Diploma in Emergency Medical Care

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Programme Duration: 

  • Full-time: Minimum 2 years
  • NQF Level 6
  • 240 Credits

Purpose: This is a mid-level worker qualification within the Emergency Care profession. Successful completion leads to registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Paramedic. The programme recognizes the key competences required by Paramedics who are able to work independently in a variety of prehospital emergency care contexts.


1. Demonstrate effective communication and apply the principles of medical ethics, professional behaviour, and the legal framework to the context within which Paramedics operate while maintaining personal health, wellness and safety.
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the structure and function of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) systems in South Africa and how they relate to the broader health care structures within the country.
3. Care for and operate medical and rescue equipment and resources required to render emergency care and rescue within the Paramedic scope of practice.
4. Perform appropriate clinical assessment, diagnostics skills and interventions within the Paramedic scope of practice.

Rules of Access and Admission Requirements

The minimum entry requirement is the National Senior Certificate with appropriate module combinations and levels of achievement as defined in the Minister’s policy. Minimum Admission Requirements for Higher Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor’s Degree Programmes Requiring a National Senior Certificate, Government Gazette, Vol. 482, 27961, 18 August 2005.

In addition to adherence to the University’s student admission policy, the Department has the following requirements:

1. The minimum admission requirement is a Senior Certificate with university exemption, or an equivalent (NQF Level 4) achievement, as determined by a status committee, with the following subject combinations and symbols:
1.1 Biology or Physiology with at least a Higher Grade D or Standard Grade C symbol.
1.2 Physical Science with at least a Higher Grade D or Standard Grade C symbol.
1.3 Mathematics with at least a Higher Grade D or Standard Grade C symbol.

For applicants who obtained a Grade 12 during or after 2008:

A National Senior Certificate (NSC) – APS Score with minimum requirements as shown below: (Exclude Life Orientation when calculating APS)
Minimum APS: 26

  • Language of teaching and Learning (English): 5
  • Mathematics: 4
  • Mathematical Literacy: Not Accepted
  • Physical Sciences:4
  • Life Sciences: 4

Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on:

• academic merit; APS
• a structured personal interview;
• a phobia evaluation;
• medical examination;
• physical fitness and swimming proficiency evaluation;
• an English proficiency evaluation;
• previous appropriate experience (a recommendation).

Pass Requirements

1. Students may graduate once they have passed all the modules.
2. Due to the integrated nature of certain modules, individual credits are NOT retained unless all are passed within the same academic year. This ruling applies to the following modules:

1st year            2nd year
EMCTH11         EMCTH22
EMCPR11          EMCPR22
CLPR011           CLPR022
PHPR011          PHPR022

3. Students may enrol for a module in the following year, provided that:
3.1 They have passed the prerequisite modules.
3.2 The module selection does not lead to timetable clashes.
3.3 In the case of Medical Rescue, the student has passed the physical preparedness module in the previous year of study.
4. If any of the modules within a particular year is failed, students need to register for and pass the physical preparedness module again.
5. First-year students must pass a minimum of 60% of the first-year modules to qualify for readmission to the programme.
6. 100% attendance of all theory lecturers, practical, experiential or clinical components as well as tutorials is compulsory.
7. Students are granted full second-year status if they have passed all of the first-year modules.
8. Physical training is compulsory and in order to gain entry into Medical rescue Modules, students must successfully complete the physical preparedness evaluations.
9. Students may not register for the same module for a third time without permission from the Head of Department and Executive Dean of the Faculty.
10. Students have a maximum of four years to complete the qualification.

Practical Training (Clinical learning)

1. Students must, by the end of each year, complete the Clinical Learning requirements which are detailed in the relevant study guides in order to be granted a credit for the clinical practice modules.
2. Clinical practice is rostered at set periods during the academic year in conjunction with cooperative partners and cannot be personalised.
3. 100% attendance of all rostered shifts is compulsory. Students who miss shifts due to illness or injury will be required make up the missed shifts prior to the end of the academic year if they are to be granted a credit for the practical training modules.

Specific Rules and Regulations for Emergency Medical Care Students

1. Students must familiarize themselves with the internal rules and regulations of the Department of Emergency Medical Care. These rules and regulations, as set out in the Departmental policy document, are binding.
2. 100% attendance of all theory lecturers, practical, experiential, or clinical components as well as tutorials is compulsory.
3. Students who fail to attend theory classes will be requested to provide in writing reasons for their non-attendance.
4. The programme is not offered as a limited contact or distance- learning programme. Students who elect to leave the country will be unable to continue with their studies.
5. All students (even if not registered for Clinical Practice within that academic year) are required to see a minimum number of patients each year as determined by the department whilst they are registered. This is a requirement to ensure that clinical competencies are retained.
6. All registered students are required to attend physical training sessions as rostered.
7. Students may not register for a third time for the same module unless allowed by the Head of Department and Executive Dean of the Faculty.
8. Students are required to adhere to the requirements of the department relating to uniform and personal appearance.
9. Students have maximum of 4 years to complete the two-year diploma.

Curriculum: All modules are Continuous Evaluation modules.