A core part of the work of the Umthombo Centre for Student Success is running the Humanities 4-year degree or Extended Degree (ED) Programme. This includes running the eight Humanities Introductory Courses (in collaboration with the Centre for Higher Education Development ~ CHED), managing the Plus Tutorials and promoting the education development and well-being of undergraduate Humanities students more generally.

More broadly we aim to:
1.    Work with Humanities departments and the CHED to design and provide curricula and pedagogic interventions to support both undergraduate and postgraduate students;
2.    Build a learning community for students, especially those on EDs, that affirms student agency, provides a ‘home base’ on campus and ‘social access’ to the academy;
3.    Work through Faculty structures as well as informally with HoDs, academics, teaching assistants and tutors to improve the educational quality and appropriate contextualization of curricula and pedagogies in the Humanities;
4.    Conduct and publish research on our practice and on related educational, social and linguistic questions.

The ED caters for those students who choose to take longer than the minimum 3-year period to complete their undergraduate degree and/or for those students admitted to the Faculty via redress admissions criteria. About 250 students p.a. are admitted to the Faculty on condition that they register for the 4-year degree programme which includes education interventions and a lighter course-load per semester (usually 3 courses per semester). In addition, students on the 3-year degree who fail 3 or more courses in their first semester, are advised by the Faculty to join the ED degree in July of their first year.

If you register for the ED you will be asked to choose 2 out of 4 Introductory Courses on offer in your first year and to attend at least 3 Plus Tuts (ideally linked to your majors) during the course of your degree. You will need to complete 22 courses in total to graduate with a  BA or BSocSci. The course load for the ED is 6 + 6 + 6 + 4 (22 courses in total over 4 years), compared with 8 + 6 + 6 (20 courses in all over 3-years) for a 3-year degree. Less than 50% of students nationally complete their degrees in the minimum time of 3 years, so the extra year should be understood as a way of easing the pressure of studying at university and getting extra resources and support for your learning process. Apart from taking 2 Introductory Courses and attending at least 3 Plus Tutorials, there is no difference between the 3-year and 4-year degree programmes.  You will attend the same lectures and write the same assignments and exams as all other students.

As a student on the ED Program, you receive academic support in the following forms:

Introductory and Numeracy Courses:

ED students are required to take and pass two semester-long introductory or numeracy courses. The Introductory or Numeracy courses you take will depend on your NSC scores for English and Mathematics and on which majors you choose.


  • Language in the Humanities (DOH1002F),
  • Numbers in the Humanities (MAM1022F),
  • Texts in the Humanities (DOH1010S),
  • Concepts in the Social Sciences (DOH1009S).

More information about which courses you should take for which programme or major can be found in the 4-Year Degree Programme section. Double-check with your curriculum advisor when you register to make sure you have chosen the right courses.

Extended Degree Teaching Assistants (EDTA):

These are usually PhD students in their respective disciplines who have a range of responsibilities within their departments aimed at improving ED students’ learning experiences. For example, they design and manage additional tutorials (Plus Tutorials), help the lecturers train and manage tutors, and oversee the work of ED tutors who run the Plus Tutorials. They are available to help you in departments, so please get to know the ED TA in your departments.

Curriculum Advice:

The Umthombo Centre for Student Success has three trained curriculum advisors on its staff: Shari Daya, Shannon Morreira, and Tammy Wilks. There are many more curriculum advisors in the Faculty, and all of them will be able to advise on the rules regarding the ED.