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Postgraduate Diploma in Energy Policy 
91808  Postgraduate Diploma in Energy Policy 
North West University 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Postgraduate Diploma  Field 06 - Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology  Engineering and Related Design 
Undefined  130  Not Applicable  NQF Level 08  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2021-06-30 
2022-06-30   2025-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The Qualification is aimed at technical professionals who want to pursue a career in the energy industry addressing policy and business practices. It also serves as a means for established and young professionals to acquire knowledge and skills which will allow them to function effectively in the field of Nuclear Energy Policy and Business Management Practice; nationally and internationally.

The successful implementation of a country's Energy Programme hinges on three pillars:
  • Appropriate technology and supporting engineering skills.
  • Appropriate business and financing model.
  • Appropriate policy and regulatory framework.

    The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for electricity is in line with South Africa's commitments to mitigating climate change as expressed at the Copenhagen climate change summit. The IRP aims to achieve a balance between an affordable electricity price to support a globally competitive economy, a more sustainable and efficient economy, the creation of local jobs, the demand for scarce resources and the need to meet nationally appropriate emission targets in line with global commitments. In pursuit of striking this balance, the IRP introduced, among other energy sources, the implementation of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) to contribute at least 9.6 Gigawatts (GW) by 2030.

    The Postgraduate Diploma in Energy Policy is aimed at developing knowledge and skills in energy policy and business model design. It will enable learners to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the design, development and operational evaluation of total systems solutions in a wide variety of engineering problems, and the integration of human, physical, energy, communications, management, and information requirements as needed, as well as the application of requisite analytical methods to specific situations. Additionally, this qualification is designed to empower policymakers and owners or operators of the NPPs with the requisite knowledge and skills to be informed purchasers thereof. 

    It is assumed that learners accessing this qualification are able to critically read, analyse and reflect on study material and relevant literature at NQF Level 7.

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
    Admission to this qualification may be obtained through the Recognition of Prior Learning. Candidates who do not qualify for admission in terms of the minimum admission criteria may be considered for admission through a process of RPL in keeping with the institutional RPL policy and Faculty of Engineering rules.

    Access to the Qualification:

    For admission to this qualification, learners should be in possession of one of the following:
  • Bachelor of Engineering at NQF Level 7/8.
  • Bachelor of Technology NQF Level 7.
  • Bachelor Science at NQF Level 7.
  • Bachelor Science with Honours. 


    The qualification comprises four compulsory modules and one elective module at NQF Level 8, totalling 130 Credits.

    Compulsory Modules:
  • Energy and the Environment, 16 Credits.
  • Energy Regulatory and Policy Practices, 16 Credits.
  • Energy Business and Finance, 16 Credits.
  • Summative Integrated Assignment, 66 Credits.

    Elective Modules (Learners are to choose 1 elective module):
  • Technologies for Nuclear Power, 16 Credits.
  • Introductory Physical Sciences for Nuclear Power, 16 Credits.
  • Energy Governance Practices, 16 Credits. 

    1. Demonstrate comprehensive, systematic and integrated knowledge of Energy Policy and Business issues with an understanding of the theories and techniques relevant to the field.
    2. Make sound theoretical judgements based on evidence from multiple sources of knowledge to critique current research and scholarly or professional literature on nuclear energy policy and business issues.
    3. Demonstrate an understanding of a range of research methods, techniques and technologies and select appropriately for a particular research problem in an area of nuclear energy policy and business issues.
    4. Identify, analyse and deal with complex and/or real world problems and issues using evidence-based solutions and theory-driven arguments in the field of nuclear energy policy and business issues.
    5. Identify and address ethical and sustainability issues relevant to nuclear energy policies and business practices pertaining specifically to environmental issues and nuclear waste management, based on critical reflection on the different of ethical value systems.
    6. Present and communicate academic professional work effectively, catering for a range of audiences by using a range of different genres appropriate to the context of nuclear energy policy and business practices.
    7. Operate effectively within a system through demonstrating an understanding of the roles and relationships between the elements of the system.

    Critical Cross-Field Outcomes:
    The Qualification develops all the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes. 

    The following Assessment Criteria are applied in an integrated way to determine competence in the Exit Level Outcomes:
  • The financial and environmental outlook for the Global energy market is analysed with a specific view to understanding the opportunities and challenges for the nuclear energy industry within this framework.
  • The environmental issues of nuclear and other energy sources are analysed with a specific view to optimising the energy resource mix in their countries with respect to the protection of the environment.
  • The sustainability and energy security issues for nuclear and alternative energy sources are analysed and understood with a specific view to optimising the energy resource mix in their countries.
  • The present status, future opportunities and challenges of the global energy supply and demand are explained, analysed and interpreted with special reference to global energy source preferences, demand and supply, future energy profile; average energy ratios and carbon emissions for wind, solar, nuclear, coal, oil and natural gas.
  • Alternative solutions to the environmental issues of nuclear and other energy sources are assessed, critiqued and proposed.
  • The fundamentals of the global nuclear regulation framework are explained.
  • The knowledge of specified regulations to produce a Safety Assessment Report (SAR), other regulatory documents, SAR chapters and related background reports are demonstrated.
  • Alternative solutions to the South African Regulatory Regime and processes are assessed and critiqued to compile a project licensing strategy for a nuclear project.
  • Alternative solutions for localisation of a new build programme are assessed, critiqued and recommended and a Localisation Plan for a South African Nuclear project is proposed and motivated .
  • Alternative solutions for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process for a nuclear project are assessed, critiqued and recommended.
  • The drivers behind cost factors in the context of a nuclear power plant project are described.
  • Alternative solutions such as compiling a Life Cycle Costing (LCC) framework for a nuclear project are compared to another power project.
  • The linkages between localisation, sustainable job creation and economic growth are analysed, argued and quantified.
  • The application to power generation by nuclear fission is described and interpreted in terms of simple mathematical treatment of nuclear physics.
  • The nuclear fuel cycle and reprocessing are analysed with a view to aligning nuclear policy in their countries with probable future technology options.
  • Alternative solutions for the application of commercially available nuclear reactors to a given power generation scenario are assessed, critiqued and proposed.
  • The various physics terms and their application in the nuclear power industry are adequately described and defined.
  • The various physics terms pertaining to ionising radiation and their application in the nuclear industry are described and defined, and the risks associated with radioactive nuclear waste and nuclear accidents are adequately assessed in an ethically justifiable perspective.
  • The basics of radiation protection are described, defined, analysed and interpreted with a view to making informed inputs into radiation protection policies and to disseminating scientifically informed views about the risks associated with ionising radiation.
  • The present status of social responsibility in the nuclear industry is compared to other energy industries.
  • Best practices for communicating nuclear related information to the media are explained.
  • The importance of proper communication and media management is controlled in the context of the nuclear industry.
  • The concepts and principles of knowledge management in the nuclear industry are explained.
  • One of an organisation's key knowledge management processes is designed, integrated and implemented.
  • Research themes are appropriately identified and demarcated.
  • Research themes including a comprehensive and critical review of current literature and investigations are analysed.

    Integrated Assessment:

    Formative assessment:
    Learning and assessment are integrated. Continual formative assessment is required in order to provide learners with feedback on their progress in the achievement of the learning outcomes.

    Summative assessment:
    The assessment methods include module assignments and a compulsory summative integrated assignment. Assessment will ensure engagement with both theory and practice. 

    This Qualification has been compared to the British Nuclear Skills Academy Certificate of Nuclear Professionalism, issued by the Open University.

    The Certificate in Nuclear Professionalism will aid in ensuring the transition into the nuclear industry for recent graduates and experienced staff as efficiently and effectively as possible. The Certificate is a modular framework, alongside a small element of scientific skills development, with a particular focus on providing the behavioural, commercial and project management skills that are so important to the nuclear sector. Further, it is aimed at improving understanding of the science, technology and engineering that underpin the nuclear industry. Learners need to understand the regulatory context within which the industry operates and also the generic skills of effective communication and behaviour that ensure safety and effective project management.

    The Certificate is designed to:
  • Support employers to develop a skilled, safe, competent and professional workforce.
  • Provide portability of employment as a result of national standards and recognition.
  • Ensure employers and employees remain competitive in a changing labour market.
  • Support progression to chartered status and national recognition by the Nuclear Institute.
  • Give learners the ability to demonstrate the right skills to be a nuclear professional.
  • Raise the profile of the UK nuclear industry.

    The qualification consists of the following seven modules:
  • Safety and Environmental Management.
  • Technical Leadership.
  • Communications.
  • Commercial Awareness.
  • Project Management.
  • Nuclear Principles, Protections and Frameworks.
  • Safety Case Production and Evaluation.

    The Postgraduate Diploma in Energy Policy is also compared to the Postgraduate Diploma in Energy Studies offered by The Open University in the United Kingdom.

    Upon the successful completion of the qualification, learners will have gained knowledge and understanding of:
  • How to maintain a strong nuclear culture, the attitudes or 'suitability' of individuals to be effective; recognising the elements that cannot wholly be taught directly and are partly a consequence of organisational culture.
  • The role and importance of leadership in developing the knowledge and capability required to deliver projects and work scopes in a nuclear environment, such that appropriate decision-making can be validated.
  • The effective management of nuclear projects, implementing change management in an organisational setting governed by regulatory requirements.
  • The ways in which business solutions can be developed successfully despite the constraints of the nuclear sector.
  • The generic competencies that support professional delivery, including the use of appropriate communication channels, the political environment that influences the industry as well as the commercial and project management skills required to implement delivery in the nuclear programme.
  • The underlying nuclear science to ensure an appreciation of the risks and hazards that need to be mitigated to provide safe operation of nuclear facilities.

    The Postgraduate Diploma in Energy Studies consists of compulsory and elective modules.

    Compulsory Modules:
  • Energy in Society.
  • Energy Management.
  • Energy Systems.
  • Energy Policy.
  • Energy Economics.

    Electives Modules:
    (Learners are to choose 1 elective module):
  • Greenhouse Science and Policy.
  • Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development.
  • Greenhouse Accounting and Life Cycle Assessment.
  • Energy Efficient Buildings.
  • Energy Efficiency, System Analysis and Auditing.
  • Environmental Building Services.
  • Energy Studies Project.

    This comparison with the above qualifications shows that this Postgraduate Diploma: Energy Policy compares favourably with similar qualifications offered internationally. 

  • Horizontally, this qualification articulates with the Postgraduate Diploma in Nuclear Science and Technology, at NQF Level 8.
  • This Qualification articulates vertically with a Master of Engineering in Nuclear Engineering, at NQF Level 9. 

    Policy requires that all Exit Level Outcomes are moderated by external moderators; all other intermediate levels are moderated internally. 

  • Minimum requirements are set for the assessment and validation of assessment of outcomes in the Faculty of Engineering, based on the Academic rules of the institution, the Teaching and Learning Policy of the institution, the Study Guide Policy of the institution and the Assessment and Moderation Policy of the institution.
  • For this qualification assessors must have a qualification at NQF Level 9 or above. 

  • NOTES 


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    1. North West University 

    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or registered on the National Qualifications Framework, are public property. Thus, the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction: it is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.