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Higher Certificate in Business Studies

(Minimum one year, maximum 3 years, 122 credits)


The aim of this programme is to prepare potential business leaders either to develop their own businesses, or to improve their basic business skills, based on ethically defendable foundations that will benefit society.

Mode of delivery

Contact and distance

Time Commitment

One year full-time. Two years of part-time
No evening classes. On campus and Online
January and July intakes


Registered as Cornerstone Institute (RF) NPC 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.

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Admission Requirements

  • A National Senior Certificate or National Certificate Vocational (with certificate pass)
  • A Matriculation Certificate or equivalent
  • Mature age of 45 years can be admitted, determined by the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) portfolio of evidence provided 
  • The National Benchmark Test (NBT) results.

Thulani Dube holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Nicosia. He also graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree in Business Management from the University of South Africa (UNISA) where he earlier received a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Human Resources Management. His passion for human capital development further urged him towards a Higher National Certificate in Skills Development Facilitation through UNISA as well. His lecturing focus areas include Leadership Development, Entrepreneurship and Business Management and Marketing. He remains committed to focusing on Managerial Leadership Development as well as Youth empowerment and development through his engagements on various platforms. Thulani is certified Six Sigma Green Belt is currently working towards his Black Belt Six Sigma Certification.

Students who have completed the qualification should be able to:

  • Start up their own businesses, be able to develop business concepts and plans that will enable them to qualify for access to capital
  • Make ethically correct and defensible decisions 
  • Make sound business decisions and solve problems 
  • Gain business management skills 
  • Seamlessly continue with further studies in commerce

Module Descriptions

Higher Certificate in Business Studies (NQF5)

Intercultural Communication (12 credits)
This is a foundational module in communication. It focuses on the critical study of human communication in a variety of formats such as verbal, non-verbal and written forms. The dynamics of interpersonal and organisational communication will be studied, focusing on the importance of gaining cultural intelligence and communication skills, in order to participate more fully in a socially and culturally complex society. This module will include a study of topics such as public performance, audience analysis, active listening, rhetorical theory, cultural context and conflict management in order to achieve this aim.

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 ways in which to respond to current moral, intellectual and social questions. Students will work to integrate ethical theory into their experience of life and explore how this contributes to the good of the world.

Leadership Studies (6 credits)
The purpose of this module is to provide a theoretically grounded overview of leadership, addressing multiple perspectives on leadership. It aims to develop people who are able to lead in the context in which they find themselves, and engage critically with leadership, especially in the South African and African context. 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 managing projects effectively. Students are introduced to the basic concepts and terminology of project management, including project planning, scheduling, resource management, monitoring and evaluation and project life cycles. The module lays the theoretical foundation for project management, with application of 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 ensure that the chances of successful implementation are optimised. The project management techniques have become the norm for undertaking bigger projects and initiatives for its 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 the 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 make-up of leaders, managing change – both internal and external, development of 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 own 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 as well as communication and decision-making utilising 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 the allocation of scarce resources and the effect on human dignity. They will be challenged to think practically and critically about how they personally engage in the allocation of their own resources as well as the production and consumption of goods and services, and the distribution of wealth.

Introduction to Marketing (12 credits)
This module introduces the fundamental principles of marketing management and emphasises management principles in dealing with such areas a customer service management, and marketing research for decision-making. The module is framed in the South African context to help students grasp the fundamental concepts, but it also places emphasis on 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 issues in a business environment. This includes recruitment and selection, staffing models and requirements, organisational development, remuneration management, morale and motivation management, legal requirements that impact on employing and dismissing staff, as well as administrative requirements and best practice. Moral leadership and values are integrated into this module.

Research and Study Skills (4 credits)
This module enables a student to develop their critical thinking ability in order 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 practise 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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