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Admission Requirements

USB's s​​tringent admission criteria result in higher retention and pass rates.


Academic qualifications

The South African Council on Higher Education has raised the entry requirements of the MBA programme in South Africa. Students applying for the MBA are now required to have one of the following qualifications on NQF level 8 before they are allowed entry into the MBA:

  • 4-year Bachelor's degree (NQF level 8) and at least 3 years of relevant full-time working experience


  • Honours degree (NQF level 8), plus 3 years of relevant full-time working experience


  • 3-year Bachelor's degree (NQF level 7) plus a postgraduate diploma (NQF level 8) and at least 3 years of relevant working experience

​The working experience should preferably be on managerial level. Also note that USB's one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration (NQF level 8 with 120 credits) is aimed at preparing students for the MBA.​.

Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning

USB provides wider access to its programmes through its Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) process. In line with the requirements of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under ARPL. Candidates who wish to be admitted under the ARPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective MBA students have to adhere to the following: 
  • Have at least an NQF 6 qualification. 
  • Have at least SIX years of working experience after obtaining the above-mentioned qualification, of which at least THREE years should have been in a management or related professional position. 
  • Submit a comprehensive CV, indicating detailed areas of responsibility as well as information on activities outside the work environment. 
  • Provide USB with at least two references (typically current or former line heads) who can testify about the candidate’s managerial or related professional abilities. These references will be required to give a detailed personal reference about the candidate on forms provided by USB. 
  • Next, USB’s Admissions Committee (head of the programme and another academic) will conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate. 
  • If the Committee is of the opinion that the candidate has the ability to cope with the demands of the MBA programme, he/she may be admitted. 
  • A recommendation of admission is sent via USB’s Academic Planning Committee to the Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for notification. 
  • Note that ARPL candidates need to apply by 30 October each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.