Can I study at UNISA without Matric?

Can I study a degree course at UNISA without Matric? No, at the moment you can’t.  But here are the steps that you can take to ensure that you can study at UNISA without Matric in the future:

  1. Look at the entrance criteria for all the UNISA courses
  2. Take special care that you look at courses with lower entrance criteria
  3. Do the work in order to reach the entrance criteria (for example, rewrite your Matric)
  4. Make sure you have at least 2 choices in your application
  5. Look at alternatives to a degree, such as certificate or diploma courses
  6. Look at certificate and diploma courses that can lead to degree alternatives – ie they are on the same level as a degree


Can I Study at UNISA without a Matric Certificate ?


If you do not have a matric you may be anxious about your future job prospects.  But remember – you don’t have to start with a university degree!  Starting with a certificate or diploma can get your career started, and get you excellent work experience while you improve your qualifications over the years.


Remember, there are other options to UNISA


UNISA is not the only option for distance learning study, and may be out of your grasp right now if you do not have matric. However, you can choose a lower level course that can give you entrance to a degree course later, which ensuring that you can still start your career now.

Here is a list of certified private distance colleges where you can study without a matric exemption:



A UNISA degree usually takes around 10 years to complete


That is a long time to wait before you can apply to start working in your chosen career!

If you start with a diploma course you will receive your first certificate in around one year, and you can start applying for jobs in your industry 9 years before someone that starts a university degree today!


Alternative Qualifications you can study without matric


The two qualifications that we recommend for anyone wanting to study without matric are Institute ofChartered Bookkeeping (ICB) courses, and Certified Institute of Management Accountant (CIMA) courses.


ICB Diploma Qualifications


You can start studying with ICB on a grade 10!  And the final qualification takes you two levels past matric.  So an ICB qualification is excellent for any student who has no matric.

Study at UNISA without matric

The ICB qualifications are in the following areas:


  1. Business management
  2. Financial accounting
  3. Office Administration
  4. Entrepreneurship
  5. Public Administration


Each of these diploma courses is broken down in 3 or 4 levels.  The GREAT thing about that is that you get your first qualification after only a few subjects.  By the time you have your diploma qualification you will have received a 3 or 4 qualifications along the way!

With a UNISA degree you only get your qualification right at the end once you have completed every single subject.  And that is usually around 42 subjects, which will take around 10 years to complete if you are an average student working a full time job!

Imagine you get your first qualification in a year, and can apply for a junior office role to start getting work experience while you study further!

CIMA qualifications


There are no entrance criteria for CIMA, and it is also broken down into levels just like CIMA, with qualifications along the way.

CIMA qualifications are only in management accounting.  So if you want to work as an accountant this is perfect for you.  There are excellent, well paid job opportunities, and there is a real shortage of skilled people in this field so finding work is much easier once you are qualified.

The CIMA qualification is internationally recognised, as well as locally.  This is another awesome benefit.

And finally – a CIMA qualification is a great alternative to a university degree, and is on the same academic level.  It also gives you access to ACCA qualifications, which can take you even further.


I still want to study at UNISA and I don’t have matric


If you are an adult you can consider ABET, which is suitable for anyone with a basic education lower than Grade 9.  ABET stands for Adult Basic Education Training.

Alternatively see if you qualify for the certificates, bridging courses or diplomas.  We will write more articles on this in future to assist any student with no matric who wants to study at UNISA.



Last updated: March 28, 2019

65 thoughts on “Can I study at UNISA without Matric?”

  1. i have matric and level 4 for plant production i want to know if i can study for diploma in agriculture magement at unisa

    1. As per Unisa’s website, these are the requirements for a Diploma in Agricultural Management:

      A National Senior Certificate (Diploma endorsement) with at least 50% in the language of teaching and learning and with at least 50% in Mathematics. In addition, 40% in one of the following: Agricultural Science, Physical Science or Life Sciences, or a Senior Certificate (SC) with at least a D symbol on HG or a C symbol on SG in the language of teaching and learning, and with at least a D symbol on HG or a C symbol on SG in Mathematics.

      In addition, an E symbol on HG or a D symbol on SG in one of the following: Physical Science or Biology or Agricultural Science, or an appropriate Higher Certificate in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.

      Applicants who do not comply with the above requirements should consider applying for a lower level qualification for which they meet the statutory and additional requirements.

      1. Hi I have a level 5 higher certificate in ecd I dont have matric I would like to study teaching I am over 23 can I study Abet at unisa or any other institution?

      1. Greetings
        So Abet level 4 you don’t take?
        Coz I heard that level 4 abet is grade 10 and 11, then level 5 is matric. My friend tells me she’s a student at Sikhululwe Abet 4 at their leaning center they were told with level 4 they can be accepted. On this coming Monday the 19 she’ll be visiting unisa

        1. An ABET Level 4 is the equivalent of getting a Grade 9 certificate.

          She would not be able to apply for any qualification at UNISA with an ABET Level 4 qualification.

          1. I do have abet level 4 and I want to study with unisa and I don’t mind starting at certificate level as long as I am excepted

          2. ABET Level 4 is the equivalent of a Grade 9 certificate. You will unfortunately not be able to study at UNISA with just an ABET certificate.

    1. You would need to obtain a degree in order to become a teacher. However, you can start off your education qualifications with a Higher Certificate in Education. Remember that you cannot teach with this qualification alone.

      Read more here: UNISA Higher Certificates 2020

  2. Knowledge Biyela


    I have matric with level 2 and I want to study teaching with unisa please help me…

    Can I apply with level 2?
    What bridging course can I take for me to apply for teaching??

      1. Hi please help I want to study bachelor of arts at unisa I Currently don’t have maths on my metric certificate but it’s a diploma endorsement with score point 18 excluding life orientation can I apply and do they offer is as part time or full time

        1. You cannot study for a degree if you passed matric with a Diploma endorsement. You need to have a Bachelors endorsement in order to study for a BA.

      2. Good day
        Doi understand correctly that by doing the higher certificate in education it can give you access to do the degree in education? Can you work with the higher certificate in education. What NQF level do you need to study for the degree? Are you familiar with the GED that homeschoolerd do as a equivalent for grade 12?

        1. Completing the HC in Education will allow you to apply for a BEd qualification, yes. Remember that you do have to apply for it after completing your HC.

          To become a teacher in SA, you would need to have either a specialized teaching diploma or a BEd qualification. Or if you have completed a degree in anything other than a BEd, then you can become a teacher if you do a PGCE.

          The NQF level of a BEd is 7, with an APS of 23 needed to qualify. There’s also the fact of meeting the additional requirements set by each BEd qualification. You can find all Education qualifications offered by UNISA here.

          I’m unfortunately not familiar with the GED homeschooling program, so I cannot say anything on it.

  3. I passed grade 11 then went to college instead of doing matric, i have level 3 in information technology and computer science what can i do?

  4. Hi i failed my matric but i have level 3 in office administration, certificate for computerised accounting, from majuba college… i also have certificate for healthy and safety from oxbridge academy…can i combine my scertificates and study at Unisa?

    1. UNISA does not have an available Diploma qualification with regards to Education. Only the Advanced Diploma in Education in Intermediate Phase Mathematics Teaching is available, but only to students who have passed with both a BEd and a PGCE.

      Depending on your APS, you can either apply for a Higher Certificate in Education or an undergraduate degree. Find out what courses you qualify for here.

    1. You can apply, but this is as per Unisa’s website:

      Unisa will assess your application, which includes the points score system. You may be offered a place based on the following: whether you meet the academic admission requirements for your qualification of choice, your minimum points score and the number of places available for the qualification for which you have applied.

      The APS for all Higher Certificates are 15 (except for Accounting Sciences, which requires an APS of 14).

        1. I unfortunately cannot say if you can become a social worker without knowing more.

          UNISA offers a Higher Certificate in Social Auxillary Work, which you can read more about here.

          If you surpass the requirements of the abovementioned qualification, then perhaps you qualify to do the Bachelor of Social Work, which you can read more on about here.

          Please note that you have to meet the APS as well as the additional requirements stated by the course. If you fail to meet the requirements, then you won’t be able to study for the qualifications.

          Regarding what it takes to become a social worker, please take a read by heading onto the following link:


          2. Are you referring to SAICA (South African Institute of Chartered Accountants) or SACAI (South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute)?

            As SACAI is a body recognized by UMLAUSI, I do not understand as to why your daughter’s qualification is unrecognized by UNISA as per the SACAI website, candidates that meet the relevant requirements are accepted by South African tertiary institutions for further study.

            This is something that you will have to enquire with both SACAI and UNISA again before the applications close this coming Friday.

  5. Hi I have grade 11 pass and level 4 certificate…is there a course I can find at unisa I’m willing to start from the bottom

    1. Are you referring to an ABET Level 4 or a NQF4 certificate?

      Currently, starting from the bottom means applying for a Higher Certificate qualification. Read more on UNISA’s Higher Certificate qualifications here.

    1. You need to make sure that you meet the requirements set by UNISA in order to study for an education qualification.

      To find out what qualifications are offered by UNISA, click here.

      To learn more on how to apply at UNISA for the 2020 academic year, read more online here.

  6. Hi
    I failed my matric and I want to study at unisa
    I have end_user computer certificate from pc college, receptionist computer from Boston colloge and abet level I want to know if i qualify

    1. You should be able to apply for a qualification with a NCV qualification. However, you need to find out the requirements needed for each qualification so that you can make an informed decision about your studies.

      If you’re still unsure, then head to your nearest UNISA campus and speak to a student advisor.

  7. Good day Dylan

    hope you well.

    please can you assist me with my query as i am unable to get through to unisa either by email or telephone. I did not complete my matric back in 2000. I only completed my standard in 1999. however, over the years i started studying accounting at the lower level NQF 3. Then i did the FET NQF 4 in bookeeping. I later completed my Technical Financial Accounting Diploma NQF 5 through the ICB. I have been working in a Law firm for 4 years now and have gained a lot of knowledge. I now want to do my degree in Law. Can i use my NQF 4 certifcate or even my NQF 5 diploma as an equivalent to matric.

    I thank you in advance.

    1. It’s far easier to head into your nearest UNISA campus and query on your issue instead via email or phone.

      You should be able to use your qualifications to apply for a degree. This is something that you have to consult a UNISA student advisor on.

      UNISA has this thing called the Recognition of Prior Learning. It is a process through which formal, non-formal and informal learning are measured, mediated for recognition across different contexts and certified against the requirements for credit, access, inclusion or advancement in the formal education and training system or workplace.

      In other words, it uses your work experiences and can be used to qualify you for a degree. You can read more on the RPL here

  8. Am a foreign national with a evaluated SAQA certificate rated NQF LEVEL it possible to study law with it OR are there any bridging corses that can allow me to study law afterwards?
    Thanks in advance for your assistance

    1. According to UNISA, students who completed Grade 12 at the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) School of Tomorrow may no longer be accepted at Unisa.

      I unfortunately cannot say for certain whether you can study at UNISA with a GED or not.

  9. Hi, I have grade 10 certificate and Theology certificate, i don’t have grade 12 and i want to study theology or public administration with UNISA. can that be possible?

    1. You need at least a Senior Certificate, National Senior Certificate or a NCV qualification in order to study at UNISA. If you do not meet the requirements set by UNISA, then you will not be able to study at UNISA.

      The admission requirements for one of the Theology qualifications are as follows:

      Bachelor of Theology (1 Major)
      APS: 20
      Admission Requirements: A National Senior Certificate (NSC) (Degree endorsement) with at least 50% in the language of teaching and learning,


      A Senior Certificate (SC) with matriculation exemption or qualify for the exemption from the Matriculation Board with at least a D symbol on HG or a C symbol on SG in the language of teaching and learning.

      If you do not meet these admission requirements, you will not be accepted to study the qualification.

    1. According to AEE, a GED® is an international high school credential which is recognized and listed on the South African Qualifications Authority framework (SAQA) as a an NQF level 4 matric equivalent. It is also recognised by Universities South Africa (USAF) as well as UMALUSI. It can be used to further your studies at higher education studies both in South Africa and internationally.

      You should be able to study at UNISA BUT you will have to make 100% sure that you can study for a degree by visiting your nearest UNISA campus and speaking to a student advisor/administrator.

  10. Hi, I have NCV level 4 Office Administration I don’t have matric and N4 Human Resources, my question is can apply at unisa to do my HR

    1. UNISA do allow NCV qualifications as a requirement to study one of their qualifications. However, you do need to meet the admission requirements in order to study for a HR qualification at UNISA.

      The lowest available HR qualification that UNISA offers is the Diploma in Human Resources Management, which you can read about here. I advise you to speak to a UNISA student advisor at your nearest UNISA campus to find out for certain whether you qualify for a HR qualification at UNISA or not.

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