South Africa

Reference work entry

Structure of Higher Education System


The public higher education system consists of Traditional Universities, which offer academic type degree programmes and doctoral degree programmes, and are more pure research focused; Universities of Technology, which are the former Technikons, and are more professionally oriented; and Comprehensive Universities, offering both University of Technology and University programmes, with a professional slant on many courses. The Higher Education Act (December 1997) provides for the registration of Private Higher Education Institutions in order for them to offer higher education programmes. Private higher education is mostly made up of Colleges and Institutes. South African universities offer Bachelor’s, Bachelor’s Honours, Master’s and Doctorate degrees, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate diplomas and certificates. Course work is structured in modules, with students registering in a unit/credit system.

Stages of studies


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© International Association of Universities 2019

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