What Grade 12 Subjects are Needed to Become a Psychologist in SA?

To become a psychologist in South Africa, it is recommended that students in Grade 12 focus on subjects like Life Sciences and Mathematics or Maths Literacy, although specific subject requirements can vary depending on the university.

Recommended Subjects for Aspiring Psychologists

Life Sciences

Life Sciences provides foundational knowledge about human biology and health, which is crucial for understanding psychological and physiological interactions. This subject is beneficial for students interested in pursuing clinical psychology or any field that involves understanding of human biology and behavior.


Mathematics is important as it develops analytical and problem-solving skills. For psychology students, statistics is a key area in research methods, making a solid background in math quite useful.

Additional Useful Subjects

Other subjects that can support a career in psychology include:

  • Physical Sciences: Helpful for those interested in neuropsychology.
  • Social Sciences: Subjects like history or geography can enhance understanding of social contexts and human behavior.
  • Languages: Proficiency in more than one language is advantageous in South Africa’s multilingual society, especially for practicing psychology effectively across different cultural groups.

University Requirements and Recommendations

While Life Sciences and Mathematics are not universally required for admission into every psychology program, they provide a strong foundation for the coursework involved in a psychology degree. Each university in South Africa may have its own specific admission requirements. Therefore, it is important to check with the university to which you are applying to ensure you meet their specific criteria.

Career Pathways in Psychology

After completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, further postgraduate study is necessary to qualify as a practicing psychologist. Specializations include clinical psychology, educational psychology, research psychology, and industrial psychology, each with its own specific focus and training requirements.

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” — Nelson Mandela. This quote is particularly relevant here, as pursuing a career in psychology starts with a strong educational foundation in relevant subjects.