Determination of Credit Hours (Accredited Units)


Credit hours are the number of hours a learner spends to learn, or the amount of required learning leading to obtaining a qualification. Credit hours are calculated through the number of hours required to achieve the learning outcomes of a qualification, based on the following regulations and by-laws:

  • The number of credit hours (accredited units) accredited for each course or program is an indication of the expected amount of learning linked to the number of actual study hours in different learning activities, such as classes, auxiliary classes, and laboratories.
  • The minimum learning hours for a bachelor's degree are (120) credit hours (accredited units).
  • The minimum learning in one semester is (15) weeks for a full-time program, or its equivalent carried out part-time.​

The NQF, in pursuance of seeking flexibility regarding successful and continuous transitioning across educational and training levels, as well as promoting continuing education, outlines early graduation regulations and procedures to award certificates for accredited qualifications for a specific degree halfway towards academic, applied, or vocational programs (e.g. Bachelor's, Master's, and/or Doctoral Degree programs). These degrees may be awarded to learners after meeting the knowledge and skills required in a specific discipline. Though this degree qualification is not equivalent to the initial program, it is considered a recognition that learners have achieved the required knowledge and skills qualifying them for an academic or vocational level, which is determined during the construction and design of the educational or training program. As such, the awarded certificate falls within the previous educational level of the qualification awarded by the program and must comply with the following guidelines:

  • Descriptions of early graduation points are integral parts of the program design.
  • Define levels of the qualification's early graduation points and title of the certificate in light of the NQF regulations to count as an independent and recognized qualification.​
  • Grant permission to learners, enrolled to graduate early from a program, to complete the qualification degree after meeting the academic and GPA requirements.​

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