Rhodes University Admission Requirements

By | June 21, 2019

Rhodes University Admission Requirements

Your application will only be considered for admission to the University if you qualify for Bachelor’s degree study AND you satisfy the faculty requirements. To qualify for with a Bachelor’s pass status, learners are required to take seven subjects, four of which are compulsory (two languages, Life Orientation and either Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy) and three of the learner’s own choice from the subjects on offer at the school.

To qualify for degree studies at a University at least four of the seven subjects must be from the list of ‘designated subjects’ set out below and the student must have obtained an achievement rating of 4 (adequate achievement 50 – 59%) or above in these four subjects.

NOTE: If you meet the minimum admission requirements this only means that you are eligible for selection; it does NOT mean that you will necessarily be accepted.

The designated subject list is:

Accounting                          Agricultural Science                       Business Studies  

Consumer Studies,               Dramatic Arts                               Engineering Graphics and Design

Economics                           Geography                                   History                       

Information Technology        Languages                                   Life Sciences                               

Music                                  Mathematics/Mathematical Literacy                                         

Religion Studies                   Physical Science                           Visual Arts.

The minimum entry requirements for admission to Rhodes University in 2018 are set out in the following table below. Note (a) the point levels that are required (b) the differences in the achievement levels that are needed for Mathematical Literacy, (c) the need for Life and/or Physical Sciences for degrees in Science or Pharmacy.


The percentages achieved in National Senior Certificate examinations (preliminary and final examinations) will be allocated an admissions score using the percentage obtained for each subject. The sum of six subject scores, excluding Life Orientation but including English and any other required subject(s) for the relevant programme is considered when deciding on admission. Results below 40% for any subject do not attract a score. Mathematics Paper 3 does not contribute to the APS score but the results will be captured for the Dean to note when making an admission decision.


English Home Language78%7.8 points
Afrikaans/isiXhosa first/Additional  Language73%7.3 points
Mathematics69%6.9 points
Life Sciences70%7.0 points
Dramatic Arts89%8.9 points
Accounting73%7.3 points
Life Orientation90%0 points
Additional Mathematics60%0 points
TOTAL POINTS 45.2 points


An application is usually (and wisely) made well in advance of knowing your final results, in which case the application form requires your school to supply provisional results, based on internal examinations. If your provisional scores are very promising you may well be offered a place to study even before you take the final examinations. Please note an offer is conditional subject to you obtaining “Bachelor Degree Status” and your admissions point score (APS) being maintained or improved.

If you do not meet the APS score of 45 points for automatic acceptance, you may still be considered for a place at the Dean’s discretion. Such places are usually offered with some extra conditions. Some places are usually offered to students with an APS score of 38 – 44 with some extra conditions (see extended studies below).  It is therefore very important to give full information when completing the application form as this is the information that the Dean will use for making a decision.

Extended Studies Programme

This is an alternative route to university studies at Rhodes.  A limited number of students who show potential to succeed are exposed to a carefully designed and supportive learning environment which enhances their ability to succeed at Rhodes University.  This option is for students coming from disadvantaged backgrounds on condition that they take their degree over an extra year at University.  It is therefore very important to give full information when completing the application form as this is the information that the Dean will use in making a decision.


It is recommended that all first-time university entering South African applicants write the NBT’s. If the applicant does not meet the automatic entry requirements the NBT results will be used by the Dean to make decisions on applications. These test results can also be used if a candidate does not meet the entrance requirements in their final examinations.

There are two NBT’s. The Academic and Quantitative literacy test (AQL) consists of two components, namely academic literacy and quantitative literacy. An applicant will be awarded separate scores for each component, even though they are written as one test. Applicants to all faculties should write the AQL. The Mathematics test is based on the Mathematics Grade 12 Syllabus. Applicants who wish to enter Pharmacy, Science or Commerce should write the Mathematics Test. One score is awarded for the Mathematics Test.

For further information about the NBT’s, dates and venues, please visit www.nbt.ac.za or 021 650 3523.

International requirements

40 points and above will receive a firm offer, 37 – 39 points will remain on hold until the end of September to be considered by the Dean if space is available. 

For candidates who offer A, O, HIGCSE & IGCSE, five different subjects are counted.  The basic minimum requirement for admission to the University is a certificate of Full Exemption or Foreign Conditional Exemption from the Matriculation Board. Applicants who have passed A levels are eligible for full exemption provided the passes in approved subjects meet the following requirements:

A-level:  symbols A-E (minimum of 2 subjects)

AS-level: symbols A-D (4 subjects and 1 at O-level)

O-level:  symbols A-C (maximum of 3 subjects)

At least 2 subjects at A-level and 3 different subjects at O-level or 3 subjects at A-level and 2 at O-level

HIGCSE/IGCSE qualification:

HIGCSE:  symbols 1-3 (4 subjects)

IGCSE:  symbols A-C (1 subject)

International Baccalaureate (B)

3 High level (HL) subjects:  Grade 4

4 Standard Level (SL) subjects:  Grade 5

Points rating

Symbol/Result/ GradePoints Awarded
 A 1 7 10 9 8 10
 B 2 6 9 8 7 4 9 6
 C 3 5 8 7 3 8 5
 D 4 4 7 6   7 4
 E  3 6    3

If you are applying for Pharmacy your A Levels or AS Levels must include Mathematics, Science and Biology. If you are applying for Science your A Levels, AS Levels or O Levels should include Mathematics, Science and Biology

With at least 1 subject from each of the following groups:

Group IEnglish
Group IIAfrikaans, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Nederlands, 
Portuguese orany other language approved by HESA
Group IIIBiology, Botany, Chemistry, General Science, Geology, 
Mathematics, Physics, Physics & Chemistry, 
Zoology or any of the following if not offered under Group II – 
Afrikaans, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Latin,
Portuguese, Nederlands or any other language approved by HESA

Please note that Psychology, Sociology, Physical Education, General Paper and Thinking Skills are not recognised subjects for entry to a South African University.

If you have 2 A Level passes but do not have a second language, application should be made to HESA (through your University after registration) for a Foreign Conditional Exemption. The onus is on you to acquire this certificate.