Higher Certificate in Business Studies

(Minimum one year, maximum 3 years, 124 credits)


The Higher Certificate Business Studies aims to introduce students to the building blocks of business and the new world of work.

It is targeted at:
● preparing those who have just left school for a future in the business world
● supporting budding entrepreneurs to extend their business knowledge
● assisting those who are already in work to advance and develop their careers

The programme introduces business management, finance, human resources, marketing, economics, and entrepreneurship in local and international settings. Its highly applied learning is designed to ensure our students are strongly sought after by prospective employers.

Students will be engaged by senior lecturing staff with many years of practical business experience who can guide their studies and support them through regular formative assessments.

The programme is delivered within the framework of Cornerstone’s strong ethical foundations and its collaborative community, where students will be challenged to grapple with real-world problems of the day.

Mode of delivery

Contact and distance

Time Commitment

One year full-time.
Two years of part-time
January and July intakes


Cornerstone Institute (RF) NPC is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997, Registration Certificate No. 2001/HE08/006; NQF 5; SAQA ID 96415.

Important Links




Admission Requirements

  • A National Senior Certificate or National Certificate Vocational (with certificate pass)
  • A Matriculation Certificate or equivalent
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) portfolio of evidence provided where required.
  • The National Benchmark Test (NBT) results.

Sharon Brand completed her BPharm degree at UCT in 1986 and her BCom degree at Unisa in 1996. Subsequently, she completed Hons BB&A (Cum Laude) and MBA (Cum Laude) degrees at the University of Stellenbosch Business School and is pursuing a Ph.D. in new product forecasting.

Sharon spent 16 years working in the pharmaceutical industry at WarnerLambert and Pfizer, achieving a senior National Supply Chain Manager position. Next, Sharon became Deputy Director in the provincial government to manage the supply chain of medicines. Afterward, Sharon joined the Linde group’s local affiliate, Afrox, as regional supply chain manager, SAP business coach, and Six Sigma Black Belt to lead and improve supply chain processes. For the past 12 years, Sharon has researched and codified supply chain management best practices that drive continuous improvements in multinational corporations’ value chains.

Sharon’s focus areas at Cornerstone Institute include business management, operations and supply chain management, business analytics, economics, and finance.

Students who have completed the qualification should be able to:

  • Fully engage with modern business environments
  • Bring applied skills and critical thinking to contemporary business challenges
  • Advance the development and scaling of their own business
  • Apply ethically sound judgement and sustainable models
  • Collaborate effectively with peers and other stakeholders
  • Use data analytics and problem-solving to make well-informed business decisions
  • Seamlessly continue with further studies in business

Students who complete this programme will be eligible for two bridging modules to move into their second year of Bachelor of Commerce.

Module Descriptions

Higher Certificate in Business Studies (NQF5)
The programme comprises two study effectiveness modules and nine core business modules taught over 12 months.
Academic Reading and Writing (12 credits)
This module concentrates on the skills needed for successful tertiary study. Special attention is paid to listening and reading for comprehension, writing clearly and logically, and giving proper credit to sources utilized. Students will develop these essential skills through exposure to readings and talks and practice in a supportive environment where they will receive detailed feedback.

Ethics (12 credits)
This module is designed to help the student build an ethical framework that takes into account a holistic understanding of the human person (head, heart, and hands). Students are exposed to ethical theories that enable them to reflect on how to respond to current moral, intellectual, and social questions. Students will work to integrate ethical theory into their life experiences and explore how this contributes to the good of the world.

Leadership Studies (6 credits)
This module provides a theoretically grounded overview of leadership, addressing multiple perspectives on leadership. It aims to develop people who can lead in the context in which they find themselves and engage critically with leadership, especially in the South African and African contexts. Through the course of this module, students will engage in the theory and practice of leadership as well as personal/character development.

Introduction to Project Management (6 credits) (for those without an NSC bachelor pass)

This module introduces the student to project management, identifying systematic ways to manage projects effectively. Students are introduced to project management’s basic concepts and terminology, including project planning, scheduling, resource management, monitoring and evaluation, and project life cycles. The module lays the theoretical foundation for project management, applying the principles through case studies. OR

Project Management (12 credits) (for those with an NSC bachelor pass)
This module is designed to help the student plan bigger undertakings systematically to optimize the chances of successful implementation. Project management techniques have become the norm for undertaking bigger projects and initiatives for their thorough and systematic analysis, scheduling, and control techniques.

Personal Development in the Workplace (12 credits)

This module explores the theory and practice of leadership in the context of business as well as faith-based organizations. Attention will be given to issues such as understanding ourselves as leaders in light of Scripture, calling and temperament, and our role as stewards of those we lead. Specifically, practical discussions will focus on the internal makeup of leaders, managing internal and external change, developing human resources, situational leadership styles, and working as a team. The module will focus on helping the student become more self-aware and evaluate their development priorities.

Accounting (18 credits)
This module is designed to introduce students to underlying accounting transactions fundamental to completing the financial accounts of a business. The module focuses on the accounting treatment and disclosure of the transactions related to business activity from small businesses to large companies. In addition, students will be introduced to value-added tax, the analysis and interpretation of financial statements, and communication and decision-making utilizing financial information.

Economics (6 credits)
This module introduces students to the basic concepts of economics, the study of the use of scarce resources. Students will engage with issues of allocating scarce resources and the effect on human dignity. They will be challenged to think practically and critically about how they allocate their resources, produce and consume goods and services, and distribute wealth.

Introduction to Marketing (12 credits)
This module introduces the fundamental principles of marketing management and emphasizes management principles in dealing with such areas as customer service management and marketing research for decision-making. The module is framed in South Africa to help students grasp the fundamental concepts and emphasizes emerging markets.

People Leadership, Management and Administration (12 credits)
People are the most valuable asset in any business, and business leaders need to know and understand people’s issues in a business environment. This includes recruitment and selection, staffing models and requirements, organizational development, remuneration management, morale, and motivation management, legal requirements that impact on employing and dismissing staff, as well as administrative requirements and best practices. Moral leadership and values are integrated into this module.

Research and Study Skills (4 credits)
This module enables students to develop their critical thinking ability to source and evaluate academic material. Students will understand plagiarism and referencing and learn to write and reference a structured academic paper.

English for Academic Purposes (8 credits) (only for those with NSC diploma and certificate pass)
This module concentrates on the skills needed for successful tertiary study. Special attention is paid to listening and reading for comprehension, writing clearly and logically, and giving proper credit to sources utilized. Students will develop these essential skills through exposure to readings and talks and practice in a supportive environment where they will receive detailed feedback.

Business and Information Technology (4 credits)
This module is designed to help students understand information technology (IT) and how businesses can utilise it to achieve their business objectives.
Enterprise Leadership -Business Plan (10 credits for those with NSC bachelor pass, 8 credits for others)
This module is a practical application of the business leadership knowledge and skills developed in other modules in this programme. Students will prepare a full business proposal that will enable them to start up or improve the running of a profitable business enterprise, demonstrating sound financial, business, and ethical principles.

Higher Certificate in Business Studies (NQF5)

  • Ethics and Global Citizenship (12 credits)
  • Business Communication (12 credits)  
  • Change Leadership (6 credits)
  • Personal Development in the Workplace (12 credits)
  • Project Management (12 credits)
  • Introduction to Accounting (18 credits) 
  • Economics (6 credits)
  • Introduction to Marketing (12 credits)
  • People Leadership, Management and Administration (12 credits) 
  • Academic Reading and Writing (12 credits)
  • Information and Technology Skills (4 credits)
  • Business Plan (10 credits)

Module descriptions and credits

For a description of each module, see ‘Module descriptions’ herewith above. Otherwise, get in touch with us via helpdesk for further inquiries.

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