It is possible that you are already a university student, either at the University of Cape Town or at another institution in South Africa or another country, and wish to transfer into the Faculty of Humanities at UCT.

Transferring from another faculty

If you wish to transfer from another faculty at UCT into a Humanities degree, this will often be possible, subject to assessment of your Matric point score, NBT results, length of registration in another programme, and results in your current faculty. Please take careful note of the following conditions:

  1.  In the case of first-year students, we will often overlook a poor first-semester record which has been because you chose the wrong degree for you and disliked your courses.
  2. You should also be aware that you must meet Humanities Matric point entrance requirements for the degree into which you wish to transfer; Humanities entrance thresholds are no lower than any other faculty, and in some cases may be slightly higher; it is not a foregone conclusion that your Matric points are high enough because you were accepted in another faculty.
  3. You cannot apply to transfer to Humanities if you have been excluded from your original faculty. In the case of exclusion, your only route is to appeal against that decision at the end of the year as usual, and specify that you are requesting readmission into Humanities as either your first or second choice; our Readmission Appeals Committee will then consider your request. Please note that if you do not specify Humanities on your appeal, we will not be able to consider your application later. Please also note that you will need to obtain in-principle confirmation of your eligibility to transfer, and will need to include that documentation with your appeal; you can obtain this from Dr. Tiffin, see details below.
  4. Under the new DHET regulations which allow students only n+1 years of study for a degree (i.e. base number of years of the degree plus one, so four years of registration for a three-year programme) we are also obliged to count all your previous years of study in another programme towards that n+1 total. The only thing that resets the count is graduating. If you have had more than one or at the most two years of registration in your previous programme, unless the majority of your credits are applicable to the Humanities programme and you can finish within n+1 counting your previous years of registration, we are unlikely to be able to accept you for transfer.
  5. If you wish to transfer into one of the Performing/Creative Arts degrees (Music, Dance, Fine Art, Theatre and Performance), please note that these programmes entail mostly whole-year courses, so you will most likely not be able to move at mid-year. You will also need to audition or submit a portfolio for consideration as part of the assessment process.
  • Application for transfer into another faculty is done via change of curriculum service request on Peoplesoft, although we recommend you seek curriculum advice from an advisor for the programme you wish to enter BEFORE you submit on Peoplesoft, as it will be easier to do all the course changes and the programme change on one form, and you are likely to make errors in your course choices for a new and unfamiliar programme without advice. Please see the list of Humanities advisors at Students wishing to transfer into the general BA or BSocSci degree should email
  • Download an ACA09 form from the Student Forms page.
    • Fill out your details and tick the boxes for Change programme, Change faculty, and (if you are before the start of the second semester and making course as well as programme changes, Withdraw/add course.
    • Fill out section 2A to list the code for your current programme, and the code for the Humanities programme you wish to enter. You can find the codes (e.g. HB001 for the general BSocSci) in the relevant faculty handbook, along with the major codes for your new majors if you are applying to enter a general degree.
    • Fill out section 2C to drop any courses from your current faculty you no longer wish to take, and to add the courses for your new programme.
      • We recommend that you talk to a curriculum advisor from Humanities before you do this.
      • Note that how much change you can make to your actual courses will depend on the time of year of your application; for first semester course adds, you will need to submit before the first week of first semester lectures, and the same for second semester. Remember that the transcript removal deadline for courses is halfway through the course, so you may be able to drop some of your current courses, if you do not wish to continue them and/or they will not count towards your new degree, even if you can't add new ones in their place.
  • Submit the completed form to the change of curriculum service request on your Peoplesoft login. You can find directions for submitting a change of curriculum service request on the Student Systems page, but NOTE: you do NOT submit to the usual sub-type of request. After you've clicked on the Create New Request button,  click on the Change of Curriculum applications option in the Request Category list as usual, and click Next; the next list of options will give you a list of Request Subtypes, including the usual "Change of curriculum within current faculty", which you do NOT use. Instead, look down the list for "Change into Humanities" (there should be one for each faculty), and click on that. Thereafter it's a standard change of curriculum service request, to which you upload your completed ACA09 form.
  • Note that processing the form may take a while; if you have made errors in your course choices the advisor may need to send the request back to you for correction, so please keep an eye on the service request. If you do not meet our requirements, but only by a narrow margin, your request may need to be forwarded for consideration by our Admissions Committee, which only meets every couple of weeks, so there may also be a delay there.
  • Note that if you wish to transfer into one of the Performing/Creative Arts degrees (Music, Dance, Fine Art, Theatre and Performance), please note that you will also need to audition or submit a portfolio for consideration as part of the assessment process. Please consult the relevant curriculum advisor for the programme about the audition/portfolio requirements and process.

The General Degrees offer you a wide choice of subjects which you can select for yourself; you must complete a minimum of two majors (i.e. subject specialisation taken to third-year level) in order to graduate.

If you approach us for transfer during the course of the first semester, we will usually be able to change your degree and courses for the second semester so that you don't waste any time.

  • You will usually be able to transfer if your Matric points meet the requirements for the degree you wish to enter, and if your results for your original faculty are reasonable and you have only spent a year in your previous programme, or if a substantial number of credits from that programme will transfer into a Hum degree if you've been registered for longer than a year (i.e. it is likely that you will be able to finish your Humanities degree before you run out of time under the n+1 rules).
  • If your results in your current faculty are poor enough that you are likely to be facing exclusion, we will not consider a transfer, but will wait for year-end results to see if you need to go through the Readmission Appeals Committee.


We will usually accept a limited number of credits for courses you have completed in Law, Science or Commerce subjects towards a General BA or BSocSc degree in Humanities, with a few exceptions (we do not recognise Professional Communications courses) . We do not usually recognise credits from Health Sciences or Engineering subjects, although Humanities, Science or Commerce subjects taken within Engineering or Health Science degrees may still count. Please remember that 12 out of your 20 semester courses required for a general BA or BSocSc must be Humanities credits.

Duration of study

Humanities permits registration for a maximum number of years, namely your degree duration (3 or 4 years) plus 1 year. Note that this is a stricter requirement than in the past; it is becoming increasingly difficult to transfer programmes given the alignment of our readmission criteria with NSFAS's n+1 framework. If you have already been registered in your previous faculty for more than a year, we are unlikely to offer you a place.


Transfer into these Structured Degree Programmes is at the discretion of the convenor of the programme, and you must also meet Matric points required for entry into the programme.

  • For PPE transfer, the convenor usually requires you to pass a first year in Politics, Philosophy and Economics in the general Bachelor of Social Science before he will consider you for transfer into the PPE - see the guidelines for general degrees, above. This means that you must also meet requirements for entry into Economics and Maths courses, i.e. Matric Mathematics at NSC 6 or higher.
  • For Film and Media Production, students are accepted midway through their second year, and only once they have completed the two first-year Film and Media courses (FAM1001F, Media and Society, and FAM1000S, Analysing Film and TV), plus one first-semester second-year course in either Media Studies or Film and Television Studies.

Performing and Creative Arts degrees comprise: Music (BMus and diplomas), Fine Art (BA in Fine Art) and Theatre and Performance (BA Theatre and Performance, or Performer's Diploma).

  • These practical creative arts programmes entail mostly whole-year courses, so it is not usually possible to transfer at mid-year.
  • You must meet the Matric point application threshold and NBT requirements for these degrees (please see the prospectus for details), as well as meeting the necessary standard in a portfolio (Fine Art) or audition (Music, Dance, Theatre).
  • You will only be accepted if your previous registration at UCT has not been too long (i.e. it is likely that you will be able to finish your Humanities degree before you run out of time).
  • You are likely to be able to use a few non-Humanities credits you might have earned in your previous faculty in the elective slots in Performing and Creative Arts degrees, but it is likely that very few of your previous credits will translate into a PCA degree. Transfer after more than a year of study is therefore extremely unlikely.

Transferring from another university

  • The Faculty of Humanities has a limited number of places for those applicants who wish to transfer from another institution. These places are reserved for students who have not been excluded from the other institution and have achieved a high average. Normally, an average of at least 65% across a full load of courses is required with offers typically made at 70% and above. The admission decision is based on both the FPS and the tertiary record.
  • Please note that UCT Matric points requirements tend to be somewhat higher than many other South African institutions. We are also not able to accept you for transfer if you were academically excluded from your previous institution.
  • The new DHET regulations allow students only n+1 years of study for a degree (i.e. base number of years of the degree plus one, so four years of registration for a three-year programme). Under these new regulations, we are also compelled to count years at a previous institution towards that n+1 total. The only thing that resets the count is graduating. If you have had more than one or at the most two years of registration at another institution, we are unlikely to be able to offer you a place in Humanities, as we only transfer limited credits, and you must register at UCT for two years to earn a UCT degree.
  • Follow the UCT online application process; you must apply formally for a UCT place by the usual application deadline, which for undergraduate study is usually the end of July in the year before you wish to start studying at UCT.
  • You will need to submit your tertiary record as well as your school-leaving exam achievements, and we will consider both as criteria for acceptance. We suggest that you submit your application after the release of your first-semester results, but it is likely that we will not make you a firm offer until your end-of-year results have been released.
  • University rules state that you must register at UCT for a minimum of 2 years before you can be granted a UCT degree, so you cannot transfer to UCT to complete only a final year.
  • We will usually transfer credits from another university,within certain limits; we will also only recognise courses which are roughly equivalent to courses which are part of a Humanities curriculum at UCT. See below for guidelines.
  • We will not assess credit transfers before you have successfully applied; transferring students go through the credit transfer process once they have arrived at UCT for Orientation, and just before they register.
  • Please note that we have many applications for transfer, and can accept only a fraction of them.
  • If you are continuing at UCT with subjects you took before – or even if you have done subjects at your other institution which you wish to count as electives towards your UCT degree – you will need to go through the credit transfer process, which is how we will reflect those external courses on your UCT academic record.
  • We transfer these courses by crediting you on your UCT record with the UCT course which is equivalent in content and course size to the course you did elsewhere; these are reflected with credit codes, CX, EX or CR (see below for what they mean), we do not reflect the actual mark.
  • Credits will thus only usually be given in subjects which are offered through the Faculty of Humanities at UCT, or offered in other faculties at UCT and recognised towards Humanities degrees.

You will need to go through the credit transfer process before you obtain curriculum advice or register, as you will need to show your advisor, and submit with your registration, the signed credit transfer forms as proof that you will be credited with those courses, will not need to repeat them, and can sign up for higher level courses based on the transfer courses as pre-requisites.


  • For a general BA or BSocSci general degree or the PPE, the maximum number of credits we will transfer from another institution is 8 semester courses out of the 20 which make up the degree. This is a standard first-year load.
    • For rules governing the transfer of credits for the BMus, BA Fine Art or BSocial Work, please consult the Faculty of Humanities Undergraduate Handbook. As a rough guide, we will transfer the equivalent of the first two years of study towards a four-year degree.
  • We do not usually transfer credits higher than second-year level (note that transferring second-year courses required for a major will remove you from contention for distinction in that major, as our distinction rules require high second-year marks as well as third-year, and we do not transfer the marks). While we may transfer third-year credits for four-year programmes such as the BSW or BAFA, under no circumstances will we transfer third-year major credits for students transferring into the general BA or BSocSci degrees, or fourth-year core credits for students in a four-year programme.
  • We transfer credits by crediting your UCT transcript with the UCT course which is closest in content, level and weighting to the external course you passed. We cannot credit you with something for which we have no equivalent, or which is not counted towards the degree you are doing.
  • The assessment of the equivalence between your external course and the UCT course is done by the Head of Department for that subject at UCT; we do not keep a standard list of equivalences.
  • We cannot credit the same course twice; we thus cannot transfer a credit for a course which you take at UCT. If you are granted a credit transfer for a particular course and subsequently take that same course, we will remove the credit transfer from your record.


  • Please bear in mind the importance of the country-wide credits framework which defines South African university courses (SAQA credits). In the general BA and BSocSci degree curricula, UCT first-year Humanities semester courses are usually worth 18 SAQA credits; second-year semester courses are worth 24. This is generally a higher credit count than many other SA universities, so you will not always receive a one-on-one transferral of courses.
  • Transferring South African students are required to provide SAQA credit information for their previous institution's courses (usually on the university transcript), but please see the table below for general guidelines.
  • Please also note that the NQF has considerably tightened regulations for credit transfer, and we are not permitted to grant direct equivalences on a course with fewer credits, even if the difference is only one or two points.
  • In practice, what we will usually do if you have transfer credits which are just below the UCT course size, is to use any courses for which you have not found an equivalent, or which exceed the maximum credit transfer allowance, to make up the other courses to full size. If you do not have extra courses which can be used to bulk up the credit, you will receive an EX credit rather than a CX credit – i.e. exemption, not credit, so it counts as a pre-requisite but doesn’t count towards the total number of courses needed for the degree.



Equivalences (semester courses)

UCT Humanities General Degree courses

First-year semester courses: 18 credits.

Second-year semester courses: 24 credits


First-year courses: 18 credits.

Second- year courses: 24 credits


First-year courses: 16 credits.

Second- and third-year courses: 16 or 32 credits (varies)


First- and second-year courses: 15 credits.

Third-year courses: 30 credits.


ALL courses (first to third year): 12 credits.

You need 1.5 UNISA courses to make one UCT course at first-year level, and two UNISA for one UCT at second-year level.

Process for credit transfer

1. Download a credit/exemption form from the sidebar link. If you wish to conduct the process by email, you may wish to send a separate form to each HoD just to save time, that’s fine, you can submit multiple forms with different courses on each.

2. Email the form, your external transcript and some material describing the course content of your courses (such as the course description from a university handbook) to the Head of Department (HoD) of each subject you have completed.  

  • The HoD contact list is available below (note that email addresses are not always complete in the listing, they should be, not just @uct).
    • The HoD will assess the course content and decide which UCT course it most resembles.
    • They will decide whether to give you a Credit (i.e. the course counts towards the 20 you need for a general degree), an Exemption (the course counts as a requirement for a major or programme, and as a pre-requisite for higher-level courses), or both. (See table at the end of this guide).
    • They will indicate this information on the form, and sign it.
    • Remember that the HoD assessment is a recommendation; while you will always receive the exemption on the HoD's signature, it may be that subsequent assessment of credit weighting will discover that the course is too small for full credit transfer. A CX awarded by an HoD may become an EX after checking and processing.

3. You may now use this form as proof of credits for purposes of registration. Make sure you submit the signed credit form with your advice request and your registration on Peoplesoft, so the advisors have evidence of the courses you do not need to take because you are transferring the credit.

4. At some stage after the first few weeks of term, email your form, signed by as many HoDs as are necessary (or multiple forms if you sent one to each HoD to save time), to Dr.Jessica Tiffin, Note that it is not sufficient to submit the credit forms with your online registration, you must also forward them to her separately by email.

  • With it you should submit your external transcript, preferably by forwarding the email in which your external institution sent you the virtual version of your transcript.
  • South African students must also submit information regarding the SAQA credit rating of their courses, either on their transcript or in official documentation from their previous institution (e.g. a handbook).
  • Foreign students must submit information on the weighting of their courses: grade points for American courses, or ICTS credits for European institutions, or if neither, the duration, number of hours per week, and number of courses taken overall in a semester or year in their previous degree.

5. Your courses will be checked against the UCT equivalents, and relative weightings calculated. The UCT courses granted will then be transferred onto your official UCT record, reflecting as a CX/CR/EX (some combination of credit and exemption, see below), not as the actual mark you earned at your other institution.

6. Please note that an HoD's signature attesting to an equivalence does NOT guarantee you will be given the credit, as HoDs assess content, not weighting. As we are not permitted to give a direct one-on-one equivalence based on smaller credits, you may well find that your final credit tally is lower than the exemptions granted by the HoDs, and youmay have to do a course or two extra in your first year at UCT to make up for the difference.

7. There are a lot of transfer students in the Faculty of Humanities, and Dr Tiffin is the only person who processes the forms. Your transfer credits should appear on your Peoplesoft record sometime during the first semester. If they have not appeared by the end of the first semester exam period, please query this with by emailing



Credit only

The course has the correct size/credit weighting, it counts towards the 20 you need for a general degree, or the total required for a programme, but its content is not equivalent enough to anything we offer for it to be used as a pre-requisite or a specific requirement for a major or programme.


Exemption only

The course counts as a requirement for a major or programme, and as a pre-requisite for higher-level courses, but is not large enough to count one towards the 20 required by the general degree, or towards the total number of courses required by a programme.


Credit and exemption

The course has both content and size equivalence, it counts in exactly the same way as a normal course with a mark instead of a CX.


Contact the Co-ordinator of Undergraduate Affairs

Dr Jessica Tiffin - Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies

Room 105.2, Beattie Building

University Avenue South, UCT Upper Campus


Head of Department contact list