BSc in Chemistry: Chemistry and Polymer Science

Aims of the programme

This degree aims to give you a thorough knowledge of polymers and materials, and of sophisticated synthetic and analytic techniques for polymers. It trains you to become a professional chemist who has the necessary chemistry-based technical background for a career in any industrial or other sector in which chemistry plays a role. Emphasis is placed on the use of Chemistry for the processing of raw materials in the mining industry, for the refinement of metals, for metals extraction, in the petrochemical, building, paints, polymer, high-explosives, textiles, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries, or in industries for the manufacture of paper, household and cosmetic products. Considerable attention is also given to the monitoring, prevention and combating of pollution.

Career opportunities

Career opportunities in the research field are available in the industry and with research institutions. Analytical chemists may pursue a career as process controllers in chemical plants, in the development of new analytical methods, the development of production processes, the planning of new plants, the operation of chemical plants, education, the marketing of chemicals, scientific instruments and components for chemical plants, or as environmental scientists. The programme also provides you with the basis for further study in patent and environmental law.

Programme length

During the first year you take a combination of prescribed modules in Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Scientific Communication Skills and Computer Literacy, while the second and third years focus almost exclusively on the study of Chemistry and Polymer Science. The stream gives access to the BSc Hons in Chemistry that consists of advanced modules in analytical, organic, physical and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry or polymer science, and a research project. It also gives access to a BSc Hons in Polymer Science, in which the focus falls on advanced aspects of polymer chemistry and analysis, the characteristics of materials and applications in the South African industry.

Admission requirements

School-leaving qualifications

For admission to the University you need:

  • A National Senior Certificate or school-leaving certificate from the Independent Examination Board as certified by Umalusi with admission to bachelor’s* degree studies; or
  • A university exemption certificate issued by the South African Matriculation Board to students with other school qualifications.

*Admission to bachelor’s degree studies requires that you obtain a mark of at least 4 (50-59%) in each of four designated university admission subjects.

Minimum admission requirements for BSc degree programmes

For admission to the BSc degree programmes in the Faculty, you must meet the following minimum admission requirements:

1. National Senior Certificate (NSC) or independent Examination Board (IEB) school-leaving certificate

  • An average final mark of 65% in the National Senior Certificate or the school-leaving certificate from the Independent Examination Board (excluding Life Orientation);
  • For degree programmes in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences, a final mark of 70% (6) for Mathematics; OR
  • For degree programmes in the Biological Sciences when you take Mathematics (Bio) 124 and Physics (Bio) 134, 154, a final mark of 60% (5) for Mathematics; OR if you are planning to take Mathematics 114, 144 and Physics 114, 144, a final mark of 70% (6) for Mathematics;
  • For degree programmes in the Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences, a final mark of 50% (4) for Physical Sciences;
  • For degree programmes in the Mathematical Sciences when you choose Chemistry and/or Physics, a final mark of 50% (4) for Physical Sciences;
  • A final mark of 50% (4) for Afrikaans or English (Home Language or First Additional Language); and
  • A final mark of 50% (4) for one other designated university admission subject.

2. School qualifications other than the National Senior Certificate or the Independent Examination Board school-leaving certificate

  • If you have a school qualification other than the National Senior Certificate or the Independent Examination Board school-leaving certificate, you must ensure that you can obtain a university exemption certificate from the South African Matriculation Board.
  • You must have taken both Physics and Chemistry as school subjects if Physical Sciences are set as admission requirement.

3. Additional requirements for all applicants

  • As a prospective student you must also complete the National Benchmark Tests (NBT), including the Mathematics component of the tests.
  • Your admission to the Faculty of Science is dependent on the availability of places per programme or programme fields of study and the Faculty follows a selection process in order to obtain enrolment targets.
  • Meeting the minimum admission requirements of the programme you are applying for does not guarantee selection for your chosen programme. The Faculty’s selection policy and procedures are available at www.maties.com.
  • You must meet the combination of subject-specific admission requirements, as required by the specific programme or stream in a programme, that you are going to take. See the tables in section 1.7 below.
  • If you want to register for a programme in the Biological Sciences, take note that you may be required to work with animal- and/or human-biological material. In the case of animals it may also include primary sample collection.

4. Physical Sciences as school subject

  • If you want to register for a programme in the Biological or Physical Sciences, you must have taken Physical Sciences as a school subject.
  • If you want to register for any module in Chemistry or Physics, you must have taken Physical Sciences; or both Chemistry and Physics as a school subject(s).

5. Mathematics admission requirement

  • If you are planning to take Mathematics 114 and/or 144, or Physics 114 and/or 144, you must meet the Mathematics admission requirement as set for the programme in the Mathematical Sciences.

6. Life Sciences as school subject

  • If you want to register for a programme in the Biological Sciences, it is recommended that you must have taken Life Sciences as a school subject, although this is not an admission requirement.

Prospective students who are already in possession of a school leaving certificate, as certified by Umalusi, when applying

  • If you apply to the University after obtaining a school leaving certificate, your application will be considered if you meet the admission requirements that are applicable in the year that you apply.
  • All applications will be considered according to the selection process. If you do not meet the admission requirements, but are busy improving your final school marks during the time that you are applying, your application will be placed on a waiting list until the improved final marks are available.

Admission requirements for the BSc (Extended Degree Programmes)

These programmes offer an alternative route to the programmes in the Biological, Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

If you do meet the minimum admission requirements but one for BSc degree programmes, you can apply for admission to the extended degree programmes. To be considered for this, the requirements are as follows:

  • A final mark of 50% (4) for Afrikaans or English (Home Language or First Additional Language); and  Physical Sciences as school subject; and
  • Either an average final mark of between 55% - 64,9% in the National Senior Certificate, excluding Life Orientation; OR
  • 40% (3) for Physical Sciences; OR
  • For programmes in the Physical and Mathematical Sciences, a final mark of either 60% (5) for Mathematics; OR
  • For programmes in the Biological Sciences, a final mark of 50% (4) for Mathematics.

*See the table with programme specific minimum requirements for admission to the BSc (Extended Degree Programmes) in the back of this Calendar part.

The Faculty of Science selects a limited number of students for the extended BSc programmes and preference is given to socio-economically disadvantaged learners. The selection policy and procedures are available at www.maties.com.

The duration of an extended degree programme is at most one year longer than the mainstream degree programme. Take note of the following:

  • During the first year of the programme your knowledge base is strengthened and your skills are developed to prepare you to enter the mainstream modules from your second year of study.
  • Class attendance is compulsory and you must pass all modules in Year 1 to proceed to the next year of study.
  • You cannot repeat modules from the first year in your second year of study. This means that poor class attendance or failing one or more modules in Year 1 will result in you not being readmitted to the extended degree programme.
  • If you complete this degree programme successfully, you will receive a degree certificate from the University that is exactly the same as those received by mainstream students.

Admission to the BSc degree programme after you have already passed acknowledged subjects at another university or if you are already in possession of another degree from Stellenbosch University

To obtain a BSc degree from Stellenbosch University after you have already passed acknowledged subjects at another university or if you are already in possession of another degree from Stellenbosch University, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have obtained a school-leaving certificate with admission to bachelor’s degree studies before starting with the subjects that will possibly be acknowledged for the BSc degree;
  • You must follow subjects for at least two academic years at Stellenbosch University; and
  • You must obtain at least half of the total number of credits, including all final-year credits prescribed for the proposed degree, at Stellenbosch University.

However, please note the following: The modules of the subject Computer Skills are not covered by the abovementioned provision, and must be taken at this University. The University can, however, in exceptional cases, acknowledge similar modules that you have passed at another university.

Summary of undergraduate programmes and admission requirements per programme

The curricula or combination of subjects that you can take for a BSc degree are represented in terms of programmes. A programme can consist of a number of prescribed curricula, where each specific curriculum is known as a stream. The diagram below offers a representation of the programmes and streams for a BSc degree. The degree programmes are grouped together in three main directions, namely the Biological, Physical and Mathematical Sciences. The various programmes and their additional streams, where applicable, are set out in the blocks under the Biological, Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

Certificate of exemption from the Matriculation Board 50% average Mathematics HG: D or SG: B AND Physical Science HG: D or SG: C

What will your subjects be?

For a more detailed overview of subject requirements, please see the 2017/2018 Science Calendar

UPDATE ACCORDING TO (Page 28 of Science Calendar)

First year: Any one of 1st year curricula 3, 4, 5, or 6 may be followed.

Compulsory: Physics 114 & 144, Mathematics 114 & 144, Computer Literacy 172, Chemistry 114 & 154 and Scientific Communication Skills 172 Elective modules depending on curriculum followed: Biology 124, 144 or 154, Geology 114 & 144, Applied Mathematics 144, Computer Science 114 & 144 and Probability Theory and Statistics 114

Curriculum 1 (Credits = 140)

Subjecy Course(Credits)
Chemistry 124(16), 144(16)
Biology 124(16), 144(16), 154(16)
Computer Skills 171(4)
Mathematics (Bio) 124(16)
Physics (Bio) 134(16), 154(16)
Scientific Communication Skills 172(8)

Second year:

Compulsory: Chemistry 214, 224, 244 & 254 and Computer Literacy 272 Elective modules: Biochemistry 214 & 244, Microbiology 214 & 244, Genetics 214 & 244, Textile Science 254, Physics 224 & 254, Mathematics 214 & 244, Geology 278, Applied Mathematics 214 & 244 or Computer Science 214, 242 & 252

Third year:

Compulsory: Chemistry 324, 334, 344 & 354, Applied Chemistry 324 & 344 and Computer Literacy 372 Elective modules: Biochemistry 354, Microbiology 314 & 344, Textile Science 314 & 344, Physics 314, 334, 342, 352 & 384, Mathematics 314, 324, 344 & 354 or Applied Mathematics 314 & 344

For more information on this programme, contact:

Professor Peter Mallon