Types of concession
There are several main kinds of concession, represented by the three kinds of concession form: Pre-requisite Waivers, General Concessions (different kinds, which are specified in the checklist on the form); and Timetable Clashes.
Signed by: Head of Department only
This is the most common kind of concession: if you wish to register for a particular course but have not completed the courses which are pre-requisites for registration, an HoD will sometimes allow you to register anyway. The HoD's decision will take into account whether you are likely to be able to pass the course, usually based on your marks in general, your marks in any other courses in that subject, or whether you have completed related courses which will give you relevant skills.
Good wording to use in describing the problem: "I request permission to register for POL1005S despite not having completed its prerequisite POL1004F."
Good motivation for the request: "I only developed an interest in Politics after the first semester. If I am permitted to register for POL1005S in the second semester I can catch up POL1004F in summer term and continue with second year politics next year without adding an extra year to my degree."
General concessions: Deviation from curriculum
Signed by: Head of Department or Course Convenor, countersigned by the Deputy Dean after you have registered and submitted the concession with your registration form.
It is sometimes possible to be given permission to complete a major or a programme with a substitution of one course for another. Please note that a major or programme has a strong academic logic, and an HoD or convenor may not be happy to see essential courses replaced. You are more likely to be granted this kind of concession if you can replace a course with a similar course, or with one of a higher level than that required.
Please also note that we are NOT likely to grant this concession for a third-year major course, as these represent highly specific disciplinary outcomes and substitution would seriously compromise the integrity of the major.
Good wording to use in describing the problem: "I request permission to count REL2048S in place of REL2040F for the major in Religious Studies although Psychology is not one of my majors"; "I request permission to count PHI2039S in place of PHI2012S for the second year requirements of the PPE programme".
Good motivation for the request: a timetable clash, or a particular and well-supported interest in the subject of the replacement course.
General concessions: Permission to exceed maximum course load
Signed by: the Co-Ordinator for Undergraduate Affairs, Dr. Jessica Tiffin. Countersigned by the Deputy Dean after you have registered and submitted the concession with your registration form.
Faculty rules state that a student may not register for more than 4.5 courses in any one semester (the half is covered by an H course, which counts as half a credit per semester). There are very specific rules about the circumstances under which five courses in one semester will be permitted.
- The concession will be given ONLY to exceptional students with an extremely high-achieving academic record. This means that you must have either a straight-A Matric record if you want to do five courses in the first semester of your first year, OR you must have a 75% average on a full load in your previous semester of university study.
- You will NOT, under any circumstances, be given permission to take five courses in a semester because you have failed a course and need to catch it up. It's generally a bad idea to overload yourself even if you're an excellent student, your marks WILL drop, and we'll do our best to persuade you not to do it when you apply for a concession.
General concession: Permission to do a course a third time
Signed by: the Head of Department. Countersigned by the Deputy Dean after you have registered and submitted the concession with your registration form.
Faculty rules state that a student may not register for a course a third time: if you fail it twice, you'll not be permitted to register. (Please note that an AB or DPR mark counts as a fail).
- In practice the Faculty will permit you a third-time registration for ONE course, ONCE during your entire academic career, and ONLY if you have the consent of the department concerned.
- You are likely to be granted this only if the course is essential for your major or programme, and if your other marks are solid.
- If the department refuses consent you will have to change your degree or major, or else register for equivalents to the course concerned through UNISA or another university. (Please note that the Economics department will never grant third-time registration permission to students who fail courses in the Economics major).
Concession for timetable clash
Signed by: the Head of Department for both courses. Must be countersigned by the Deputy Dean BEFORE you are allowed to register for the clashing courses. (Submit the form to Humanities reception, where it will be placed in the Deputy Dean's intray for his attention).
Students are not permitted to register for courses which are in the same timetable slot. However, under certain extremely specific circumstances this permission may be given.
- Generally these circumstances will require that the clash is for only one lecture period a week, or that the student has registered for one of the courses before and thus has lecture notes.
- Please make sure that you research the clash carefully and can tell the HoDs exactly what days you will be missing for each course.
- You should also be aware that registering for a clash runs the risk that you will have exams timetabled for the same slot; both departments must sign to indicate that they will deal with this kind of clash if it happens, i.e. make arrangements for you to write the two exams concurrently within the department, or to be escorted from one to another.
Good wording to use in describing the problem: "I request permission to register for both SOC2004S and POL2037S despite the fact that they are in the same lecture period: I will miss one Sociology lecture on a Thursday."
Good motivation for the request: you are likely to be permitted the clash only if you cannot otherwise finish a major or programme.