University Of Cape Town Grading System

University Of Cape Town Grading System

As a guideline for SSA undergraduate students, a full academic load equivalent to that of a full degree student for a semester, is considered to be between 72 and 90 NQF* credits per semester. The undergraduate courses at the University of Cape Town are offered as first, second and third year courses (1000-, 2000-, 3000- codes). In general, a South African bachelor’s degree is of three years duration. Fourth year courses (4000 codes) form part of the single year Honours degree, or the four year professional bachelors degree, which are required for admission to Masters-level studies. Some fourth year level courses may be open to senior SSA students, if students meet the pre-requisites. Bear in mind that transfer of credit is always at the discretion of the home institution or centralised programme.
UCT transcripts and handbooks show the credit value for each course. 1 NQF credit represents roughly 10 notional hours of work.
There is no longer a table that should be used for converting all courses at a certain level (eg 1000 – level) to a specific number of credit hours. Each course has a uniquely defined HEQF credit value, which is published in the Faculty Course handbooks.
The Registrar’s Office has indicated that the following process should be used to determine the relative ‘weight’ of a course:

  1. What credits should be used? The NQF credit points allotted to the course – these are in the handbooks, both printed and online, for every course in every Faculty.
  2. What is a FULL LOAD? The usual full load for an undergraduate student for one semester is 72 NQF credits. Students enrolled for a full degree of study at UCT may take up to 90 credits in one semester, but 72 credits is the minimum full load.

As usual, semester study abroad students are permitted to enrol in up to FOUR semester courses.
An example

NQF credit values % of full semester load
18 25%
24 33%
36 50%

UCT does not use a US grade point average system. Grades are awarded at the end of the semester for individual courses and are usually based on the final examination as well as continuous assessment through the semester (assignments, tutorials and tests). Grades expressed as percentages are classified as first, upper second, lower second and third, similar to the British system.
Recommended grade conversion table

UCT grades Approximate equivalents:
In the US In the UK
75 – 100% First Class A 1
70 – 74% Second Class (Division One) B+ 2.1
60 – 69% Second Class (Division Two) B 2.2
50 – 59% Third Class C 3
0 – 49% Fail F Fail
DPR: Duly Performed certificate refused ie. Not permitted to write examination F Fail
AB: Absent from examination F Fail

National Qualification Framework
This is a recommended grade conversion. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) at