An initial research proposal must accompany your application for an MA by dissertation only. It should give an indication of the research you wish to pursue, but the proposal itself can be further revised in consultation with your supervisor/s within three months after registration.

The initial proposal might usefully begin by stating what your thesis is about; then establishing its originality and significance in terms of a literature review of relevant existing work in the field; then by a section on sources/methodology: including here perhaps major theoretical influences on your approach. Click here for guidelines on preparing your research proposal.

If you need further advice about your proposal you should contact one of the MA convenors, Associate Professor Adam Mendelsohn or Ms Camalita Naicker.

What to do post-registration confirmation of MA Research Proposal

The Department requires all newly registered Research Master's candidates to present their Research Proposal in seminar form to the department. This would normally be about three months after initial registration.

The proposal presented should follow the format below. It should incorporate any changes of focus/approach or additional ideas/directions/readings from the proposal that was part of the student’s original application to UCT that may have arisen  ( discussion with his/her supervisor/s) since registration. :

- The revised proposal should be approximately 5-7 pages long 

- Students should note that the purpose of the proposal document is to make a case for the research to be undertaken. It is not a progress report.

- The document should include:

- An explanation of the need for the research to be done

- A summary of the essential background literature

- The hypotheses / objectives of the research

- The key questions to be addressed in the research

 - The approach to be taken in doing the project, viz, methodology, sources etc

 - Envisaged chapter breakdown

It should be emphasized that the above procedures are not intended to do anything other than ensure that all concerned with the pursuit of the MA (notably the postgraduate student and supervisor) are given or provide every possible support in order to ensure the successful completion of the thesis.


Once a proposal has been presented to the Department and approved by the supervisor, the completed proposal approval form is to be submitted to the Faculty Office.