subject% obtained% used to calculate the AS
isiXhosa Home Language7878
English 1st Additional6060
Mathematics6565
Life Science6262
Physical Science5050
Geography5555
Life Orientation88 LO>50%+ 7
APPLICANT SCORE (AS) 377

Disclaimer: All reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that the information contained on the website is accurate at the date it was published.

Nelson Mandela University reserves the right to make changes to the programme details (e.g. rules, admissions requirements) as published on this website.

Prospective students are advised to consult the admissions department prior to applying.

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