Postgraduate & Mature Students
The general definition of a mature applicant is someone who is 23 years old before or during the year in which he/she wishes to enroll for a formal academic programme.
Another category of mature candidates refers to people older than 45 years who did not follow the formal secondary school route in the South African schooling system and aspire to enter higher education.
Such candidates may apply for conditional matriculation exemption from Universities South Africa (USA) for entering formal academic programmes at South African universities.
They may be admitted to university study subject to specified conditions and terms as specified by the Committee of (University) Principals and the senate of the university. Senate has to be of the opinion that such applicant may reasonably be expected to complete the chosen curriculum.
Note that, apart from a matriculation certificate (with/without exemption) access to diploma and degree programmes may also entail other requirements relevant to the field of study as stipulated by the chosen university. Candidates may be obliged to meet such requirements before being admitted to the programme of their choice.
The National Plan for Higher Education indicates the importance of broadening participation of employed workers and mature learners in further study opportunities.
All South African universities therefore put policies in place for the recognition of prior learning (RPL) that mature age applicants have acquired that may be appropriate for admission to formal academic studies.
RPL refers to a formulised evaluation and acknowledgement of relevant knowledge and skills that a mature learner has gained other than through formal study. This may also include assessment of work and life experience relevant to the learning programme considered.
Mature applicants, who would like guidance on the acceptability of their qualifications and experience, or on how to qualify for entry to our programmes, should first contact NMMU’s Centre for Access Assessment and Research (CAAR) before submitting a formal application.
Tips for mature learners returning to study
Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 1111
Fax: +27 (0) 41 504 2574 / 2731
PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, 6031, South Africa
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