Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Business School Leaders for tomorrow
PDBA Degree

block release
Cape Town, Gauteng, Durban & East London

The PDBA aims to provide talented, professional men and women with a broad-based theoretical and practical knowledge of Business Management.  The primary purpose of this qualification is two-pronged. Firstly, it broadens your knowledge of the business environment by preparing you for the challenges faced in the workplace and to grasp the concept of business management. Secondly, it provides you with the necessary knowledge, understanding and ability required to not only manage other employees, but also your own future successfully.

This PDBA further provides broad exposure to the processes and functions of business management within the context of an integrated, holistic organisational approach and a transforming socio-economic setting.

This programme is designed in such a way that it integrates with our new MBA and thus not only provides academic synergy but also a pathway to our renowned MBA programme. Students that progress onto the MBA programme will be granted credits for the following modules on the MBA programme:

  • People Management

  • Management Economics

  • Management Accounting

Admissions Criteria

At NMMU Business School prospective PDBA block release students are required to meet the following minimum requirements: 

  • A three-year National Diploma or Degree at an NQF Level 6 and 7 respectively. Should you have completed your qualification through a college, you would have to have the qualification SAQA approved. 
  • A minimum of three years general working experience. 
  • Applicants must reside within a 60 km radius of a delivery point (Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban or East London).
  • Be fluent in English. Applicants not fluent in English will be required to produce an English Proficiency certificate to verify English language skills.

Once the above minimum requirements have been met, students will be asked to:

  • Write a Psychometric (SHL) test or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).  All applicants are required to complete the psychometric test as part of the application process. Students need to score a 5 or higher on the SHL test. Students writing the GMAT test need to obtain a score of 520 or higher. 
  • Students that score a 5 or higher on the SHL test or a 520 or higher on their GMAT will be asked to partake in an application interview.

PDBA block release explained

The PDBA block release programme is presented over 12 months (one year) to students residing in, and around, one of its centres (Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban or East London - within a 60km radius).

Trimester Structure

Integrated Management Practice
Marketing Management
Accounting for Business*
Operations Management
Management Accounting
Human Resource Strategy
Management Economics
Exit: PDBA degree

* Foundation programme for Management Accounting.

Class presentation

  1. Three study visits to Port Elizabeth (PE) per year.
    Each year is divided into 3 trimesters (12 weeks per trimester). You will be required to travel to PE for a study visit at the beginning of each trimester (February, May and August). The study visit in PE normally runs from a Wednesday to a Saturday and attendance is compulsory. The study visit at the beginning of the year (February) is slightly longer than the last two study visits in order to allow for orientation (Monday – Saturday). You will be required to be in PE for a total of 11 working days a year.
  2. Eighteen (18) video conferencing sessions every second Saturday at one of NMMU Business School’s video conferencing sites (Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban and East London). The live video sessions allow for a virtual classroom experience where students and the professor can interact with each other.
  3. Lecturer visits to Centres.
    Each PDBA student is required to complete three modules (subjects) per trimester. The academic staff involved in presenting these modules will visit your delivery point on a weekend to lecture for one full day per module in every trimester.


Gauteng: Centurion Academy, Highveld Campus, 48 Charles de Gaulle Crescent, Centurion, Gauteng.
Cape Town: Prestige Academy, Bellville Business Park, DJ Wood Way, Bellville, Cape Town.
Durban: South African Sugar Association, Kwa-Shukela, Conference Centre, 170 Flanders Drive, Mount Edgecombe.
East London: NMMU Business School East London and Border Kei Office, 63 Devereux Avenue, Vincent, East London.

Group Work

All students accepted onto the PDBA programme are assigned to a syndicate group. Group members are selected and assigned according to their professional expertise and experience so as to best replicate a management team in the working environment. PDBA students will work together in their groups over the 12 month period. You will be required to meet with your group members on a regular basis (at least once a week) to work on assignments.

Tests and Exams

All tests and exams are written at the delivery points (Gauteng, Durban, Cape Town or East London).

Campus & Delivery Point

The delivery points for the video conferencing sessions, tests and exams and day visits are:

  • Gauteng: Centurion Academy, Highveld Campus, 48 Charles de Gaulle Crescent, Centurion, Gauteng.
  • Cape Town: Prestige Academy, Bellville Business Park, DJ Wood Way, Bellville, Cape Town.
  • Durban: South African Sugar Association, Kwa-Shukela, Conference Centre, 170 Flanders Drive, Mount Edgecombe.
  • East London: NMMU Business School East London and Border Kei Office, 63 Devereux Avenue, Vincent, East London.

Learning Methods & Techniques

Formal Lectures. Analyses of case studies. International Guest Speakers and Lecturers. Facilitated Group Discussion. Presentation of Group Assignments. Conducting applied research on real business problems.

International Learning Experience

An international learning experience is offered through our network of Business School Affiliates around the world and the NMMU International Office as well as our cohort of international students.

NMMU Lecturers

Our faculty and lecturers are the driving force behind our cutting-edge programmes and provide the best learning experience.

Media, industry, working individuals and professionals, government and leaders turn to our faculty for the latest insights, knowledge and expertise.

We are driven by a set of values geared to ensure that employees and students are holistically empowered as leaders, innovators, agents of change and independent thinkers that will contribute to ecological and economic sustainability and the upliftment of community and society.

Fee Structure


Enrolment Fee R1 122
SHL Test R950 (non-refundable)
Module Fees (8 x core modules) R37 440
Accounting for Business module R4 680
Textbooks (estimate) x 8 @ R750 each R6 000
Total Year 1 R50 192

Please Note: Before registration a down payment of R3 500 will apply. This amount will be seen as a deposit and will be deducted from your total module fees.

Application Process & Deadlines

Once you have considered the PDBA block release admission requirements and feel qualified to apply for the PDBA degree, you can begin the application process.

  • Submit your application forms and supporting documentation at: and fill in the Graduate School work experience related application form at: .
  • First review: Once you have submitted all the required documents, your application will be reviewed to ensure that you meet the minimum acceptance criteria.
  • You will receive a notification of the first review outcome.
  • If you meet the criteria for the first review you will be contacted to write the psychometric test.
  • Second review: you will be informed of your psychometric or GMAT test score.
  • Depending on your second review outcome, the test will be followed by an application interview.
  • Final approval of your PDBA application will take place and you will receive notification of the outcome a week after your interview.
  • Registration: once you have received your letter of acceptance for the PDBA programme you will be informed about the registration process.

Application Documents

Please ensure that you upload all of the documents listed below or your application will not be processed:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application Form (online electronic link)
  • NMMU Application Form (online electronic link)
  • Copy of your Identification Document
  • Certified copy of your Qualification
  • Certified copy of your Academic Record/Transcript
  • Certified copy of your Senior Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate (female applicants only – if applicable)
  • Essay

Application Closing Date

Applications will commence in May and the first closing date for applications will be 31 October.  Late applications will be accepted until 20 January 2017.