Humanities Access Programme, offered in the Teaching and Learning Unit is the first year of a four year (Extended Curriculum) Bachelor of Social Science degree (BSS4). The Humanities Access Programme caters for students from disadvantaged educational backgrounds in order to redress inequalities of the past. It aims to develop students in areas of academic and psycho-social skills that are required for success at university. It prepares and supports students to meet challenges of study at university.
The Access Programme is externally funded, by the Department of Higher Education (DHET). The Programme admits just over 200 students per year for both Pietermaritzburg and Howard College campus as per requirement by DHET. In 2012 alone, the Howard College campus has about 140 students, and Pietermaritzburg campus about 70 students. In addition, students can accumulate 48 credit points towards their degree. The following are modules from the Humanities Access Programme curriculum: Academic Literacy/Exploring Literacies in Humanities (16 credits), Africa in the World A and B (32 credits), English Language Development, Basic Computer Skills, Basic Numeracy and Life Skills. In 2010 Africa in the World was phased out in Pietermaritsburg and replaced with a Political Science module (POLS101). These modules in both campuses are taught by highly qualified and dedicated staff members. In the second semester, each student is required to take one mainstream module, choosing from FOUR main modules, mainly Political Science, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology.
A student who completed the first year successfully may continue with the BSocSc degree in the College of Humanities or change to another degree in other Colleges where there is space. On both campuses, the Access Program is run by a coordinator who report to the Director for Teaching and Learning Unit and the College Dean of Teaching and Learning. On both campuses the programme has counselors, who are qualified psychologists to cater for counseling needs of the students. At Howard College, there are four full time staff members, three of which are permanent senior staff members, and then eight tutors. In Pietermaritzburg there are contract staff members. There is a coordinator and a counselor who are both contracted staff members, and eight tutors as shown in the figure below.