Applied Psychology

The matric subjects needed to study psychology

Aug 15, 2019

Considering a career in counselling or psychology? SACAP’s Academic Manager explains the available options – and their admission requirements

From assessing client’s needs through interviews, psychometric testing and observation, to providing counselling, and resehigharching and reporting, the job of a psychologist is anything but one-dimensional.

If a career in psychology is the road you’d like to travel, Clare Ford, Academic Manager at the South African College of Applied Psychology, explains the available routes you can take – and their admission requirements:

Course options and Matric qualifying requirements

Matric subject requirements depend on the particular qualification the student wishes to apply for,” explains Ford. “Matriculants could potentially apply for any of the following undergraduate programmes, subject to the minimum entrance requirements given below:

1. A Higher Certificate in Counselling and Communication skills

“This one-year vocational course is a great entry point into the field of psychology and will qualify you to work as a Support Worker, providing basic guidance to clients and referring them on to the relevant professionals should they need more specialised help,” says Ford. “It’s also an excellent supplementary qualification for those interested in entering the human resources, teaching, career counselling or correctional services professions.

Admission requirements

  • A National Senior Certificate, with a minimum of 45% in English OR
  • A Senior Certificate with Higher and/or Standard Grade subjects with a minimum of 45% in English, or equivalent qualification OR
  • Mature students (23 years of age and older) who do not meet the above requirements should provide a portfolio of evidence to support admission on the basis of SACAP’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy

2. A Diploma in Counselling and Communication

“This comprehensive two-year course develops insight in psychology, human behaviour and mental health, and is integrated with ‘work-ready’ counselling and communication skills for application a wide range of environments. It will provide you with a NQF-accredited qualification that is internationally comparable,” Ford explains.

Admission requirements

  • A National Senior Certificate (Diploma Pass), with a minimum of 45% in English, together with an achievement rating of 3 or better in four designated subjects (including Life Orientation), or equivalent qualification OR
  • A South African Senior Certificate (pre-2008) with an overall grade of D (or 50%) with English passed at Standard Grade (or better), or equivalent qualification OR
  • Mature students (23 years of age and older) who do not meet the above requirements should provide a portfolio of evidence to support admission on the basis of SACAP’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy

3. A Bachelor of Applied Social Science (BAppSocSci)

Ford explains that this comprehensive three-year undergraduate qualification is specifically designed to build critical thinking and a depth of understanding of the individual within a social context. “It will position you well for admission into an Honours degree or postgraduate studies in psychology, the social sciences or related fields,” she adds.

Admission requirements

  • A National Senior Certificate (Bachelors Pass), with a minimum of 45% in English, or equivalent qualification OR
  • A Senior Certificate (with Endorsement), with a minimum of a Standard Grade pass in English, or equivalent qualification OR
  • An NQF Level 5 Certificate, or equivalent qualification OR
  • Mature students (23 years of age and older) who do not meet the above requirements should provide a portfolio of evidence equivalent to NQF Level 5 training in an appropriate field of study to support admission on the basis of SACAP’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy

4. A Bachelor of Psychology (BPsych)

“This four-year full-time degree develops a thorough grounding in the knowledge, theory and principles of the profession and builds high intellectual independence and research capacity in the methodology and techniques of psychology,” says Ford. “In addition,” she adds, “the BPsych degree is a professional qualification that leads to registration as a Registered Counsellor with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPSA).”

Admission requirements

  • A National Senior Certificate, or equivalent, with an achievement rating of 5 (Substantial Achievement, 60-69%) or better in six designated subjects, including English and Mathematics (or Maths Literacy) OR
  • A Senior Certificate with Endorsement, or at least a Conditional Exemption, passed in at least four subjects, including English (First Language) and Mathematics (at least E at Higher Grade level or C at Standard Grade level)

Ford points out that there is a selection process for the BPsych degree and that SACAP has a limited annual intake of 20 students per campus into this programme.

If at first you don’t succeed…

Ford offers the following advice for those students unable to achieve a Bachelor or Diploma Pass: “You could enrol for SACAP’s Higher Certificate in Counselling and Communication Skills. Once you’ve passed this qualification, you could, subject to standard Higher Education credit transfer and progression rules, merge your credits into a Diploma in Counselling and Communication or a Bachelor of Applied Social Science.

“And if you complete the Diploma in Counselling and Communication,” she adds, “You could potentially merge these credits to continue to study further by enrolling in the Bachelor in Applied Social Science. Again, this is subject to credit transfer and progression rules.”

Of course it’s not all about subjects and marks – the field of psychology requires a number of other skills too. “Students should have a passion for people and for counselling in order for them to get the most out of their studies,” she says, adding that it will always advantage a student to be involved in their local communities, in a support capacity.

“While no doubt important, ultimately,” she concludes, “one’s studies are just the start of this challenging but exciting journey.”

If you think you have what it takes to embark on a career in psychology, why not consider SACAP as your school of choice. The South African College of Applied Psychology offers all the above courses, and more. For further information, please contact the Student Admissions Department at info@sacap.edu.za, or enquire today.

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