Faculty of Health Sciences


Purpose of the Programme

The aim of this programme is to train a new level of a medical worker, to be called clinical associates, who are equipped with the necessary professional knowledge, skills and attitudes to work under the supervision of doctors in district hospitals to assist them with emergency care, procedures, and inpatient care in order to improve the quality of life of the people served.

Delivery Mode

  • The Faculty of Health Sciences of Walter Sisulu University has implemented a student-centred, problem-based, integrated, community-orientated and community-based curriculum that includes electives, is systematic and promotes self-directed learning, known as the SPICES model.
  • The educational strategies of the Clinical Associate Programme are based on this model.
  • A key instructional method is small-group learning in the form of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) tutorials of 8-12 students.
  • Each group has a tutor who acts as the facilitator for the group.
  • Patient presentations are used as triggers for learning.
  • This requires students to acquire their knowledge in an integrated manner as they analyse the presented problems, identify the biological aspects (including the anatomical, physiological and historical) aspects of the problem as well as the psychological and social considerations that they need to understand in order to help the patient.
  • Patient presentations, bedside teaching, expert resource sessions, seminars, ward rounds and lectures supplement the PBL tutorials with a special emphasis on skills training relevant to assisting physicians with emergency and inpatient hospital care.

Entry Requirements

Senior Certificate – Matriculation Exemption

  • Student intake is determined by a structured selection process.
  • From 2009, a national Senior Certificate (NSC) will be required with an achievement rating of 4 (50% or better) in four recognised NSC 20-credit subjects:
    • English, Mathematics, Life Sciences and Physical Science.

National Senior Certificate (NSC)

Compulsory Subjects

  • 4 (50-59%) in English at Home Language or First Additional Language Level
  • 4 (50-59%) in Mathematics
  • 4 (50-59%) in Physical Science
  • 4 (50-59%) in Life Sciences
  • 4 (50-59%) in two non Life Orientation subjects

Learners who register for this qualification at Level 7 will also need to have:

  • The ability to communicate in English at NQF Level 4 because most of the textbooks and documentation will be in English.
  • The ability to communicate in isiXhosa as most of the patents are isiXhosa speaking; there is a course in isiXhosa offered by the University's Department of African languages and a language laboratory to assist with the learning.
  • All non-isiXhosa speaking students will be required to pass that course before proceeding to clinical contact with patients.

Selection Procedures

  • Students are selected on the basis of their academic achievements.
  • The selection committee is made up of members of the Faculty.


  • All students must register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) at the beginning of their first year of study.
  • Students will not be allowed to proceed to the clinical training modules without HPCSA registration.

Duration of the Programme

  • Three years full time.


  • For further details, please refer to the Prospectus.