The IAS Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDA)

What is the IAS PGDA?

The IAS PGDA or Certificate in the Theory of Accounting (CTA) is a one-year, postgraduate programme, which serves as the final academic stepping stone before the first SAICA board exam – Initial Test of Competence (ITC).

Who should study the IAS PGDA?

The IAS PGDA is available to all students who have completed an accredited undergraduate degree in accounting and wish to compete their studies, to achieve their ultimate goal of qualifying as a CA(SA).

What content will be covered?

The IAS PGDA has been developed to comply in all respects with the SAICA syllabus requirements, including the SAICA competency based framework (CBF). Tools have been developed that enable the student to track their progress and performance against the CBF in their attempt to prepare for the ITC. The IAS PGDA focusses predominantly on those topics not yet covered in the undergraduate degree, however, IAS also provides a database of learning materials geared towards revising the undergraduate topics for all students.

What are the revolutionary teaching methods and materials?

The purpose of the IAS PGDA is to develop the CA(SA)’s of the future, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to excel in practice. Therefore, we developed a programme that is dynamic, and speaks to the needs of the student in the 21st century. We have turned traditional teaching methods on their head through incorporation of a vast array of technology, including video content, infographics, e-learnings, etc., as well as incorporating strong practical application methodologies. This will enable our student to engage with the content on a deeper level, ensuring they understand the ‘why’ not just the ‘what’.

Programme Structure

Mode of instruction: Contact mode (lectures and tutorials)

The IAS PGDA includes 4 compulsory courses (no electives). In order to qualify for the SAICA ITC all courses need to be passed in the same academic year, with the student achieving at least 50% in each course. 


The subjects are as follows:

Financial Accounting IV

Financial accounting is the field of accounting concerned with the summary, analysis and reporting of financial transactions pertaining to a business. This involves the preparation of financial statements available for public consumption. Stockholders, suppliers, banks, employees, government agencies, business owners, and other stakeholders are examples of people interested in receiving such information for decision making purposes.


Financial accounting is governed by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). It includes the standards, conventions and rules that accountants follow in recording and summarising and in the preparation of financial statements. IFRS are issued by the International Accounting Standards (IASs).


Management Accounting And Finance IV

Management Accounting and Finance is divided into two sections, Corporate Finance, and Management Accounting. Although different focuses the two sections complement one another, and are based on many common principles. The two sections should be viewed as being inextricably linked.


Corporate transactions such as mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures have become commonplace in our global environment. Entities are frequently faced with financing choices which have strategic consequences. Their managers must make capital structure decisions, evaluate short-term and long-term financing needs, and choose finance tools that are appropriate to the entity’s strategic direction and to the competitive environment within which it operates



Auditing IV

Auditing IV aims to develop knowledge and understanding of the process of carrying out the assurance engagement and its application in the context of the professional regulatory framework.


Assurance engagements involve the expression of an opinion, which is “a conclusion designed to enhance the degree of confidence of the intended users other than the responsible party about the outcome of the evaluation or measurement of a subject matter against criteria” (Assurance Framework of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)).


Taxation IV

This course includes the taxation of an individual or an entity both of which are considered to be complex areas. In addition, the course seeks to address tax planning opportunities in order to reduce the tax burden while remaining in compliance with laws and regulations.


Our Unique Enrolment Structure

January & June intake

The IAS PGDA offers a unique system of 2 intakes per year, i.e. a January and a June intake. In essence what this means is that the programme is broken into 2 components/semesters and students enrol for these components separately. The benefit of this unique feature is that students can start their academic year in either January or June. In addition, if a student has been unsuccessful in semester one, they have the option to repeat that semester again, which results in only a 6-month extension of their academic year, and not an additional 12 months.

What does this mean?

If a student attempts the 20X1 IAS PGDA with the aim of completing November 20X1 and writing the January 20X2 ITC, and fails semester 1, the student would normally have to wait until the fllowing January to enroll again. With our programme, the student is able to enrol in the June 20X1 intake, complete semester 2 in May 20X2, and write the June 20X2 ITC, therefore a delay of only 6 months in completing the PGDA.

Timetable & Calendar

The IAS PGDA is presented as follows:

  • Day time programme

The contact hours (lectures and tutorials) are presented during business hours.


  • Flexi programme

The flexi programme was created for students who are not able to attend lectures and tutorials during business hours.

The programmes are presented in accordance with the following timetable:








Please note that the timetable is subject to change – a detailed timetable will be distributed on registration.


The day and flexi time programmes are both classified as full time programmes, they are presented concurrently, over the same period, require the same student input, are subject to the same exams and fee structure and successful completion of either programme will give students access to write the SAICA ITC.

Time commitment

On a weekly basis the time commitment for students are as follows:

  • Contact hours (lectures and tutorials): 18 – 22 hours;

  • Student preparation time: 20 – 30 hours.

2019 Calendar download


The IAS PGDA assessments are structured as follows:

Semester 1

  • 2 Tests (Formative)

  • 1 Exam (Formative)


Semester 2

  • 2 Tests (Formative)

  • 1 Exam (Summative)

Enrolment Process

Entry Requirements

Students must have successfully completed a SAICA accredited undergraduate degree in accounting at one of the SAICA accredited Universities. It is recommended that students should have qualified to enter their undergraduate Universities CTA program.

Application Process

The IAS PGDA application process is 2 fold:

  1. Students must complete an online application form, and

  2. Students are then required to attend an interview with members of the IAS teaching team.

Exceptional applicants may be granted direct admission to PGDA. An applicant may be categorised as exceptional if they are in the top 5% of their undergraduate programme class and receive high marks for all the required courses of their programme in their final year.

Students are required to attach their prior academic transcripts to the online application form.

There is no charge attached to the application process and students may withdraw their application at any point.

Phased application considerations

The application process is broken into 3 phases, where students in earlier phases will have preference to getting a space on the programme. Students applying late therefore are only therefore accepted subject to space being available in a competitive process. Each phase is explained below:


Phase 1

Phase 1 applications are considered first, and awarded spaces on the programme if they meet the admission criteria and are accepted. This phase closes on 15 September 2018.


Phase 2

This phase is more competitive, and does not have immediate space allocation if  students meet the criteria and are accepted. Students are placed on a waiting list which is competitive, and based on space availability. This phase runs from 16 September to 30 November 2018, and is dependent on space available in class.


Phase 3

If space is still available in the class after phase 2, phase 3 applications are invited. This process is again competitive based on marks and application assessment. Spaces will be extremely limited in this phase. Running from 1 December to 15 January 2020 space permitting.


Upon successful completion of the IAS PGDA each student will receive a Certificate in the Theorty of Accounting (CTA), in the form of a postgraduate diploma in accounting issued by IAS as a registered private higher education institution in South Africa. Upon receipt of the PGDA the student will be eligible to write the SAICA ITC.


Student financial aid

The institute does not at present have access to, or provide any source of financial aid.

Students requiring student loans may contact regarding details of providers that provide such funding.

Professional Accreditations

This programme has been accredited by the following entities:

  • South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA);

  • Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council on Higher Education (CHE);

  • Department of Higher Education and training (DHET); and

  • South African Qualification Authority (SAQA)

The programme is provisionally registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training until the date determined by the registrar as a private higher education institution
under the Higher Education Act, 1997. Provisional registration certificate no. 2017/HE07/002.


+27 (0)82 415 9011
+27 (0)11 867 1013


DCA Campus

30 Doncaster Road

New Market Park




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