Missed out on Medicine but still want to be a Doctor?

Getting into medicine is hard.  There is fierce competition for spaces with universities only offering 200-250 medicine places each year.  Successfully completing medicine is even harder with seven very demanding years of study ahead.  Fortunately there are plentiful other opportunities in the health sector.  These are easier to access than medicine and still offer fulfilling and well paid careers.  If you want to explore other health science options have a look here.  There are also options in health support, information here.  However, if your heart is still set on being a doctor and you are willing to work hard, here is what you can do.

Ways into Medicine Degrees

  1. Take a science degree and transfer to medicine.

Several universities offer you the opportunity to transfer to medicine from a science degree.  You must still as meet minimum entrance requirements based on your matric results.  You also must be one of the top performers in your degree.  Stellenbosch University (SU) allows transfers from a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology at Stellenbosch at the end of first year.  The University of Pretoria (UP) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) have similar offers. UP offers transfers at the end of first semester or second semester as places become available in the course.  UCT offers a transfer into second year medicine on completion of a degree in any science field. This includes vet science, dentistry and pharmacy.  Admission rules change so do contact the university admissions to find out more details.

  1. Take a degree in anything, achieve top marks, then apply for Post Graduate Medicine at WITS

WITS Graduate Entry program allows successful applicants to complete a medicine degree in only four years.  You have credit for two years of the course and enter at third year.  There are minimum entry requirements including a pass in first year biology, physics and chemistry.  You must also have proof of maths and English ability from matric results or your first degree.  If your undergrad degree doesn’t contain biology, physics and chemistry then bridging courses are offered.

What if I don’t have pure maths and physics at matric?

If you don’t have physics and pure maths at matric level then you are going to have some challenges.  You can complete these subjects through an adult matric program.  Brainline offers an online adult matric and there are other study options also.  You will not be able to get funding for this study so you need to be able to self-fund.  For other adult matric options look here.

What if I have pure maths and physics but my marks are not strong enough?

There are several re-write programs available to learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The providers for the programs do change frequently so it is best to check on the department of education website.  The website lists providers in your area at the moment.  There are also university based programs to help you improve your maths and science.  As these also change from time to time it is best to phone the university you would like to study at.  Phone admissions and ask them if they have a bridging program available.   An example of a university based rewrite program is SciMatUs at Stellenbosch University.  MasterMaths offers a re-write program through their MasterMaths centres however there is a fee and funding is not available.

Making a realistic choice

Your decision about your future is made up of two parts.  First of all there is dream you have for your life, a future self that you see.  That is the easy part.  The second part are the steps you have to take to reach that future self and those steps will involve careful research, hard work, perseverance, patience, more hard work, sacrifice and keeping your eyes on the goal.  If you don’t see yourself as that person who can sacrifice everything to reach a goal then it’s time to adjust the dream to something that is realistic for you.  For more information on applying to medicine read this blog. 

6 replies
  1. OO
    OO says:

    Good day, UJ no longer offers the bridging course mentioned in the article (ScienceBridge@UJ). Thus, I would like to request the removal of the following mention “Science Bridge @ UJ also offers maths and physics re-writes.”, which leads to a misleading article – http://sastudy.co.za/article/uj-offers-important-second-chance-for-university-admission/ from your website.

    UJ stopped offering the ScienceBridge@UJ programme over 3 years ago. However, we are being approached by an increasing number of matriculants who came across this article and the article mentioned above. The article is unintentionally misinforming applicants and causing misunderstandings.

  2. Fezile Minenhle Zulu
    Fezile Minenhle Zulu says:

    Good afternoon, i am a student doing my buchelour of education degree, mathematics and science teacher, my issue is that i do not like what i am doing, i liked to be a doctor since i was at primary but i do not qualify, my NSC result are too poor so can you please assist me what can i do in order to become a doctor as it was my career

    Thank you

    • Lana Baron
      Lana Baron says:

      Hello. I would strongly encourage you to speak to a faculty advisor at a university to understand what you can apply for with your results. Getting into medicine is extremely hard. Your results would have to extremely high for all required subjects plus high NBT score. Im sorry but this is just a realistic response. Please contact your university of choice and speak to a career advisor. Perhaps you could re-write some subjects but please do discuss it with them so they can advise you of various options. regards, Lana

  3. Nqobile mnyandu
    Nqobile mnyandu says:

    My issue is that I want to get into the field of medicine but my mathematics is lacking so what type of courses can I choose to study with my level 2 that I can switch from in a year to my desired course


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