Bridging Courses – South Africa

Bridging Courses – South Africa

A bridging course is an intensive course, often designed for high school students who are going into tertiary study, for students may not feel confident enough with their preparation for university study, or who do not meet the requirements for university because they come from disadvantaged schools. Some university institutions offer a bridging course in the form of an ‘extended degree’, thus making a three degree into a four year degree.

I’m missing a subject – Can I take a bridging course?

Nope, not in this case! It’s important to remember that a university run bridging course will not teach a subject from the very beginning (for example at a grade 10 level). You need to have already taken a particular subject required for your degree, at school, even if your marks are not up to the required level. For example, you will need to have taken Mathematics Core up to matric in order to complete a BSc Degree, so if you have taken Maths Lit in High School you may want to consider doing Maths Core separately.
If you have not taken a subject you require for a certain degree, it’s not the end of the world! You have the option to take the subject at Damelin or Abbotts College before you go to university! For example, if you took Maths Lit in High school and you now need Maths Core to do your required degree; this would be an awesome option for you!

Are all bridging courses the same?

Universities will offer different forms of bridging courses. For example, some universities offer courses that must be completed before you can start your actual degree, such as The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program offered at UCT.
On the other hand, some universities offer bridging courses which extend your degree by a year such as the Extended Studies Programme offered at Rhodes University. The extended studies programmes often allow for a lower entry requirement and being a part of the programme will mean that you will complete your degree a year later than a degree would regularly take, but don’t let this scare you! Extended studies programmes merely extend your studies, meaning your subjects are split up so that you have a lighter workload, and more time to pass each subject.

Where to do Bridging Courses

IMPORTANT NOTE:   A UNIVERSITY BRIDGING course does NOT teach you a subject from the start (eg. Core Mathematics or Physical Science from Grade 10 level). You should already have those subjects even if your marks are not up to the required level.
If you do not have the subjects and you want to add them to your qualifications CLICK HERE

Various Universities and Universities of Technology offer bridging courses to assist students who do not quite meet the requirements for a recognised degree or qualification. These options have various names, depending on the institution or faculty.

Some Bridging Courses need to be completed before starting the actual course:

  • University Preparation Programme (UFS)
  • Foundation (UCT)
  • Access  (MUT) (WSU)

Some Bridging Courses extend the course by one year:

  • Extended (several – see below) Also called EDP (UL) and ECP (CUT)

Some Bridging Courses are focused on preparing students for technical courses:

  • ENGAGE (Engineering Augmented Degree Programme). (UJ)

Things to keep in mind:

  • With Extended Courses, the initial entry requirements are slightly less and students need to complete an extra  year of study.
  • Universities still insist on subject requirements for the course, for example Mathematics or Physical Science.
  • Most universities also conduct a test, generally called the National Benchmark Test (NBT).
  • Some universities do not allow you to apply for an Extended Course but offer it if the results of their test show that you would benefit.
  • Adhering to the rules that apply will save you time. It is very useful to download or collect the Prospectuses or Information brochures that every university offers, to make sure there are no changes, every year.
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These are the institutions and courses where these options apply:

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU)
Applicant who do not comply with the minimum statutory requirements for degree or diploma entry, but can admitted to an extended diploma or degree programme. They must successfully complete the first two years of the extended programme to qualify for full degree or diploma status.
Faculty of Arts

  • National Diploma: Fine Arts (Extended) (3 years)
  • National Diploma: Public Management (Extended) (4 years)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Extended) (4 years)
  • Extended Computing Fundamentals 1.1A
  • Extended Introduction to Conflict Management

Business and Economic Sciences

  • National Higher Certificate: Accountancy (Extended)
  • National Diploma Human Resources Management (Extended)
  • Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management; Economics;
  • Financial Planning; General Accountancy (Extended)


  • National Diploma in Engineering: Electrical Engineering (Extended)
  • National Diploma: Information Technology in User Support Services Full-time, minimum duration 1 year

Health Sciences

  • Bachelor of Nursing (B Cur (extended) (5 years)
  • Bachelor of Pharmacy (extended) (5 years)


  • LLB (Extended) (5 years)


  • National Diploma: Analytical Chemistry (Extended) Full-time; duration 4 years
  • B Sc. Biological Sciences: Biochemistry & Microbiology (Extended) Full-time; duration 4 years

Northwest University – Mafikeng Campus
Agriculture, Science and Technology

  • Bachelor of Science (Extended  – All programmes)

Commerce and Administration

  • Bachelor of Administration  (Extended)
  • Bachelor of Commerce  (Extended)

Northwest University – Potchefstroom Campus

  • Natural Sciences (Extended)

Northwest University – Vaal Triangle Campus
Economic Sciences

  • B.Com Economics and Risk Management
  • B.Com Chartered Accountancy
  • BSc in Information Technology
  • BSc Data Mining (N301)
  • BSc in IT 2

University of Cape Town (UCT)

  • Systems/Accounting with Law/ Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting/PPE/Information  Economics with Law/ Management Studies/ Information Systems/ Information Systems & Computer Science/  Economics & Finance/ B Bus Sc, Economics & Stats, Management Studies 


  • Bachelor of Fine Art, Bachelor of Music


  •  Academic Support Programme for Engineering (ASPECT) BSc(Eng) or BSc(Geomatics) studies

University of Johannesburg (UJ)

  • All Bachelor of Arts degrees


  • National Diplomas: Human Resource Management, Logistics, Management, Small Business Management, Transportation Management
  • Bachelor of Commerce General


  • National Diploma: Building, Metallurgy, Industrial, Mechanical, Management Services.
  • Bachelor of Engineering: B-Com Engineering, Electronical, Mechanical & Civil Engineering

University of Kwazulu Natal
Access programmes identify candidates with potential and once registered they receive the required support to enable them to succeed. First-year programmes are restructured and additional courses are offered to improve their communication and academic writing skills. Pre-University courses and a mentorship programme are offered to assist with their academic development and challenges they may face.

  • Management Studies
  • Bachelor of Social Science

College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science
The UNITE programme aims to develop the skills needed for academic excellence, as well as to produce successful engineers. 
EXTENDED (Augmented Curriculum)

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Social Science

University of Pretoria

  • Bachelor of Science


  • ENGAGE (Engineering Augmented Degree Programme) 

University of Witwatersrand
Health Sciences
Graduate Entry Medical Programme (GEMP) are required to write the National Benchmark Tests (NBT) before being considered for admission.
Wits Additional Placement Test (Wapt)
Faculty Of Science

  • BSc (4 year Extended programme)
  • Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Bachelor of Architectural Studies  (Extended)
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University of the Free State
University Preparation Programme
Students who are not successful in gaining admission to the University, but have an AP (Admission Point) of 20 points, may follow a University Preparation Programme (UPP) to obtain access.
Law: LLB

  • After 1st year and must have completed the UPP
  • B Iuris: Financial Planning
  • After 1st year and must have completed the UPP

Natural Science and Agricultural

  • Bachelor of Science


  • Bachelor of Divinity

University of Zululand
Science & Agriculture
EXTENDED (Augmented Curriculum)
Augmented stream enables students to complete the first academic year over two years and they will receive substantial additional tuition and support. This stream will add an  additional year to the minimum time required for the completion of a programme.

  • Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Industrial Science

The Foundation stream enables students to spend their first year in a dedicated programme designed to improve their academic grounding. This stream will add an additional year to the minimum time required for the completion of a programme.

  • Bachelor of Commerce
  • Extended Four-Year Programme

This is an alternate access programme offered over a four year period. It targets students with potential and flair for business and commercial interests.
Students with matriculation endorsement and with a pass in English, E (HG) /D (SG) and Mathematics, F (SG) will be considered. It is designed to develop competencies of students in language and numeracy and at the same time giving additional support by way of small group tutorials/lectures, for students to cope with the regular BCom modules. The additional year is designed to be student-centred focusing on raising their ability to meet the standards of the programme.
University of Fort Hare
Science and Agriculture
There are two Foundation Programmes, i.e. Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation Pathways.  These programmes are designed to assist students in their transition from school to university, provide support in key subjects (Maths, Science, English etc.) and to promote “soft skills”.
Walter Sisulu University
Prospective students are required to do the National Benchmark Tests and certain faculties also require Standardized Assessment Tests For  Access And Placement  (SATAP)
Business, Management Sciences and Law

  • Economics Sciences Access Programme


  • National Higher Certificate: Accountancy
  • National Diploma in Public Relations Management

All new first year students who have been accepted in this programme will be required to write a test to determine entry into:
• either the extended programme, done over three years, or
• the main stream programme done over two years.
The final placement of students into the NHC: Accountancy or the Extended Programme will be made after considering both the results of the assessment tests and the Grade 12 results.
(For more information on Extended Programmes refer to the information booklet on Extended Programmes)
National Diploma in Public  Relations Management Bsc
Science, Engineering and Technology

  • Bachelor of Science Computer Science
  • National Diploma: Consumer Science: Food and Nutrition
  • National Diploma: Building
  • National Diploma: Engineering (Civil)
  • National Diploma: Engineering (Electrical)
  • National Diploma: Engineering (Mechanical)
  • National Diploma: IT
  • National Diploma: Analytical Chemistry
  • National Diploma: Food and Consumer Science
  • Bachelor of Science (Computer Science)
  • Bachelor of Science

Health Sciences
Students without matriculation exemption can enrol in the Science Foundation year in lieu of the matriculation exemption.
Rhodes University
Students who do not meet the University’s usual admissions requirements may be offered a place on an Extended Programme which is completed over four rather than three years. Students enrolled on Extended Programmes start earning credits towards their degrees as soon as they enroll – Extended Programmes are therefore not like foundation courses which require students to complete an additional catch up year before they start their degrees.
Extended Programmes exist in the faculties of Commerce, Humanities and Science.

  • Bachelor Of Commerce
  • Bachelor Of Economics
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  • Bachelor Of Arts,
  • Bachelor Of Social Science,
  • Bachelor Of Journalism,
  • Bachelor of Music


  • Bachelor of Science

University of Stellenbosch
Agricultural Sciences

  • Bachelor Agricultural Admin
  • Bachelor of Science: Agriculture
  • Bachelor of Science Conservation & Ecology
  • Bachelor of Science Food Science
  • Bachelor of Science In Viticulture And Oenology Or In Oenology (Specialised)
  • Bachelor of Science Forestry
  • Bachelor of Science

Arts  & Social Sciences

  • Bachelor of Arts in the Humanities
  • Bachelor of Arts in Language and Culture
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Dynamics
  • Bachelor of Arts in Development and the Environment
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts of Social Work
  • Bachelor of Arts in Socio-Informatics

Economic and Management Sciences

  • Bachelor of Commerce: Management Sciences


  • Bachelor of Engineering

Health Sciences

  • Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy
  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB,ChB)


  • Bachelor of Science in Biodiversity and Ecology
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Life Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
  • Bachelor of Science in Sport Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry
  • Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Geoinformatics
  • Bachelor of Science in Physics
  • Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences

University of Limpopo
Social Sciences

  • Bachelor of Arts

Economics & Management

  • Bachelor of Commerce: Accounting


  • Bachelor of Laws

Mathematical & Computer Sciences / Physical & Mineral Sciences

  • Bachelor of Science


  • Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB,ChB)

Monash University – (private institution)
Monash South Africa Foundation Programme
The Monash South Africa Foundation Programme (MSAFP) is designed as a pathway to a Monash undergraduate degree. The programme enables students whose scores do not meet the requirements for direct entry into an undergraduate degree programme to bridge the gap between their highest education qualification and the academic qualifications accepted by Monash South Africa.
There is a February intake and a July intake into this one year programme.
Cape Peninsula University of Technology CPUT
Faculty of Engineering
Mathematical Literacy is not accepted for Engineering-related courses unless otherwise indicated. Applicants for an engineering-related programme, with a rating of 3 for Mathematics, may be considered for the extended programme.
Mangosutho University of Technology (MUT)

  • National Diploma Engineering


  • Pre-Tech: Analytical Chemistry

Central University of Technology (CUT)
Prospective students applying for admission to a national diploma in these faculties:
Engineering and Information Technology
Health and Environmental Sciences
Durban University of Technology (DUT)
Do not advertise this fact
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT)
The National Diploma (extended curriculum programme with foundation provision) is, where applicable, also presented as a Three and a half-year, four-year or five year qualification.
Vaal University of Technology
The learning outcomes of the programme are to enhance skills and develop techniques to master the basic academic principles needed for the various mainstream programmes.

  • Preparation to Humanities (HUM)
  • Preparation to Information Technology (IT)
  • Preparation to Management (MAN)
  • Preparation to Science, Engineering & Technology (SET)
  • Introduction to Humanities (HUM)
  • Introduction to Information Technology (IT BOOTCAMP)