This year has not been a good one for the University of South Africa (Unisa) due to constant delays and problems around registration and examinations even before COVID-19 reached the continent. Putting this aside the institution has today opened applications for its first semester of 2021.

The dates and qualifications for this are as follows:

  • 1st September – 30th November: Undergraduate qualifications (degrees, diplomas, advanced diplomas, advanced certificates and higher certificates)
  • 1st September – 15th December: Honours degrees and postgraduate degrees
  • 15th September – 6th November: Master’s and doctoral qualifications

While we still strongly urge potential students to apply as soon as possible should they like to get in, Unisa has a spotted history when it comes to sticking to its own dates.

Both semesters of 2020 had the registration dates delayed a whopping three times each. All six delays were due to the late release of examination results on the part of the university. When these exams were moved online due to the pandemic, delays happened regardless.

At this point it’s important to note that “application” and “registration” are not the same things at Unisa. Application is what new students, and students beginning a new degree, have to go through. Registration, on the other hand, happens for students once they are accepted and is the process of choosing modules and paying tuition ahead of the commencement of the semester.

Application dates are much less volatile that registration dates, but again Unisa has a penchant for problems involving dates of any kind.

In July of this year the university also made the news when minister of higher education, science and technology Blade Nzimande announced a probe had been launched into the school to address “mission drift” and other apparent problems. No results have come from this yet but it is set to run for six months, so we’ll hopefully know more in February 2021.