What is the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)?

The SACE is internationally recognised, and is the main way South Australian students get into TAFE and university courses in South Australia, interstate and overseas.


Studying the SACE helps you develop communication, decision-making skills, analysis, evaluation, and project planning. These skills will help set you up for success in further study and the workplace.


You can tailor the SACE to suit your needs and aspirations. You can choose to study from a wide range of SACE subjects, or a combination of SACE subjects and Vocational Education and Training (VET) options. There may be other courses you are studying outside of school that could also count towards your SACE.


To gain the SACE, students complete about two years of full-time study (some students spread this over three years). There are two stages -


  • Stage 1, which students mostly do in Year 11
  • Stage 2, which students mostly do in Year 12


Each subject or course successfully completed earns ‘credits’ towards the SACE, with a minimum of 200 credits required for students to gain the certificate. Students will receive a grade, from A to E, for each subject. For compulsory subjects, they must achieve a C grade or better. As a general guide, 10 credits usually equates to a semester subject.


The compulsory subjects are -

  • Personal Learning Plan (10 credits at Stage 1) – Completed in Year 10 at Underdale High School
  • Literacy – at least 20 credits from a range of English subjects or courses (Stage 1- Year 11)
  • Numeracy – at least 10 credits from a range of Mathematics subjects or courses (Stage 1- Year 11)
  • Research Project – an in-depth major project completed in Year 11 at Underdale High School (10 Stage 2 credits)
  • Other Stage 2 subjects totalling at least 60 credits (Year 12)

The remaining 90 credits can be gained through additional Stage 1 or Stage 2 subjects or Board-recognised courses of a student’s choice, including VET courses.

Literacy and Numeracy

The SACE has compulsory literacy and numeracy requirements.‎

  • Literacy – 20 credits from a range of English subjects at Stage 1 or Stage 2
  • Numeracy – 10 credits from a range of mathematics subjects at Stage 1 or Stage 2

At Stage 1, students must achieve a C grade or better to achieve their SACE. At Stage 2, the ‎students must achieve a C- grade or better.

A minimum C grade in 10 credits of these Board-accredited subjects will meet the numeracy ‎requirement -

  • English Studies (Stage 1)‎
  • English (Stage 1)‎
  • Essential English (Stage 1)‎
  • English as an Additional Language (Stage 1)‎
  • Any Stage 2 English subject.‎

A minimum C grade in 10 credits of these Board-accredited subjects will meet the numeracy ‎requirement -

  • Essential Mathematics (Stage 1)‎
  • General Mathematics (Stage 1)‎
  • Mathematical Methods (Stage 1)‎
  • Specialist Mathematics (Stage 1)‎
  • Any Stage 2 Mathematics subject.‎


The SACE Board has endorsed the Australian Core Skills Framework level 3 descriptions in ‎reading, writing and numeracy as reference points for the SACE literacy and numeracy ‎benchmarks.


The SACE Board will moderate Stage 1 English and Mathematics subjects to confirm each ‎school's use of the performance standards before students receive their final grades in the ‎subject.


Other subjects

You can design your SACE study to meet your needs – whether you want to go to university, study a trade, or get straight into the workforce after school.

Apart from the compulsory SACE subjects, schools decide which subjects to offer. Your subject choices can also be influenced by prerequisites for particular university courses.

The Personal Learning Plan subject, which most students do in Year 10, helps students make informed decisions about subject choices for Year 11 and Year 12.

VET & other courses

VET stands for Vocational Education and Training. In other words, VET is education and training that gives you skills and knowledge for work.

VET operates through a national training system and is certified by Registered Training Organisations, like TAFE. Apprenticeships and traineeships are jobs that combine work and structured training through a VET provider.

For more information about the SACE, please go to https://www.sace.sa.edu.au/