Upgrading a Diploma Into a Degree

Is Upgrading a Diploma Into a Degree one of your study and career goals? Here’s how you can achieve academic excellence by progressing your studies.

Thinking of upgrading a diploma into a degree? You can progress your studies and climb the NQF ladder. But first, there are a few things you need to know before you make the big move.  

Benefits of Having a Degree 

There is an ongoing debate regarding whether or not a degree matters or not. This usually depends on a lot of factors such as your plans after graduation, the path you want to take and more. Having said all of that, there is no denying that having a degree has many benefits. Here are some of the perks of having a degree:

  • Freedom of choice – Having a degree means that you are spoiled with choice when it comes to applying for jobs. Often those with a lower qualification are restricted and can’t apply for a lot of jobs they want. There are also more jobs available for people who have degrees. 

  • Helps you develop a career path – Do you want a job or do you want to have a career? If you have a degree it means that you can plan your next career move and climb up the corporate ladder. Not everyone has the opportunity to do that and they are stuck in jobs. 

  • Opportunity to explore the world – It is easier to seek employment opportunities in another country if you have a degree. The easiest way to get your foot in the door is through teaching English abroad. For that you need a degree. Once you are there you can explore other options.
Young woman at her graduation. This could be you if you are considering Upgrading a Diploma Into a Degree

Can I Turn A Diploma Into a Degree?

Qualifications in South Africa are supposed to follow the guidelines by the NQF (National Qualifications Framework). Therefore, it’s supposed to be easy for students to study for a degree once they’ve finished their diploma. But this is not always the case. You will have a better chance applying to a private university or learning institution to study towards a degree. 

What are the NQF Levels?

In South Africa, we use the NQF (National Qualifications Framework) to group the different levels of learning achievements. All together there are 10 levels of learning achievements represented on the NQF levels. This framework serves as a guide to help students identify what they need to do in order to go to the next level. 

What to Do If You Don’t Qualify for Degree Studies

Being rejected can be quite disappointing. Especially if you have gotten your hopes up and mapped your career out.If this happens, you have two options – either you move on to something else, or you take an alternative route to get where you want to be. 

Complete Relevant Modules

If you are missing a few credits or don’t meet the requirements, have a look at the modules you need. But check with the learning institution you want to enrol for a degree first. Some institutions might not allow you to complete single modules or short courses to get there. So it’s important you apply for a relevant course instead. 

Do a Bridging Course 

Don’t meet the requirements? Then apply for a bridging course instead. A bridging course will serve as the foundation to take you to the next level. See which bridging courses are available at the college or university to want to enrol for. Alternatively, you could apply to study somewhere where they have better student support. 

Young woman at her graduation. This could be you when Upgrading a Diploma Into a Degree

Turn Your ICB or CIMA Qualification Into a Degree

If you are in possession of an ICB or CIMA qualification, you can further their studies and progress to a degree. Here are the pathways you can follow. 


If you have a ICB: National Diploma Financial Accounting, you can enrol to study at Milpark for any of the following courses. There is an exemption fee you need to pay, and a maximum of 50% of the credits will be transferred to your next qualification. 


Get your Bachelor of Accounting from Boston. To qualify for this program, you need to have finished the ICB: National Diploma Financial Accounting. Your qualification will be recognised and you can study at any ICB training provider. 


Another learning institution that offers degree programmes you can enrol for with an ICB qualification is Damelin. With your ICB: National Diploma Financial Accounting, you can enrol for:

Students who have completed the ICB: Diploma Office Administration may also further their studies. They can enrol for the BCom Business Management. 


If you have a CIMA qualification, you can progress your studies towards a degree. But CIMA has also teamed up with other institutions around the world to help students progress their studies to a degree. 

Therefore, if you have the ICB:National Diploma Financial Accounting, you can enrol for a degree with CIMA and get up to 6 exemptions. 

Students with the ICB: Diploma Office Administration may also apply for a degree, and they only get up to 2 exemptions from CIMA. 

Upgrade Your Career

Plan your next move or choose an alternative path with us. We offer ICB and CIMA courses that could help lay the groundwork to get your career.

  • Call us on 0800 39 00 27
  • Or fill out this contact form for a call back 
Last Updated: November 16, 2020


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Cherri-Lee Rhode
Cherri-Lee Rhode
Cherri-Lee is the Head Writer and Content Team Leader at Skills Academy. She enjoys writing but loves the mentoring and training aspects of her job just as much. Her philosophy and answer for everything is 'skills are taught'. You can view her LinkedIn here

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