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The Department offers a flexible suite of taught Honours and Masters graduate programmes.

Our current coursework programmes are:

The Department also convenes the following interdisciplinary coursework MPhil programmes offered in the Graduate School in Humanities:

We do not offer a coursework PhD, although PhD students may supplement their knowledge by auditing, or registering for, departmental courses.


All taught programmes have required core courses, a menu of optional courses, and a research project or supervised dissertation work.

The one-year Honours degree comprises four taught courses (weighting of 20% each), and a Research Project (weighting of 80%).  The Research Project may take the form of a literature survey, an academic piece comparable to a journal article, or a format recommended by the programme convenor.

The Coursework Master’s degree usually comprises four taught courses (weighting of 12.5% each) and a Mini Dissertation (weighting of 50%).

Coursework Component

In order to provide for a general grounding in particular areas of concentration, some courses are designated as programme core courses or core electives. These typically function as courses which provide a general orientation or survey of core disciplinary areas at a relatively advanced level. Other courses are available as elective options, and may include more specialised or interdisciplinary courses.

Students must select at least one core course and 3 other courses from the core electives or approved electives to make up their quota of four courses.  Some programmes may stipulate more than one core course is required.

At Masters level, convenors may recommend that individual students attend two 5-level Research Methods courses, which together would be the equivalent of one full course.

Individual courses may function as core electives or electives in more than one programme.

For specific information on your programme's core course, core elective and elective option requirements, see the individual programme listings in the official Faculty Handbook (see menu bar on the left for the Politics handbook extract).

For a detailed list of courses offered in this and the following year, see the specific courses links on the right.  The courses listed there are not the only courses included in Political Studies programmes; courses offered by other cognate departments (Historical Studies, Sociology etc) and which are included in our programmes are not listed here. Details of these courses may be found on other departments’ websites or in the faculty handbook.

Masters students may take a maximum of two 4000-level courses (the remainder should be at 5000-level), subject to the entry requirements of individual courses and the requirements of the programme for which they are enrolled.

Research / Dissertation Components

At Honours level, the research component is a Research Project of 15,000 words.

At Masters level (by coursework and dissertation), the research component is a Mini Dissertation of 25,000 words.



Fees information can be obtained from the fees office: fnd-fees@uct.ac.za

Fees webpage: www.students.uct.ac.za/students/fees-funding/fees/handbook (for handbook - see link to the right - when in the handbook, search for course code to see fees per course, or look for courses starting "POL")

Coursework Degree programmes - quick guideline for calculating fees*

Please note that this is an informal guideline. All of the information above should be verified via the official channels and information.  Do check the fee handbook carefully, or check with Fees direct if there is anything of which you're not sure.

Once you know what courses you will be taking, you can calculate what your tuition costs would be, based on the fees per course (search for the course code in the fee handbook).

Honours: Factor in the following:

  1. Payment for the Honours Project (POL4007H)
  2. Payment for courses to make up the remaining Honours credit load of 96 credits (typically, this would be 4 courses of 24 credits each)
  3. The annual International Fee (not applicable for local or SADC students) - note this is levied every year of registration
  4. SADC students - an annual Administrative Service Fee

Coursework Masters: Factor in the following:

  1. Payment for the Masters mini-dissertation (POL5010W) - if you only enrol for this in a second year of registration, then it would be invoiced in the second year
  2. Payment for courses to make up the remaining Master's credit load of 96 credits - typically, this would be 4 courses of 24 credits each, of which no more than two may be at HEQSF level 8 (4000-code courses), the remainder must be level 9 or above
  3. The annual International Fee (not applicable to local or SADC students) - note, this is levied every year of registration
  4. SADC students - an annual Administrative Service Fee

The above are examples of the typical tuition costs to consider - accommodation, subsistence and sundries etc. not included.  There are other scenarios and circumstances covered in the Fee booklet which may have a bearing on the fees levied.


The department does not currently have dedicated departmental funding available.  Any scholarships and bursaries are available solely through, and administered by, the Postgraduate Funding Office.  For more information, on both UCT-administered and independently administered funding, contact the Postgraduate Funding Office (pgfunding@uct.ac.za) or see the link  www.students.uct.ac.za/students/fees-funding/postgraduate-degree-funding

The deadlines for the UCT-administered awards vary from August to the end of October and usually pre-date the deadline for application submissions, so please get your financial applications in on time if you are considering applying for a degree.

We can't guarantee a response to your study application by the closing dates of funding applications, but UCT's funding office is aware that their deadline dates are not necessarily synchronised to application deadlines. They will facilitate this and this should not deter you from applying for funding in the first place.


Our academic year begins in February, with the second semester beginning in July after the mid-year vacation.

It may be possible to begin your studies at mid-year if a February start was not possible.  This is the exception, not the norm, and will only be considered for Masters study, not Honours.  Please only elect to do this if you are unable to start in February. There might be some implications and juggling to do in terms of course choices (e.g. many core courses are offered in the first semester).

A mid-year start is possible for Masters students only.

Applications for a mid-year start are the exception rather than the norm.  While a second semester start can be accommodated, please only elect to do this if you are unable to start in February.

- See more at: http://www.politics.uct.ac.za/pol/postgraduate/apply/courseworkdegrees#sthash.6SvNehhy.dpuf

See UCT's term calendar: http://www.uct.ac.za/main/calendar/terms


Contact Ms Kerewin Parfitt (faculty administrative officer) for any matters relating to registration:  kerewin.parfitt@uct.ac.za (or tel: +27 21 650-2693)