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Implement the RPL policy on a scale that is available to anyone who meets the specific admissions criteria and can demonstrate knowledge, skills, competence and academic readiness.


Provide effective access into UWC through the RPL route as stipulated and governed by the rules and regulations of the National RPL policy.  To validate skills and competence using robust, reliable and quality assured processes.


RPL for Access to Undergraduate Study
Applicants may apply for alternative admission into an undergraduate degree in UWC if they meet the following RPL requirements:
  • Applicants must be 23 years or older of age. This age requirement is proposed on the assumption that an appropriate level of maturity and relevant experience, skills or learning could be gained at 23 years of age.
  • Additionally specific subject requirements for entry into each degree programme will apply for all RPL applications. These subject requirements are stipulated in the prospectus/ handbook for each Faculty.

Applicants who have not completed a matriculation (grade 12) will need to go through the RPL assessment process (Portfolio Development Programme-PDP and Tests for Access and Placement- TAP) or National Benchmark Test (NBT) assessment process in order to demonstrate their learning, skills, competence and experience. Candidates who are 23 years or older, and do not have a matriculation certificate or National Senior Certificate, but have obtained other qualifications (below NQF level 5) or experience that may be deemed to be equivalent to the admission criteria will also be required to go through an RPL process, where relevant learning, knowledge, skills, competence and experience will be assessed

Applicants who completed a matriculation National Senior Certificate (NSC) but does not have a Bachelor’s pass or have additional qualifications will be considered if in Senates Discretion, they have demonstrated relevant learning, skills, competence and experience during RPL (PDP and TAP) or National Benchmark Test (NBT) assessment processes.

Candidates 23 years and older with a senior certificate (who matriculated prior 2008) and passed the senior certificate in a specific way qualifies for an age exemption and will be considered for admission if he/she meets the programme admissions requirements however candidates who do not qualify for an age exemption but who passed matric prior to 2008 and did not pass with a Bachelors and do not have any additional qualifications (below NQF level 5) will have to go through the RPL assessment processes.

Applicants who completed a matric National Senior Certificate (NSC) but do not have a Bachelor’s pass or have not completed additional qualifications (at NQF level 5) will be considered if in Senates Discretion, they have demonstrated relevant learning, skills, competence and experience during RPL (Portfolio Development Course and Tests for Access and Placement) or National Benchmark Test (NBT) assessment processes. Additionally If you are 23 years or older and you have gone through the RPL program and then gain admission into the University you may also write the computer literacy and English for Educational Development (EED) challenge test for programmes where these tests are prescribed. If you pass the challenge test, you will be exempted for from these modules.

This is the formal recognition of credits obtained for learning in other formal contexts such as another higher education institution. It may also include accredited courses provided by professional bodies, voluntary associations, enterprises, private educational institutions, trade unions, government agencies and/or other providers recognized by the university. This process entails the comparison of module descriptors, level and credits for a particular course/module

Access to postgraduate studies through Senate discretion is common practice at many universities. It usually entails candidates producing evidence of learning achievement through work and/or other experience. The current RPL policy at UWC makes provision for RPL for advanced standing on a case-by -case basis. Each application is considered and approved in collaboration with the relevant Faculty, supervisor (content specialist/academic), RPL Unit and the UWC Quality assurance office. Relevant research experience, formal and non-formal learning are evaluated.

Are you able to answer the following questions?
  • Do you have a Matric Certificate or a National Senior Certificate? Which year did you obtain?
  • If yes, please attach a copy of your certificate and IDENTITY Document to your application form
  • If you do NOT have a matric certificate / NSC, please state highest standard/grade passed at school and your last year at school
  • Do you have computer literacy skills?
  • Are you 23 years or older? Do you have any formal, informal or non-formal learning?
  • Are you interested in the TAP or Portfolio programme route?
  • Are you aware of the costs and payment deadline dates for TAP and Portfolio programme?


RPL Portfolio Development Programme (PDP/PDOP)
This PDP is a five month programme offered by the RPL Unit April-August each year. The programme consists of six key focus areas:
  1. RPL challenge exams
  2. University L&T induction
  3. Survival tool kit for students
  4. Portfolio development
  5. Academic writing
  6. Embedding UWC graduate attributes and lifelong learning
The Portfolio Development Course takes place during April to October each year. Each PDP candidate/participant will be required to attend compulsory webinars/workshops and mentoring sessions prior to the submission of finalized portfolios. The cost for the PDP/PDOP is R1450.00. This amount MUST BE PAID before the programme starts. The academic calendar for this programme is subject to change due to unforeseen factors that may impact traditional Teaching and Learning programmes within higher education.

Tests for Access and Placement (TAP)
Test Dates
  • September: UWC Reading and writing proficiency test
  • October/November: NBT test
  • October: Life sciences challenge exam
  • November: Physical science (Physics-Chemistry) challenge exam

Candidates selecting the TAP route will need to write the following tests and are required to pay an amount of R700. The deadline for payment is April. TAP applicants are required to do their own preparation for the NBT exams. There are plenty of study guides available in local bookshops and other material on the internet to assist you in this regard. The following websites are useful starting points: Due to the current COVID19 lockdown and social distancing regulations sit down exams for large number of students have been put on hold. The RPL Unit will post a new announcement once the TAP programme is active.

For more information click here