Requirements for Studying Nursing In South Africa

If you have been looking for the requirements for studying nursing in South Africa this 2022, this post will help you with information on that. We have compiled a list of the various nursing programmes available to potential nurses in the country and what is required to study them.

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There are two ways by which one can become a nurse in the country, and they are either by attending schools of nursing in South Africa and this lasts for three years; or by obtaining a nursing degree from any of the universities in South Africa offering this course and it takes a period of five years to complete. Kindly note that the regulatory body of nursing and midwifery in the federation is the Nursing and Midwifery Council of South Africa (NMCN).

Nurses salary structure in South Africa is respectable and should you eventually become a nurse, you will earn a decent monthly take home pay. Many Schools in the country where you can go to learn nursing, confer students with degrees and certifications ranging from Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife, Bachelor of Nursing Sciences and post-doctorate degrees, and we shall look at the requirements for these programmes below.


The information below are the requirements for studying nursing in South Africa this 2022:


This is the first degree that is available to students of nursing in the country and one can apply for it after finishing secondary school. Students who undergo the General Nursing Programme which results in the conferment of the Registered Nurse (RN) title should note that this very programme spans a period of three years and the basic entry requirements for studying the General Nursing Programme in South Africa this 2021 is five (5) O level credit passes in Mathematics, English Language, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology in at least two two (2) in either WAEC or NECO.

Students with foreign examination board result(s) are required to submit an evaluation report or equivalent grading from the Federal Ministry of Education along with the result. Presently, NABTEB is not an acceptable entry requirement for studying nursing in South Africa.


After becoming a registered nurse (RN), a person can fully practice their profession in the country, however, they may choose to further their studies by applying for a Post Basic Midwifery Programme in order to become a Registered Midwife (RM).

With the title of registered nurse (RN) or registered midwife (RM) added to one’s name, they are eligible to receive a Practicing Licence to begin a work-study programme which consist of a one-year professional on-the-job training. During this training, nurses gain experience in registering patients and working towards a clinical specialization at the certificate level through professional programmes.

Clinical specialization for nurses include but are not limited to the fields of Nurse Anesthetist, Public Health Nursing, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Ophthalmic or Occupational Health Nursing, etc. Nursing students can also receive credentials to work in Accident and Emergency Nursing, Perioperative Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, Burns and Plastic, Intensive Care, Ear, Nose and Throat Nursing, Cardiothoracic Nursing or Nursing Administration.

All of the above mentioned nursing specialization programmes span the entire duration of twelve (12) months (a full calendar year), with the exception of the Nurse Anesthetist programme, which runs throughout 18 months (one year and six months).


Another way through which one can become a nurse in South Africa is to go to the university and obtain a degree in nursing science. Prospective nurses in the country are required to apply through JAMB UTME after which successful candidates who meet the required cut off marks are encouraged to proceed with their Post-UTME.

Once they meet the requirements of their various schools of choice, they will be admitted for a five-year programme in the university to study nursing science after which they will be conferred with the degree of Bachelor of Nursing Sciences. They can as well study towards a being conferred with a Registered Nurse (RN), Registered Midwife (RM,) or Registered Public Health Nurse (RPHN) award.

If you are aspiring to study nursing at the University level this 2021, you are required to at least have five (5) credit level passes at not more than two (2) sittings in WAEC, NECO or GCE in the following subjects: English Language, Biology or Health Science, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics or any other science subject.

Some universities may accept any additional qualification from any health-related discipline such as: Community Health Officer Training Certificate (CHO), NCE (Physical/Health Education, Science Education, Nutrition, Home Economics), Health Superintendent, Registered Nurse (RN), Physiology, Medical Laboratory Science, to mention but a few.


After you must have finished with your bachelor’s degree in nursing and you want to further your education in this field via masters of PhD programmes, you can choose to apply to the various schools in South Africa offering this course at this academic level. The universities offering a master’s or doctorate degree in nursing include the following:

  • University of Calabar
  • University of South Africa, Nsukka
  • University of Benin
  • Niger Delta University
  • University of Ibadan
  • Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife
  • Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
  • Babcock University Ilishan Remo, and
  • Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

If you are a nurse and you are looking to renew your licence, check out our article on how to renew your nursing and midwifery licence in South Africa for more information.

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