Information for High School Learners

Why Choose UKZN

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) offers an exceptionally wide range of exciting and innovative courses that will broaden perspectives, foster a capacity for independent critical thinking, and provide intellectual tools to develop your mind, while at the same time enhancing your career opportunities in the local and global marketplace.


The University strives to provide an enabling environment for all its students so as to ensure their individual intellectual development, while at the same time, provide holistic education, which promotes an awareness of social responsibility and sound ethical practice in a diverse society.


And off course not all learning takes place in the lecture theatre. UKZN offers extensive sporting, cultural and extramural facilities and is one of four universities ranked in the world’s top 500 universities. The College of Health Sciences within the University of KwaZulu-Natal is situated in the subtropical seaside city of Durban. It has a climate that invites one into the outdoors, whether it is for surfing or hiking in the lovely Drakensberg mountain range only 2 hours away, or wild game and bird viewing in the internationally renowned national parks, famous for the successful conservation of the Black and White Rhinos. Durban is a city whose urban renewal programme has given us a world-class asset in the architectural delight of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, aesthetically pleasing landscape projects as part of the Greening Durban Project as well as ongoing city wide revival and re-generation programmes. The mix of Zulu, Indian and European cultures in the city makes it a unique urban environment in which to live and work.


Make History. Choose UKZN.

The College of Health Sciences

The College’s mission is to “…prepare graduates who are excellent scholars, functioning holistically, ethically and in a socially responsive manner within the African health care environment while actively engaging international collaboration and partnerships for education, research and service.” The College is committed to producing healthcare professionals equipped with the  knowledge, skills and attitudes to achieve affordable, accessible and optimal health for all South African and African communities in the spirit of ubuntu and batho pele.


The nursing programme was established in 1956 and is designated as the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) for Nursing and Midwifery, the Joanna Briggs Institute Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Based Nursing and is linked to the Child Survival Project by the Uthukela partnership for health. In line with the WHOCC, the nursing curriculum development and implementation occurs in the whole of Africa including the enrolment of postgraduate students from Africa for the development of leadership to effect developmental changes in these countries. Nursing has been awarded for its work in Africa through the receipt of the President’s Purple Cord Award for being the most active and responsive sub-chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Tau Lambda-at-Large Chapter in Africa.


Established in 1976, the programmes of Dentistry; Medical Sciences (Anatomy, Medical Biochemistry and Human Physiology); Physiotherapy, Sport Science and Optometry; Pharmacy and Pharmacology and Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Occupational Therapy have a rich heritage for being socially responsive.


As the largest provider of health sciences professional programmes in KwaZulu-Natal, the College is committed to training healthcare professionals, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds. All undergraduate and postgraduate programmes exemplify academic excellence; relevance to the South African and African healthcare contexts; diverse education and training platforms ranging from rural to urban and primary to tertiary healthcare, community-based education, community outreach and service; innovative research that informs teaching and learning, and international and national collaboration.


The College promotes excellence in teaching and learning through creative and innovative curricula. Virtually all programmes are accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), the South African Pharmacy Council (SAPC) or the South African Nursing Council. Teaching sites at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels offer the best experiential learning exposure. These include public hospitals and clinics both in the rural and peri-urban areas, as well as private and not-for-profit hospitals.


In every sphere of its activities the College is committed to the community it serves and a strong sense of context is reflected in its teaching, research and public service activities. It is also proud to host the $60 million KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and focusing on the worldwide effort to control the devastating co-epidemic of tuberculosis and HIV. A further 25 research groups contribute towards knowledge production.


The College boasts among its staff and alumni some of the most eminent and respected names in medical and health sciences and academia. Graduates include the current Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi;the current Minister of Finance, Dr Pravin Gordhan,  the premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Zweli Mkhize; the MEC for Health in KZN, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.



General Application Procedure

Applications are processed by the Central Applications Office (CAO) which is a central office that handles applications to all universities and universities of technology in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. For the most up-to-date information, visit the University’s website at or contact the CAO on 031-268 4444.


How does it work?

The application form allows you to apply to more than one institution. The form allows for six course choices. Please pay attention to the order in which you select your choices.



Application procedure

Applicants pay an application fee by:

         Direct deposit at any branch of First National Bank or via the Internet


·         Cheque or postal order direct to the CAO on submission of a completed application form (the cheque or postal order must be made out to the Central Applications Office and the cheque must be crossed. No cash payments are accepted).


Closing Date For Applications:                                

Medicine                                                                                30 June

Health Sciences Disciplines                                                     30 September


International Applicants: Entrance Requirements

International applicants, like all other applicants, are subject to the Faculty Selection Policy and Procedure. Selection is contingent on the number of spaces available. The qualifications of applicants who wrote non-South African school leaving examinations will be assessed as soon as we receive the applications and copies of certificates.


International applicants may qualify for exemption through AEB or Cambridge examinations if they have two A-levels (‘A’-‘E’) and three O-level passes (‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’) or equivalent. Certain subject groupings are required in addition to an O-level pass. The University seeks clarification on foreign qualifications from the Matriculation Board. Applicants are requested to obtain foreign conditional exemption certificates. Please ensure that you have your original documents available on registration and arrange for official translations where applicable.


For more information please consult the International Office website:


Why do you want to become a Health professional?

  1. Do you want to help others? Do you love Math and Science? Is money motivating you? Although a career as a health professional is extremely rewarding and often lucrative after many years of study, healthcare professionals experience high levels of stress and the field requires a great deal of commitment, endurance and hard work. Knowing your motives will help you stay focused later on in your career.
  2. Do you have the strengths and abilities required for this type of career? Healthcare workers are required to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. Coupled with this you are expected to have a good level of technical and mathematical skills as well as a strong work ethic. As your patients’ lives and their well-being are dependent on your professional ability, you must be responsible and mature at all times. If you’re a person who enjoys learning new things, then a career in the health field will provide you with adequate challenges due to the changing face of infectious diseases, new advancements in technology and emerging treatments.
  3. Where do you want to work? This is an important question to ask yourself. It is important to work in an environment where you’re comfortable. For example if a hospital seems too cold and huge to you, you may prefer to work in a laboratory as a researcher. If you enjoy working with children, you may prefer a career as a paediatrician. Alternatively, if you enjoy being outdoors, a career in sports may appeal to you.
  4. How will your career as a healthcare professional impact on your family and personal life in the long-term scenario? You are often expected to be on call and will work weekends, evenings and during the public holidays. Given these demands of the job, it is important to consider residing in an area that is close to your job. It is important to consider all of these facts before you embark on a career in the health sciences and medicine.



Please contact the Admissions Officer (see contact details at the end of this Brochure) for specific admission requirements for each of the programmes:


          Dental Therapy

          Occupational Therapy




          Speech-Language Therapy

          Sport Science



An audiologist is a health care professional who specializes in identifying, assessing, and preventing hearing impairment. Audiologists have extensive training and skills to evaluate the hearing of adults, infants and children of all ages. They work with patients as part of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, to identify, assess and manage hearing, balance and other ear-related disorders. The causes of hearing disorders can range from exposure to loud noise, viral infections, trauma at birth, aging, certain medication, or genetic disorders.


The purpose of the programme is to provide South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal in particular, with skilled audiologists, to ensure effective, efficient and accessible hearing health care service delivery in the public and private sectors, e.g. hospitals, special schools, industry and private practice. The service delivery includes hearing assessments (from infants to the elderly), specialized diagnostic testing, the fitting of hearing aids, hearing conservation programmes in industry, and therapy with hearing impaired children and adults.


Assessment of hearing is achieved by conducting a wide variety of tests to measure hearing ability and identify the presence and severity of any problem. Audiologists recommend and provide appropriate rehabilitation and management. This may involve fitting the person with a hearing aid and/or counselling the person about ways to communicate with a hearing loss.



Dental Therapy

Dental Therapists function as mid-level workers within the oral health team.  Students qualifying with the Bachelor of Dental Therapy degree can work in the public sector as well as in private practice, and can perform all functions within the scope of primary and secondary levels of prevention in Dentistry.  Dental Therapists do extractions, fillings, scaling and polishing, dental X-rays, local anaesthesia and health education and promotion.  In the first year, students are trained in pre-clinical courses that equip them to work on patients. In the second year, they learn basic clinical skills and patient care at the Oral and Dental Training Hospital.  In the third year of study, students spend most of their time working on patients in the different clinical disciplines of Dentistry which is within the scope of Dental Therapy.   


Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a person-centred profession that utilizes human potential to enable and empower people who are impaired or at risk of impairment, to be able to engage in the occupations of daily life. Occupational therapy uses human occupation as a modality to promote health and well-being and to address problems that may arise as a result of illness, physical or psychological impairment and disability or adverse social conditions and which may negatively impact on a person’s ability to function independently.


Occupational Therapists work with individuals suffering from developmental, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities or those at risk of developing these types of disabilities.  Patients work together with occupational therapists to improve reasoning and motor skills and learn how to function more competently in spite of permanent disabilities.


The programme in Occupational Therapy aims to provide South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal in particular, with a cadre of skilled Occupational Therapy staff to ensure effective, efficient and accessible occupational therapy service delivery in both the public and private sectors. The programme more specifically aims to develop competent and confident occupational therapists that are able to practice occupational therapy in a wide variety of health, welfare, educational and industrial settings.


Graduates are competent to work on a national and global level. To practice internationally, most countries require an entrance examination. The qualification, Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, allows the graduate professional to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as an Occupational Therapist.



The purpose of the undergraduate optometry programme is to produce optometry graduates equipped with appropriate knowledge and skills to adequately contribute to the eye health needs of the country.  The programme is designed to enhance life-long learning skills for continuous clinical and research development.


Optometrists are able to detect vision problems and eye diseases by performing a comprehensive visual examination which includes testing colour perception, depth perception, focusing and co-ordination ability, and fundoscopy. They prescribe spectacles, contact lenses and certain drugs, to help treat vision problems.  Optometrist’s management strategy may also include specialized treatment and therapies. The multidisciplinary involvement includes caring for patients before and after surgery such as laser vision correction and cataract removal.


Optometrists refer patients to other health professionals to ensure a holistic management of their patients. An optometrist can practice in the public or private sector, be actively involved in research, or lecture at an academic institution.



Pharmacy is a dynamic, information driven, product-and patient-orientated profession. In accordance with the requirements laid down by the South African Pharmacy Council, the Bachelor of Pharmacy degree is designed to produce healthcare professionals who are committed to meeting the pharmaceutical needs of all health seeking communities by being the:

·      Custodian of medicine formulation; manufacturer, distributor and controller of safe, effective and quality medicine; advisor on the safe, rational and appropriate use of medicine; provider of essential clinical services including screening and referral services; and provider of health care education and information. provider of pharmaceutical care by taking responsibility for the outcome of therapy and by being actively involved in the design, implementation and monitoring of pharmaceutical plans;

·       provider of cost-effective and efficient pharmaceutical services.


Pharmacists are responsible for distributing prescription drugs to patients and teaching them how to use their medication properly. They keep a careful watch on patients to make sure they are using their prescriptions properly. They also advise doctors on the side effects, dosages, selection, and interactions of certain medication. Pharmacists have a good understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of each drug as well as the clinical effects and proper uses.



Physiotherapy offers programmes that are modularized and designed to accommodate a range of learners with diverse backgrounds, interest and abilities.  The programme has both national relevance and international recognition.   The discipline has extensive access to clinical training facilities for general, specialized, and community practice.  It also has a well-equipped, fully computerized research laboratory allowing for basic and clinical research in neuromuscular and cardiopulmonary fields.


Physiotherapists work with patients suffering from conditions such as arthritis, cerebral palsy, back pain, fractures, heart disease, head injuries, and various accident injuries. They help to relieve pain, increase mobility, re-establish use, and to decrease long-term physical disabilities. After studying a patient’s medical history, physiotherapists observe the patient’s posture, strength, motor function, breathing ability, co-ordination, and balance. Plans are then implemented to treat the patient’s specific condition. Physiotherapists also assess the patient’s capability to be independent in the workplace or community. They also promote overall health and wellness among patients.

Exercise plays a crucial part in physical therapy. It helps to increase endurance, flexibility, and strength. Patients initially work with their muscles to improve their range of motion and flexibility. After those improvements are made, patients begin to work on co-ordination, strength, endurance, and balance to help them gain their independence.


Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-Language Pathology is a health care profession which aims to improve the quality of life of  people who have or who are at risk of developing communication disorders.  It is closely related to the fields of audiology, medicine, education and psychology.


The Speech-Language Therapist is a professional who can identify, assess and manage people who have:

*      Speech problems (difficulties in pronunciation, lisping and stuttering).

*      Language problems (difficulty understanding and using language to communicate).

*      Language learning problems (difficulties with reading and writing).

*      Voice problems (a “hoarse voice” or due to cancer of the throat); and

*      Feeding and swallowing problems (restricted movement or hypersensitivity during feeding). 


Services are offered to children and adults who have conditions such as cerebral palsy, cleft palate, autism, Down’s Syndrome, cognitive impairment, hearing impairment, stroke and head injury.  Speech-Language Therapists can also screen the hearing of children and adults.


Speech-Language Therapists can work in a state or private hospital, assessment and therapy centre, mainstream or special school, non-governmental organization, private practice or university teaching and research programme in South Africa.  Graduates can also seek employment overseas.


The Bachelor of Communication Pathology (Speech-Language Pathology) is a four-year programme that focuses on theory and clinical practice.  Graduates are required to do one year of compulsory community service upon completion of the programme. 



Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences

This programme aims to provide students with a greater understanding of the physiology and scientific bases for human performance in training, competition and recovery from sport and exercise. It also provides students with skills for recreation and leisure management, the health and fitness industry, coaching, teaching, working with disabled persons, with chronic disease patients and the enhancement of sport performance and the prevention and rehabilitation of injuries.


A sports scientist is concerned with supporting athletes and sports clubs. Sports Scientists aim to improve health, prevent illness and help recovery from illness through programmes of physical activity and leisure time activities. Sports Science has become more important as the link between physical activity and health is increasingly recognized. Athletes in most sports also see the application of Sports Science as an important part of their training.


The three-year programme provides opportunities for graduates in the field of personal training, sports coaching, management of Health and Wellness Centres, medical representatives for pharmaceutical companies and recreation personnel in the private and public sectors. The undergraduate Bachelor of Sports Science degree acts as a feeder into the Honours programme with specializations in Biokinetics, Exercise Science and Leisure Studies.


Financing Your Studies


Fees for Undergraduate Courses vary from degree to degree. For the programme offered in the College of Health Sciences, the cost will be around +/- R30 000 per year.


Loans and Financial Aid

UKZN offers very limited financial assistance to students whose combined family income is less than R120 000 per annum. It is generally offered in the form of a loan which must be paid back, with interest, after leaving the University. A portion of the loan may be converted to a bursary if the student passes all modules in a degree. After the first year examinations bursaries may be offered to academically deserving students whose gross family income is more than R100 000 but less than R130 000 per annum.


If you require financial assistance, make sure you indicate this on the CAO Application Form. The University will then send out an application form for Financial Aid to potentially qualifying applicants.



Student Services- +27 31 2607087

Student Services is run by qualified professionals who provide friendly and confidential support and advice. Student Counseling caters for the educational and individual needs of students and offers career advice.


The campus clinics are staffed by part-time medical officers and full-time professional nurses. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact our Disability Office.




There are on-campus and off-campus residences, but accommodation is limited. Admission to residence is based on need, academic potential, ability to pay and distance from home. It is not possible to accept all applicants and you may need to find accommodation off-campus. Residences comprise of self-catering units with communal kitchens.



Contact Details


·                     Central Applications Office

Tel:  031-2684444



·                     Ms Vanessa Chetty
Health Sciences

Tel: +27 31 2607950

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