Higher Certificate in Christian Life


The HCCL offers a thorough grounding in the essentials of theological and ministerial training. The programme is suitable for pastors needing foundational theological studies and for elders, deacons, and other men and women serving actively in their churches. The three stand-out characteristics of the programme are that it is biblical (you will grow in Bible knowledge), practical (you will grow in ministry skills), and spiritual (you will grow in your walk with Christ).

There are two other reasons why you might register for the HCCL.

  1. If you wish to enrol for the BTh but you do not meet the admission requirements, you can do the HCCL. When you graduate, you can continue with the BTh
  2. If you have a non-theological degree and you wish to enrol for the BTh Honours, you can do the HCCL as a bridge into the Honours.

To register for the HCCL, you need to have a school-leaving certificate. In South Africa, this is a National Senior Certificate (NSC). If you have an accredited tertiary qualification, we accept that in lieu of a school-leaving certificate.

If you do not have a school-leaving certificate, you may be admitted to the HCCL on the basis of RPL. You will be asked to complete the first five courses on probation as stand-alone subjects. If you pass them, demonstrating that the ability to study at this level, you may enrol for the HCCL.

If you complete the HCCL and wish to enrol for the BTh, 60 credits from the HCCL may be transferred to the BTh.

To register for any Certificate programme, prospective students require one of the following:

  1. National Senior Certificate as certified by Umalusi. Applicants with different qualifications may only be admitted if they are judged equivalent by the designated equivalence-setting bodies.
    NB. Students who do not have a National Senior Certificate may still apply, provided that they have appropriate academic and ministerial experience. Please contact jane@sats.edu.za
  2. A tertiary qualification at an accredited institution registered by the Department of Education.
  3. A tertiary qualification at a foreign institution accredited by a recognised accrediting body or by the institution’s national government.

Certified/notarized proof of one of the above requirements should accompany the application form, together with a certified/notarized copy of the student’s identification Document or valid Passport. All those who meet these criteria and whose English is of a sufficient standard, are accepted into the programme.

The Higher Certificate in Christian Life counts for a full 60 credits towards a BTh degree.

NB. You are required to complete this qualification within a period of 3 years.

The HCCL requires you to earn 120 credits on NQF level 5. Since all the courses are 12 credits, you must complete 10 courses to earn your certificate.

The courses are divided into compulsory and elective categories. You must do all the compulsory courses and make up the remainder of your curriculum by choosing electives.

Unless otherwise indicated, the pass mark for all assessment tasks is 50 per cent. A distinction is 80 per cent. To pass a course, you must complete all the required assessment tasks, maintain a grade average of 50 per cent or above, and score at least 40 per cent for the examination.

If you have completed prior theological studies, you may apply for exemption from courses that you have covered previously. If this applies to you, you need to apply for exemption and provide evidence to support the exemptions. To apply for exemptions, please contact sharon@sats.edu.za.

The minimum duration is one year, but the average completion time for part-time students is two years. You have a maximum of three years to finish.

Please note: You are required to complete 48 credits every twelve months, commencing with the date of enrolment.

Click here to see the Higher Certificate in Christian Life Pricing

Please bear the following in mind when assessing the financial implications:

  1. You only pay for courses when you are ready to take them. Therefore, your costs are spread over the duration of your programme
  2. The tuition fees are the total cost of the programme. There are no hidden costs, no travel costs, and no accommodation costs. Most courses do not prescribe required textbooks.

Kindly note that all fees paid to SATS are non-refundable and that prices are increased annually.

Your Course, Your Time, Your Pace