If you are wanting to study a degree via distance learning in South Africa, you will probably study at Unisa. If you are trying to figure out exactly how to apply to study an undergraduate, postgraduate or honours degree with Unisa – don’t worry – we are going to break down exactly how you can apply for admission at Unisa!
How to Apply for Unisa Admission
You can study undergraduate, postgraduate, masters and doctoral degrees at Unisa as well as a few short learning programmes. Each qualification has a slightly different application process. Unisa accepts online applications only for all qualifications offered, and those applications need to be completed within the prescribed application dates.
Everyone wanting to start a new qualification must apply for admission. Here is the application process for each qualification at the University of South Africa.
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Undergraduate Unisa Online Application
If you are applying to study a new undergraduate qualification, you will need to complete the application process. This includes:
Unisa students changing qualifications,
Students that have applied previously that did not register for whatever reason, and
Students that are currently completing another qualification but wish to further their studies at Unisa.
1. Pick your courses and decide if Open Distance e-learning for you?
When you are applying to study at Unisa the first step is to understand what Open Distance e-Learning is, and if it will work for you. Once you have done that, you will need to decide and select which course you want to study. During this process you should think about a second option of study; you can apply for admission to two qualifications, which will be ranked in terms of preference. You may want to apply for a lower-level qualification in addition to your qualification of choice. This will help make sure that if you are not accepted for your first choice you have a back up plan and that you will still be able to study.
2. Start your Unisa application
After you have chosen the degree that you want to study, you will then proceed to the Unisa application tool. Here you will need to upload all of the necessary documents. You will need to have your own copies of these documents. All documents also need to be uploaded within the application date period.
3. What you need when applying for an undergraduate degree at Unisa
For the application, you will need to be sure of a few things and have a few key documents as mentioned.
To be accepted into your course of choice you will need the following:
- To meet the admission requirements for your qualification of choice
- To meet the minimum academic points score (APS) for your qualification of choice
- A valid email address and cellphone number. This will be how Unisa will contact you and keep you up to date with your application.
You will need the following documents to complete the undergraduate application process:
- A copy of your school qualifications
- A copy of your your official tertiary academic records (if applicable)
- A copy of your ID (South Africa residents) or your ID/passport (international students)
- A copy of your marriage certificate (if applicable)
Some qualifications might need additional documentation, but that will be communicated to you.
When you are uploading these documents they need to follow the guidelines:
- They should not be larger than 2MB each.
- All documents must be in black and white.
- Only submit documents in PDF, DOC or TIF format.
4. Unisa Undergraduate application fee
When you have uploaded all of the relevant documents and finished the initial application steps, you will need to pay the application fee of R115. The application fee is non-refundable and for the payment you will need to use the student number that you received from Unisa AND the Unisa application fee reference number as payment reference (this means when you are paying the reference you must use is: Student number 5370810030). You can find more Unisa payment details on their website.
The application fee will need to be paid before the application closing date. Any applications without the application fee will not be processed. Also, make sure to keep a copy of your proof of payment.
5. What to do after applying for your undergraduate degree at Unisa
Once you have completed the application process and paid the application fee, Unisa will assess your application. This assessment includes the point score system, your academic record and the number of places available for your qualification of choice.
Applicants that are successful will receive final feedback once all applications have been processed. While applicants that are not accepted will be notified as soon as their application has been processed.
If you are a first-time applicant you will need to complete the First-Year experience MOOC (FYE massive open online course). Once you have completed this, then you will be able to proceed to registration for your degree.
If your application is successful, Unisa will send you an offer to study at the University. You will need to accept or decline the offer within 10 days of receiving it. To accept the offer you will need to visit their accept offer url. The university can withdraw your offer if it is not accepted within 10 days or the response time period indicated in the offer email.
Once you have accepted the offer to study, the next step will be to register at Unisa. If you miss registration, you will unfortunately not be able to study that year and you will need to re-apply to during the next application period.
6. Funding your undergraduate studies at Unisa
If you need any help with funding your undergraduate studies at Unisa, Fundi has a variety of ways we can help you fund your undergraduate degree through either bursaries or student loans. We can help with your tuition fees, textbooks, study devices, accommodation, and more. We also offer a bursary support programme to help you succeed while studying.
Honours and postgraduate diploma Unisa Online Application
Applying for a postgraduate degree at Unisa is similar to the application process for an undergraduate Unisa degree. You will need to start by deciding if ODeL is the right form of learning for you, and then select the honours degree or postgraduate diploma you want to study.
Once you have decided to study via Unisa, and know what qualifications you want you can then continue the application process. Remember like for undergraduate applications, you can apply for two qualifications, with your first choice taking priority.
During the application process, you will follow the same steps as applying for an undergraduate degree. That process is:
- Uploading the relevant documents,
- Paying the application fee,
- Accepting the study offer, and
- Registering for your qualification.
What you need when applying for an honours degree or postgraduate diploma at Unisa
When applying you will need to be sure of the following:
- That you meet the admission requirements for the qualification of choice.
- That you have a valid email address and cellphone number. If you previously studied through Unisa they will communicate with you via your Unisa (myLife) email address.
You will need the following documents when applying for an honours or postgraduate diploma qualification at Unisa:
- A copy of your school qualifications.
- A copy of your tertiary academic records – it needs to state all years of registration, modules passed and percentages obtained.
- International students must upload a copy of their university ledger. Additionally, a SAQA evaluation may be required for international students.
- A copy of your marriage/divorce certificate (if applicable).
- Sworn translations of documents if they are not in English or Afrikaans.
Some qualifications may require additional documentation, but that will be communicated to you. Final year students, who do not have their official academic transcripts yet, must upload their official academic record to Unisa before the end of January in the year they are applying. This does not apply to Unisa final year students though.
The guidelines for documents submitted when applying for a postgraduate degree are the same as for when you are applying for any degree or qualification. They must be:
- Smaller than 2MB each,
- They must be in black and white, and
- They must be in PDF, DOC or TIF format.
Unisa honours and postgraduate diploma application fee
The application fee for a postgraduate application at Unisa is R115. It is, however, only applicable to students that do not have a formal Unisa student number.
This fee must be paid before the application closing date in order to confirm your postgraduate application.
What to do after applying for your postgraduate degree at Unisa
After you have applied, Unisa will get in contact with you to let you know if you have been accepted to study or not.
If you are not accepted to study at Unisa, they will send you an email with details of the potential different options you can pursue. It is important to note that incorrect or incomplete applications will be automatically rejected. You do, however, have 10 days to appeal the outcome of your application. You can appeal on the grounds that you believe the university made a mistake or that further supporting documents will result in a different outcome.
If you are accepted to study at Unisa, you will then need to accept their offer of study. After that you will need to register. If you fail to register you will only be able to apply again to study at the University the next year.
Funding your honours or postgraduate diploma at Unisa
If you are studying your postgraduate degree via Unisa there is a high chance that you are also working at the same time, and the cost of your degree will add extra financial pressure on you. Fundi can help relieve this pressure through our various funding provisions and study loans. Our funding provides for accommodation, tuition fees, study material, and more.
Master’s and doctoral degree applications
The process when applying to study a master’s or doctoral degree at Unisa is slightly different than applying for an undergraduate or postgraduate qualification.
One of the extra steps required when applying to study a master’s or doctoral degree is that you need to apply for a student number before completing the application for the qualification.
1. Applying for a Unisa student number
If you have studied an undergraduate or postgraduate degree through Unisa, this step will not be relevant to you. However, if you received a student number for a short learning programme, you will still need to apply for a new formal Unisa student number.
You will need to apply for a student number if you are applying for a master’s, doctoral, selection degree or to the Graduate School of Business Leadership.
You can apply for a student number using the Unisa application tool. If you do not have a student number, you will not be able to complete the application process.
2. Complete your master’s and doctoral degree application
Once you have received your student number you will need to complete your application. To do so what you need to do is complete the application for admission form on the Unisa application tool and submit your supporting documents.
What do you need when applying for your master’s or doctorate at Unisa?
You will need to have the following prepared and ready before you apply for a doctoral or master’s degree at Unisa:
- A valid Unisa student number
- Chosen the correct Unisa qualification
- A prepared research outline. The outline must be in line with the departmental focus and must be a two-five page document containing the following:
- Short literature review
- Potential contribution of the study
- Potential unit of analysis
- Research context
- Personal motivation to study the topic
- List of references (Make sure to use a referencing method approved by the department of study)
- Your CV and any other documentation indicated by the department of study.
- Meet the admission requirements for your qualification of choice
- A valid email address and accept that Unisa will contact you via email.
- Letter of permission from the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (if applicable)
- Departmental forms for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (if applicable)
- The departmental application form for the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology (if applicable)
- If you applied for admission via RPL, you will need to upload your RPL approval letter.
When you apply, you will need to submit the following documents as part of your application:
- Copies of all of your academic records. This includes papers and modules, percentages obtained and your academic ledger. If you studied at Unisa at any point, you do not need to submit your Unisa academic record.
- A copy of your ID or passport
- Your research outline and CV as mentioned above.
- Any additional letters/departmental approvals listed above or communicated to you by the department you are applying to.
Once you have applied for your master’s or doctorate you will have 10 working days to upload your supporting documents. They will also need to be uploaded before the closing date for applications.
If you fail to upload the supporting documents within 10 working days of submitting your application, your application will be declined. That will mean that you will need to re-apply for admission and upload the documents before the application closing date.
When you are uploading the documents make sure that they follow the document guidelines as set out by Unisa. That means documents:
- must be smaller than 2MB each,
- they must be in black and white, and
- they must be in PDF, DOC or TIF format.
3. Unisa master’s and doctoral application fee
To finalise your application you will need to pay the application fee of R115. Once you have completed your master’s or doctoral degree application, Unisa will be in contact with you as to whether your application was successful or not.
4. What to do after your application
If your application was successful the university will confirm via email and give you the contact details of a specific member of staff within the relevant department. This will probably be your supervisor.
If it was unsuccessful, the university will email this fact, and they will provide you with a reason as to why your application was unsuccessful.
5. Funding your Unisa Master’s or Doctoral degree
If you are applying for your master’s or doctoral degree let Fundi help you fund your studies. We provide study loans for students to help cover tuition, accommodation, study materials, and more. We also offer MBA loans and executive loans to help you become aware of the education you want or need to become a specialist in your field.
Short learning programmes applications
If you want to apply for a short learning programme (SLP), the first step is to select a short learning programme. Different academic departments at Unisa offer a variety of SLPs for you to study.
Once you have selected a programme, the process is then somewhat similar to applying for a full degree at the University.
Everyone wanting to study an SLP at Unisa needs to apply. This includes current Unisa students, new students, and previous applicants that applied but did not end up completing the course.
You may apply for two programmes, like applying for undergraduate, and you may register for one of the programmes. Your application for the two programmes will be ranked based on preference.
To study a short learning programme at Unisa, you must apply online and submit the same documents as an undergraduate application. The documents also need to follow the same guidelines. There is, however, no application fee to apply for a short learning programme.
Like all other applications at Unisa, the university will offer you a place to study and you will need to respond within the prescribed time. Once you have accepted the offer you can register for the programme you are studying for the period for which you have been admitted.
Funding for short courses at Unisa
If you are looking for funding to further your education and hone your skills through short courses while you work, Fundi can help. We offer short course loans to help you get the skills you need today in an affordable manner.
Unisa application dates
The Unisa application dates are, unfortunately, closed for 2021 at this point. Unisa would typically have a second application period midway through the year, this period will be closed during 2021 due to limited spaces for students.
If you are looking to study through Unisa you will need to wait for the application period for 2022. That period should open around September but we will keep you up to date!
Get a Fundi Loan to Study at Unisa
If you are wanting to apply for Unisa or if you are already studying and need funding, Fundi can help. At Fundi we provide everything you need to finance your education from tuition loans, to device loans, to textbooks, airtime and data. If you need any help with education finance, you can apply for a loan today!