Deciding on which school subjects to take from grade 10 to 12 can be a daunting task. After all, your subject choice will determine which career fields you will be able to enter, and which not. Follow these steps and equip yourself to make an informed decision:

  • do you enjoy interacting with people?
  • what kind of people?
  • which age group?
  • are you interested in business activities?
  • do you enjoy expressing yourself creatively?
  • does scientific information excite you?
  • do you want to work outdoors? with animals or plants ? or just outside activity?
  • do you prefer doing things with your hands or working with tools?
  • what are/were your favourite school subjects? why?
  • What subjects do/did you not mind doing homework in?
  • do you enjoy reading and/or writing?
  • what topics do you enjoy reading about?
  • what is your favourite television programme?
  • what are your hobbies?
  • what is your favourite thing to do when you have free time?
  • what makes your skin tingle with excitement?
  • what makes you feel alive?
  • what can you continue doing for hours without getting tired or bored?
  • what would your ideal work day/week look like?
  • what are you good at?
  • what have been your greatest achievements thus far?
  • what awards have you received in the past?
  • what school subjects do/did you achieve the best results in?
  • what do other people praise you for?
  • what are the compliments you normally receive?
  • what are your special talents?
  • what comes easy to you?
  • what can you do better than most other people you know?
  • do you enjoy organising things and/or people around you?
  • do you prefer having a flexible schedule or to have everything planned out in advance?
  • do you regard yourself as a systematic person?
  • do you prefer creating your own way of doing things as you go along?
  • do you regard yourself as more people- or task-oriented?
  • do you get a kick out of getting things done or do you enjoy the process?
  • which kinds of people or environments frustrate you?
  • what do you value as important?
  • who do you look up to as role model? why?
  • what kind of characteristics do you respect in other people?
  • what would you not compromise on?
  • what do you regards as most important: relationships, financial security, knowledge, authenticity, status, challenge, independence, balance, personal growth, service to others, freedom, acknowledgement, variety, meaning, creativity, ambition
  • what do your friends say about the career options you are considering?
  • what influence do your parents have on your decision?
  • what is your current financial situation? how does this influence your options?
  • location, location, location – where do you want you live? does this limit your options?
  • think about other factors that might influence your future career decision

When you have a good understanding of who you are, you are ready to discover more about different career fields by doing the following:

1.  Consider different career fields

Do online or paper research to learn about the careers that are available in your fields of interest (useful websites:,, and

art and visual communication
performing arts and the entertainment industry
commerce, management and finances
engineering, design and the built environment
health sciences
hospitality and tourism
information technology and computer science
law careers
linguistic careers
social sciences, humanities and theology

2. Consider the following information of the careers you are interested in

job description
job requirements
salary scale and demand

3. Talk to people who are following a career you are interested in

what do you need to talk about?

4. Apply for an internship, shadow an employee or visit a workplace at a job you are interested in

why is this important

Having a better understanding of the career you want to follow, it is super important that you also consider the following:

1. Requirements for entering the following qualifications

2. Different type of institutions and qualifications

A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants theoretical-orientated degrees in a variety of subjects. Contact the different universities for more information:

Cape Town 021 650 9111
Fort Hare 040 602 2011
Free State 051 401 9111
Kwazulu-Natal 031 260 1111
Limpopo 012 521 4111
North West 018 389 2111/0861 00 00 85
Pretoria 012 420 3111
Rhodes 046 603 8111
Stellenbosch 021 808 9111
Western Cape 021 959 2911
Witwatersrand 011 717 1000

A University of Technology offers vocational-orientated degrees and diplomas, focused on innovative problem solving research. Contact the different universities of technology for more information:

Cape Peninsula 021 959 6230
Central (Free State) 051 507 3911
Durban 031 373 2000 / 0860 10 31 94
Mangosuthu (KZN) 031 907 7111
Tswane 012 382 5911 / 0861 10 24 21
Vaal 016 950 9000

A comprehensive or combined university offers both types of qualifications, as referred to above. Contact the different universities for more information:

Johannesburg 011 559 2911/0800 62 36 98
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan 041 504 1111
UNISA 0861 67 04 11
Venda 015 962 8000
Walter Sisulu 047 502 2111
Zululand 035 902 6000
Public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges (previously FET colleges) courses are vocational or occupational by nature meaning that the student receives education and training with a view towards a specific range of jobs or employment possibilities.  Under certain conditions, some students may qualify for admission to a University of Technology to continue their studies at a higher level in the same field of study as they were studying at the TVET College. For more information:


  • Bachelor degrees, which can be followed by Honours, Masters and PHD

Comprehensive/Combined Universities

  • Bachelor degrees
  • National Diplomas, which can lead to BTech, MTech and DTech degrees

University of Technology

  • National Diploma, which can lead to BTech and MTech and DTech degrees
  • Bachelors degrees

TVET College

  • NSC (V) which could lead to National Certificate or National Diploma
  • National Certificates
  • National Diploma

Now that you understand the different tertiary institutions qualifications and requirements, see which subjects are generally required for the following career fields

e.g. agricultural management, agricultural economics, farming, animal sciences (zoology), veterinary science, veterinary nursing, game farm management, plant- and soil science, earth science, geology, horticulture, wine making, viticulture, wine cellar management, food science, nature conservation, ecology, eco-tourism, wood science, forestry, aquaculture, oceanography, marine biology, landscape architecture, landscape technology, environmental impact assessment, natural resource management, environmental planning, plant- or animal breeding, environmental consultancy. Mathematics
Physical Sciences
Life Sciences
Agricultural Sciences
e.g. graphic design, animation, fine art, sculpting, illustration, photography, video editing, creaitive consultancy, colour consultancy, fashion design, jewellery design, interior design, multimedia, branding Design
Engineering Graphics and Design
Visual Art
e.g. drama, acting, radio and television announcing, film and television production, directing and editing, broadcasting journalism, sound engineering, dance, musical theatre, musical performance, conducting, orchestral performance, accompaniment Mathematics or Maths Literacy
For tertiary studies in music: Music on UNISA Gr VII (practical) and Gr V (theory) level
Dramatic Arts
e.g. business management, advertising, marketing, brand management, entrepreneurship and innovation, project management, economics, financial risk management, investment management, banking, logistics management, statistics, human resource management, industrial psychology, accounting, actuarial science, computer science and information systems, financial planning, operational research, office management, debt counselling, auditing, sales consulting, financial analysis, tax and revenue services Mathematics Economics
Business Studies
e.g. mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering, aeronautical engineering, mining engineering, biomedical engineering, computer engineering and programming, architecture, draughtsmanship, architectural technology, industrial design, surface design, construction management, town and regional planning, land surveying, quantity surveying Mathematics
Physical Sciences
Engineering Graphics and Design
Visual Art
e.g. medicine (general practice or speciality field), physiotherapy, dietetics, speech and language therapy and audiology, occupational therapy, nursing, radiography, emergency medical care, medical research, somatology, pharmacology, chiropractics, dentistry, oral hygiene, optometry, orthotics and prosthetics, clinical medical practice, biomedical technology Mathematics
Physical Sciences
Life Sciences
(in some cases only Life Sciences or only Physical Sciences are required)
Life Sciences (even if not required)
e.g. sport science, biokinetics, sport psychology, sport and recreation management, sport administration, coaching, personal training, fitness instruction, professional sport, sport agent Mathematics or Maths Literacy
Physical Sciences (for BSc Sport Science)
Life Sciences (for some Sport Science courses)
Life Science
Business Studies
e.g. hospitality management, hotel management, culinary arts (chef), event planning and coordination, tourism management, consumer science, eco-tourism management, travel agent Mathematics or Maths Literacy
Physical Sciences (for courses in Consumer Science)
Hospitality Studies
Consumer Studies
Business Studies
e.g. computer programming, software engineering, computer hardware engineering, computer system analysis, website design and programming, computer science, computer network support services, computer technology, CIS management, computer systems administration, database administration, desktop publishing Mathematics
Physical Sciences (for Engineering courses in Computer Science)
Information Technology (IT)
Computer Applied Technology (CAT)
e.g. attorney, advocate, legal adviser, prosecutor, magistrate, lawyer, legal secretary, paralegal, legal assistant, court clerks Mathematics or Maths Literacy
(depending on the programme)
e.g. journalism, translation, interpretation, document/information design, author, copywriting, publishing, news editing, lexicography, script writing, library/information services Maths Literacy History
e.g. physics, nuclear physics, laser physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology and earth sciences; geo-informatics (GIS and earth observation), microbiology, biotechnology (human, plant and animal cells), genetics and forensic science, genetic counselling, biochemistry, textile science, quality management, human physiology, medical research, medical sales, laboratory analysis, stem cell research, biofuel development, mining geology, environmental geochemistry, mineralogy, geophysics, radiation physics Mathematics
Physical Sciences
Life Sciences (especially for Biological Science fields)
e.g. psychology, counselling, social work, sociology, politics, philosophy, diplomatic service, policy analysis and consultation, social anthropology, community development, population studies, civil service, history, youth work, community work, minister Mathematics or Maths Literacy (depending on course/module choices) History
e.g. teaching (pre school, foundation phase, senior phase or further education and training), remedial support, special needs education, educational psychology, curriculum development, policy analysis and consultation Maths of Maths Literacy Subjects you would want to teach/specialise in

Now that you know which subjects are needed for the career field you are interested in, make sure you understand what these subjects entail.

Accounting focuses on measuring performance and processing and communicating financial information about economic sectors. This discipline ensures that principles such as ethical behaviour, transparency and accountability are adhered to. It deals with the logical, systematic and accurate selection and recording of financial information and transactions, as well as the compilation, analysis, interpretation and communication of financial statements and managerial reports for use by interested parties.

The subject encompasses accounting knowledge, skills and values that focus on the financial accounting, managerial accounting and auditing fields. These fields cover a broad spectrum of accounting concepts and skills to prepare learners for a variety of career opportunities.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Accounting (

Agricultural Sciences is the study of the relationship between soils, plants and animals in the production and processing of food, fibre, fuel and other agricultural commodities that have an economic, aesthetic and cultural value.

The main topics in the Agricultural Sciences curriculum are: soil science, plant studies, animal studies, agricultural economics, basic agricultural chemistry, basic genetics and biological concepts, sustainable natural resource utilisation, agro-ecology

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Agricultural Sciences (

The subject Business Studies deals with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values critical for informed, productive, ethical and responsible participation in the formal and informal economic sectors. The subject encompasses business principles, theory and practice that underpin the development of entrepreneurial initiatives, sustainable enterprises and economic growth.

The curriculum includes: micro, market and macro environments, business sectors, contemporary socio-economic issues, entrepreneurship, business opportunities, business plans, management and leadership, forms of ownership, setting up a business, contracts, business location, investments, presentation of business information, creative thinking and problem solving, self-management, professionalism and ethics, human rights, inclusivity and environmental issues, social responsibility, conflict management, relationship and team performance, business functions and quality of performance.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Business Studies (

Computer Applications Technology is the study of the integrated components of a computer system (hardware and software) and the practical techniques for their efficient use and application to solve everyday problems. The solutions to problems are designed, managed and processed via end-user applications and communicated using appropriate information and communication technologies (ICTs). ICTs are the combination of networks, hardware and software as well as the means of communication, collaboration and engagement that enable the processing, management and exchange of data, information and knowledge.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: CAT (

 Consumer Studies teaches learners about responsible and informed consumer behaviour in respect of food, clothing, housing, furnishings and household equipment. Consumer Studies aims to teach learners to make informed decisions, and to make optimal use of resources to improve human well-being. In the practical component of the subject learners have an opportunity to produce and market different products.

The curriculum includes the following topics: the consumer, food and nutrition, design elements and principles, fibres and fabrics, clothing, housing, entrepreneurship

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Consumer Studies (

Design is a creative problem-solving process and includes the study of both design practice and design theory. The design process involves problem identification, planning, research, innovation, conceptualisation, experimentation and critical reflection. This process typically results in new environments, systems, services and products, which may be unique or intended for mass production, or which may be constructed by hand or produced by mechanical and/or electronic means.

Design equips learners with crucial life skills such as visual literacy, critical and creative thinking, self-discipline, and leadership. It also encourages learners to be resourceful and entrepreneurial, to strategise and to be team players.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Design (

Dramatic Arts is the study of the representation of human experience in dramatic form for an audience. This study integrates practical experiences and competencies with the study of dramatic practices, processes and products. It aims to promote and develop creativity as a rich, diverse and productive resource through dramatic communication, interaction and representation. Learners explore how dramatic and theatrical elements are selected and combined for particular purposes within diverse contexts, with a focus on the role of the dramatic arts in South Africa.

Learners acquire specific abilities to express themselves and communicate through the dramatic arts, including skills in improvisation, vocal and physical communication, interpretation and expressiveness, the creation and presentation of performances, and the analysis and interpretation of performance texts in context. Performance texts need not only be literary (i.e. written) texts, and should include a range of dramatic practices, processes and products over the three years of study. Learners should be exposed to live performances wherever possible, whether by professionals, community practitioners or other learners.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Dramatic Arts (

Economics is the study of how individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations within our society choose to use scarce resources to satisfy their numerous needs and wants in a manner that is efficient, equitable and sustainable.

Economics learners will be able to:

  • use resources efficiently to satisfy the competing needs and wants of individuals and of society;
  • understand the concept of monetary and real flows in an open economy within the confines of production, consumption and exchange
  • develop skills to apply demand and supply, and cost and revenue analyses to explain prices and production levels;
  • understand reconstruction, growth and development, as well as a critical approach to initiatives for a fair distribution of income and wealth, human rights, and responsibilities
  • acquire an advanced Economics vocabulary that will allow them to debate and communicate the essentials of the subject
  • apply, in a responsible and accountable manner, principles that underlie basic economic processes and practices
  • explore a variety of methods and strategies to analyse and explain the dynamics of markets
  • collect, analyse and interpret production, consumption, and exchange data as well as other information in order to solve problems and make informed decisions
  • understand human rights concerns, reflect on the wealth creation process, and engage in poverty alleviation
  • analyse and assess the impact of local and global institutions on the South African economy
  • explain economic events and forecast their consequences or predict likely future outcomes.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Economics (

Engineering Graphics and Design (EGD) teaches internationally acknowledged principles that have both academic and technical applications. The emphasis in EGD is on teaching specific basic knowledge and various drawing techniques and skills so that the EGD learners will be able to interpret and produce drawings within the contexts of Mechanical Technology, Civil Technology and Electrical Technology.

The main topics of EGD include: general drawing principles for all technological drawings, free-hand drawing, instrument drawing, first- and third-angle orthographic projections, descriptive and solid geometry, mechanical working drawing, civil working drawing, isometric drawing, perspective drawing, electrical diagrams, interpenetrations and developments, loci of helixes, cams and mechanisms, the Design Process and CAD (Computer-Aided Drawing/Design).

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Engineering Graphics and Design (

Geography is the study of human and physical environments. It is a subject that combines topics related to physical and human processes over space and time. With the use of Geography, we can better understand our complex world. There are many branches of study in Geography. For example, in Physical Geography, we examine natural processes and features, including the atmosphere, landforms and ecosystems. In human Geography, we investigate the activities and impact of people on Earth. The concept that unifies Geography is space. All geographical phenomena have a spatial dimension and operate in a continuously changing environment.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Geography (

History is the study of change and development in society over time. The study of history enables us to understand how past human action affects the present and influences our future, and it allows us to evaluate these effects. So, history is about learning how to think about the past, which affects the present, in a disciplined way. History is a process of enquiry. Therefore, it is about asking questions of the past: What happened? When did it happen? Why did it happen then? What were the short-term and long-term results? It involves thinking critically about the stories people tell us about the past, as well as the stories that we tell ourselves.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: History (

Hospitality Studies is the study of various interrelated themes in the hospitality industry such as hygiene, food production, food and beverage service and client service. Learners will study how to produce and present a range of different meals, prepare venues and set tables for different types of functions and perform the correct service and clearing techniques in respect of food and beverages.

The main topics in the Hospitality Studies curriculum include: Hospitality sectors and careers, kitchen and restaurant operations, nutrition, menu planning and costing, food commodities, food and beverage services, hygiene, safety and security.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Hospitality Studies (

Information Technology is the study of the various interrelated physical and non-physical technologies used for the capturing of data, the processing of data into useful information and the management, presentation and dissemination of data. Information Technology studies the activities that deal with the solution of problems through logical and computational thinking. It includes the physical and non-physical components for the electronic transmission, access, and manipulation of data and information.

The main topics in the IT curriculum include solution development, communication technologies, systems technologies, internet technologies, data and information management and social implications.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Information Technology (

Life Sciences is the scientific study of living things from molecular level to their interactions with one another and their environments. By studying and learning about Life Sciences, learners will develop: their knowledge of key biological concepts, processes, systems and theories, an ability to critically evaluate and debate scientific issues and processes, greater awareness of the ways in which biotechnology and knowledge of Life Sciences have benefited humankind, an understanding of the ways in which humans have impacted negatively on the environment and organisms living in it, a deep appreciation of the unique diversity of past and present biomes in Southern Africa and the importance of conservation, an awareness of what it means to be a responsible citizen in terms of the environment and life-style choices that they make, an awareness of South African scientists’ contributions, scientific skills and ways of thinking scientifically that enable them to see the flaws in pseudo-science in popular media, and a level of academic and scientific literacy that enables them to read, talk about, write and think about biological processes, concepts and investigations.

Sub-disciplines that are introduced in the Life Sciences curriculum include Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Microbiology, Genetics, Zoology, Botany, Entomology, Physiology (plant and animal), Anatomy (plant and animal), Morphology (plant and animal), Taxonomy (plant and animal), Environmental Studies and Sociobiology (animal behaviour).

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Life Sciences (

The competencies developed through Mathematical Literacy allow individuals to make sense of, participate in and contribute to the twenty-first century world — a world characterised by numbers, numerically based arguments and data represented and misrepresented in a number of different ways. Such competencies include the ability to reason, make decisions, solve problems, manage resources, interpret information, schedule events and use and apply technology. Learners must be exposed to both mathematical content and real-life contexts to develop these competencies. Mathematical content is needed to make sense of real-life contexts; on the other hand, contexts determine the content that is needed.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Mathematical Literacy (

Mathematics is a language that makes use of symbols and notations for describing numerical, geometric and graphical relationships. It is a human activity that involves observing, representing and investigating patterns and qualitative relationships in physical and social phenomena and between mathematical objects themselves. It helps to develop mental processes that enhance logical and critical thinking, accuracy and problem solving that will contribute in decision-making. Mathematical problem solving enables us to understand the world (physical, social and economic) around us, and, most of all, to teach us to think creatively.

Specific skills included in the curriculum: development of the correct use of the language of Mathematics, collection, analysis and organising of quantitative data to evaluate and critique conclusions, using of mathematical process skills to identify, investigate and solve problems creatively and critically, using spatial skills and properties of shapes and objects to identify, pose and solve problems creatively and
critically and appropriate communication by using descriptions in words, graphs, symbols, tables and diagrams.

source: Curriculum and Policy Statement Grades 10-12: Mathematics (

Physical Sciences investigate physical and chemical phenomena. This is done through scientific inquiry, application of scientific models, theories and laws in order to explain and predict events in the physical environment.

This subject also deals with society’s need to understand how the physical environment works in order to benefit from it and responsibly care for it.

The purpose of Physical Sciences is to make learners aware of their environment and to equip learners with investigating skills relating to physical and chemical phenomena, for example, lightning and solubility. Examples of some of the skills that are relevant for the study of Physical Sciences are classifying, communic