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Scholar's Career GuidesRequirements to Study Law in South Africa

Requirements to Study Law in South Africa


So many students dream of studying law in a South African Universities but they are not aware of the requirements to study law in South Africa.

In South Africa, there are 17 universities (both public and private) with accredited law schools. Most of these universities are ranked as the best there are, in Africa and in the world. The educational standard in South African law schools are top notch and are at a global standard. 

A couple of the these top law schools in institutions like the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University are built on the solid foundation of legacies and results. Therefore they seek the best out of candidates applying to study law in their citadel of learning. 

Studying law in South Africa can be a very amazing but daunting journey of which you must be prepared for. 

When preparing to study law, you prepare to get the real life experience of a legal battle. One very important thing to note is that you have to be ready at all times. 

As a candidate who intends to study law in a South African University,

  • You need to be prepared for a lot of tests and professional examinations,
  • You need to be morally fit to take upon the law, understand it and interpret it rightly,
  • You need to be ready and available to debate or make a water tight case in a few years time. 

But before all these, you need to first of all satisfy the requirements to study law in South Africa. And how do you go about finding these requirements? 

Here you will find the information you need about:

  • The necessary certificates, 
  • The APS scores, 
  • The subject requirements and 
  • Other requirements needed by a law school. 

Requirements to Study Law in South Africa 

The admission requirements to study law in South Africa has a swinging variation across the different universities in the country.

The first of the requirements to study law in South Africa is to have an NQF level 4 certificate (which could be a National Senior Certificate or a Senior Certificate) or an equivalent. This qualifies you to apply.

In this certificate, it is expected that the candidate has obtained grades above average in the specific subjects required.

Most candidates are expected to must have taken art inclined subjects at the Secondary Certificate Examinations, especially History.

There is this conditioned focus on the subject, History. Many believe it comes in handy during selection through applications as there is a focus on history in some Law curriculum.

However, on the average, universities in South Africa require:

  • A minimum percentage score of 70% for either English Home Language or English First Additional Language, and
  • A 50% score for Mathematics (pure Math or Mathematical Literacy). Many law schools in South African universities require at least a 65% average across all ither subjects.

Matriculants with NSC seeking admission into a law school should have at least four subjects with a minimum pass rating of level 4 (50-70%).

Law schools apply the Admission Point Score (APS) system to grade applicants.

The APS score system requires matriculants to input the best scores from their matric results, including English, Mathematics and Life Orientation. 

The minimum APS one can use to get into the law school is 21 points. There are some universities whose law school require a minimum of 33 points before the candidate can be considered for admission. 

You could check out your APS score here

High School Subject Requirements to Study Law in South Africa

There are subject requirements to study law in South Africa, these include those with general application and more specific subjects. 

Subjects needed to become a lawyer in South Africa include the following ;

  • English as a home language or English first additional language
  • Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
  • History
  • Business Studies, 
  • Accounting, 
  • Economics
  • A third language
  • Drama
  • Physical Science and 
  • Biology

It should be noted that these requirements to study law in South Africa are the minimum admission requirements for eligibility to undergraduate studies. 

Each university sets its own minimum requirements for admission to its law degree program, and applicants should consult with the relevant faculties.

Higher Education Requirements 

An applicant who have completed a Bachelors degree program in another course might decide to also get a degree in Law. As a graduate who wants a second degree in Law, there is not much requirements to study law in South Africa. 

Therefore, application to study law in South Africa is open even to students who have completed a Bachelors degree program in another course. 

Having a degree certification for an already completed program will most likely fast track the application process for you. 

It is however not compulsory to have a higher education before applying. 

Language Requirements 

South Africa, like most African countries, is a multicultural and multilingual nation. 

To bridge the communication gap, South Africa adopts English language as an official language for communication in government offices, trade and education. 

Therefore as one of the requirements to study law in South Africa, any international student must have to understand, speak and write English very well. 

Some universities require students who are coming from non-native English countries to write English tests such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or an equivalent examination. This is to ensure that the student is able to participate actively academically. 

Financial Requirements

As one of the requirements to study law in South Africa, the student is expected to be able to pay the tuition fees, cover accommodation costs and feeding cost and have at least $1,000 in the bank. 

This is to ensure that every student has a comfortable stay during the period of academic training and research. 

Moral Requirements 

Also as one of the requirements to study law in South Africa, a student must be an upstanding citizen in his country and must not have any criminal record anywhere across the world. 

To uphold and interpret the law, the student must be a law abiding citizen. 

To be able to study law in South Africa, it is required that the applicant is a citizen or a legal resident of the South African state. 

Candidates who do not pass this criteria may not pass the screening exercise. 

Age Requirements 

As the last of the requirements to study law in South Africa, the student must be up to the legal age of 17 to apply to study law. 

This is to ensure mature minds are engaged in the discuss and research processes involved in the study of law. 

Which Universities does these Requirements Cover?

These requirements to study law in South Africa cover most of Universities in the country. 

This is because most public universities offer law programs.

The Universities offering Law studies are listed below:

  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Johannesburg
  • University of Pretoria
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Venda
  • University of Zululand
  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of Fort Hare
  • IIE Varsity College
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • North West University
  • Nelson Mandela University
  • University of the Free State
  • University of Limpopo.


Now you are aware of the requirements to study law in South Africa and the universities which these requirements cover, are you qualified to begin an application? Engage us the comment section below. 

We wish you success. 


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