The new NSC pass requirements.

The new NSC pass requirements.

March 14, 2019 by Steven Jordaan

Whether you are here as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed matriculant, a veteran coming back for round two or even a parent (hi mom!), within the next few minutes you will know everything you need for that craved National Senior Certificate (NSC).

Firstly you should probably know that you can pass with a Higher Certificate, a Diploma or a Bachelor’s Pass. Only a Bachelor’s Pass can lead to a tertiary degree or diploma.

As of August 2018, the requirements for passing the NSC (with Bachelor’s entrance) have changed. If you aren’t a person who regularly keeps up with educational news, this probably went under your radar - so let’s give you some background.

Basic NSC requirements

You need at least seven subjects, with a minimum of 40% for three (one being your Home Language) and at least 30% for another three, allowing you to fail one subject in order to pass with a Higher Certificate.

Diploma Pass requirements

You will need to achieve at least 40% for four 20-credit subjects (one being your Home Language and they can’t be LO). You will also need at least 30% for two other subjects, allowing you to fail one.

Bachelor's Pass requirements

The Bachelor’s entrance requirements have changed and here is what you need to achieve:

  • One official language at Home Language level with 40% or more
  • Four other 20-credit subjects with 50% or more (excluding LO)
  • Two other subjects with 30% or more
  • At least 30% in the language of higher teaching

Please note that you can’t fail any of your seven subjects with a Bachelor’s pass.

Current 20-credit subjects:

Accounting, Agricultural Sciences, Business Studies, Dramatic Arts, Economics, Engineering Graphics and Design, Geography, History, Consumer Studies, Information Technology, Life Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Music, Physical Sciences, Religion Studies, Visual Arts and Languages.


Don’t be fooled by these statistics, universities are allowed to specify the entry requirements for degrees; a Bachelor of Science at the University of Pretoria requires 60% for English, Mathematics and Physical Science. These requirements are much higher and far more specific than the NSC Bachelor’s entrance requirements.

If you are planning on studying at a specific university for a specific degree, make sure to look up their entry requirements and aim for that. Instead of the bare minimum recommended by the DBE.