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Do the admission requirements differ for adult applicants?

  • The same set of prescribed criteria for admission is applicable to adult applicants, however applicants over 23 who do not comply with the requirements stipulated by Senate may be admitted to the programme of their choice at the discretion of the Head of Department who will take into consideration the applicant’s related work experience, academic record and psychometric and language assessment results.
  • The Matriculation Board makes provision for conditional matriculation exemption in the case of mature and foreign students. Candidates can either apply via the university or directly to the South African Matriculation Board for conditional exemption certificates. For detailed information please consult the Higher Education Enrolment Board website or contact Nelson Mandela University Access and Enrolment Office at
  • Mature students of 45 and older may apply for conditional exemption without any school leaving qualification. Mature students younger than 45 without school leaving qualification do not qualify.
  • Prospective mature learners may also apply for recognition of prior learning and work experience related to the field of study. RPL refers to formal assessment and acknowledgement of skills, knowledge and competencies acquired by means of work and/or life experiences.

General rules for admission

  • All applications for admission are subject to selection.
  • The minimum admission requirements refer to the set of prescribed criteria for each programme as approved by Senate.
  • To qualify for admission to studies for a certificate or a diploma, a student must hold a matriculation / senior certificate.
  • To qualify for admission to studies for a bachelor’s degree (BTech excluded), a student must hold a senior certificate with a matriculation endorsement (exemption).
  • There may exist additional requirements as stipulated by the academic department and / or professional bodies related to the field of study.
  • Applicants who do not meet the admission requirements will be referred for access testing. Such applicants, depending on the outcome of the assessment, may be offered the opportunity to enroll for an extended programme in order to obtain the same mainstream qualification at the end of their study career. In practice, it implies that a student will complete a three-year programme in four years.

The application procedure

  • A prospective student must apply in writing to be admitted to Nelson Mandela University.
  • Application forms can be obtained from the Access and Enrolment Office or be downloaded from the access and enrolment webpage.
  • Before completing the application form and paying the application fee, please take note of the minimum admission requirements for the programme of your choice.
  • A non-refundable application fee must accompany the application.
  • Application for admission as a student received after the official closing dates shall be regarded as “late” applications and shall be subject to the payment of late application fees.
  • If you were previously registered at other tertiary educational institutions, you need to submit a full academic record and certificate of conduct issued by each institution at which you were registered.
  • Hand in your fully completed application form, with certified copies of your ID document, final school leaving results, academic record and certificate of conduct (from a previous institution), marriage certificate (if applicable), certified copy of passport (if available), proof of permanent residency (international students) and medical disability certificate (if applicable).
  • An applicant will be notified in writing of the outcome of his or her application.

Important dates

  • In order to ensure adequate time for processing, placement testing and planning by Nelson Mandela University and yourself, applications for access and enrolmnent should be submitted by 1 August of each year.
  • Applications will be received after this date until 6 January, but at a higher application fee.
  • Places in some programmes are limited. It is therefore in your best interest to submit your application as soon as possible.
  • A limited number of programmes also have a second semester intake. The closing date for such applications is 30 May of each year. Late applications will be received after this date until mid-July, but at a higher application fee.
  • The closing date for applications by international students is 31 October of each year.