South Australian Certificate Of Education

What is the SACE?

The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) is an internationally recognised qualification that paves the way for young people to move from school to work or further training and study.

By completing the SACE, students prepare for further learning, work and life, by:

  • Building essential skills and knowledge
  • Making informed choices about future study and work, based on their strengths and interests.
  • Gaining a certificate that gives them a head-start on their pathway beyond school.

Students who successfully complete the SACE requirements are awarded the SACE certificate.

What subjects can students study?

For a full list of SACE subjects, visit

How do students get the SACE?

Students gain their SACE in two stages:

  • Stage 1, which most students complete in Year 11.
  • Stage 2, which most students complete in Year 12.

Each subject or course successfully completed earns ‘credits’ towards the SACE, with a minimum of 200 credits required to gain the certificate.

Students receive a grade from A to E for each subject at Stage 1, and from A+ to E- at Stage 2.

To achieve the SACE, students must complete the following requirements with a C grade or higher at Stage 1 and a C- or higher for Stage 2:

  • Personal Learning Plan (10 credits at Stage 1)
  • Literacy – from a range of English subjects or courses (20 credits at Stage 1 or Stage 2)
  • Numeracy – from a range of mathematics subjects or courses (10 credits at Stage 1 or Stage 2)
  • Research Project – an in-depth major project (10 credits at Stage 2)
  • Other Stage 2 subjects and/or courses totalling at least 60 credits.

Students must also choose from a range of Stage 1 or Stage 2 subjects or courses worth 90 credits, and achieve a grade in these, to gain the SACE.

What is the Personal Learning Plan?

The Personal Learning Plan is a SACE subject that all students undertake at the start of their SACE, in Year 10 or 11. The subject is worth 10 credits and students need to achieve a C grade or higher.

The Personal Learning Plan helps students to:

  • identify strengths and interests
  • set personal and learning goals
  • choose the right SACE subjects and study options for their future plans
  • look at different career paths and choices
  • gain skills for future study and employment, such as planning and research.

What is the Research Project?

The Research Project is a Stage 2 subject that all SACE students undertake. The subject is worth 10 credits, and students need to achieve a C- grade or higher to achieve their SACE. There are two Research Project options – Research Project A and Research Project B. Both can be included as part of a student’s Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

The Research Project enables students to:

  • undertake in-depth research and study a topic of personal interest
  • develop skills in planning, research, analysis and communication
  • gain experience of tertiary-style study through self-directed learning.

What is VET and how can I do it?

VET stands for Vocational Education and Training. VET gives students skills for work, particularly in the trades and industry. VET options in the SACE encourage students to complete, or make significant progress towards completing, VET qualifications while completing the SACE.

To complete the SACE, students must achieve at least 200 SACE credits; 150 of which can be gained through VET. The remaining 50 credits are derived from the Personal Learning Plan (10 credits), the Research Project (10 credits), the literacy requirement (20 credits), and the numeracy requirement (10 credits). Students can use a vocational context in completing these subjects.

The SACE Board determines whether the SACE credits earned for a particular VET qualification will be recognised at Stage 1 or Stage 2. Students can refer to the VET Recognition Register for more information about recognition at Stage 1 and Stage 2.

What is community learning?

Students are able to earn SACE credits for community learning in two ways – Community-developed Programs and Self-directed Community Learning.

Community-developed Programs include, for example, the Australian Music Examinations Board, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and the SA Country Fire Service.

Program details are updated as new course information becomes available.

Self-directed Community Learning is gained through informal community activities such as coaching a sports team, being the primary carer of a family member, or leading an environmental project in the community. Students will need to provide evidence of their learning for assessment so that the SACE Board can recognise these other kinds of community learning.

University and TAFE SA entry

Gaining the SACE is the main method used by South Australian students to gain admission into university and TAFE courses.

Students who complete the SACE are eligible for university entry, provided they meet certain requirements.

TAFE SA recognises the SACE as meeting the Course Admission Requirements for most of its courses. It also considers a variety of other qualifications and experiences in its entry and selection processes.

Applications for university and TAFE courses are handled by the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Details of university and TAFE entry requirements are included in the SATAC booklet Tertiary Entrance 2016, 2017, 2018 — published by the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre.

Visit the SATAC website at for more information about tertiary entry. Detailed information about TAFE SA course admission requirements is available at

Students with disabilities

The SACE offers a range of modified subjects at Stage 1 and Stage 2 to provide opportunities for students with identified intellectual disabilities to demonstrate their learning.

A student’s achievement in a modified subject will be reported as ‘Completed’, with the appropriate number of SACE credits. The SACE certificate will indicate that the student has achieved the SACE using one or more modified subjects.

Further information is available at

Special provisions

Special provisions are available if a student has an illness, disability or experiences an unforeseen circumstance which significantly impacts their ability to participate in an assessment. For school-assessed tasks in Stage 1 or Stage 2, schools decide if a student is eligible for special provisions. The SACE Board will determine a student’s eligibility for special provisions for external assessments at Stage 2 (examinations, investigations, etc.). If a student applies for special provisions they need to provide evidence of how this impacts their ability to access assessment conditions.

Further information is available at

Interstate, overseas and adult students

The SACE Board will grant status for equivalent learning in recognised areas for interstate, overseas and adult students. You can find further information at

Students Online

Students Online can help students:

  • plan their SACE and look at different subjects, or subject and course, combinations
  • check their progress towards completing the SACE
  • access their results.

Students can log in to Students Online using their SACE registration number and PIN at

achieve Handbook

A copy of the Stage 2 edition of achieve, the SACE Board’s magazine for students and families, is being provided to all Year 11 students. This edition focuses on the choices of subjects and study options that Year 11 students will be making. It is designed to be used as a resource during course counselling.

You can find more information at

Further information

Visit the SACE website, particularly the Students section and the Learning section. Students are encouraged to read a copy of the achieve handbook, and to talk with their teachers about their study options. Further information is available on the SACE website at