Admission to Research Master's


We strongly encourage any potential candidate for admission to the Master's by Research to contact us informally before submitting a formal application. This will allow us to advise you about your prospects for admission and to put you into direct contact with a potential supervisor.  See the section on preliminary assessments on how to go about doing this.

Applicants for the Masters by Research should have a strong academic record at the Bachelor and Honours levels. 

In addition, the department will only accept students who wish to work in a research field where the department has expertise.


Admission to Master's degrees in general


For admission at Master's level students must have a BA (Hons) or BSocSc (Hons) degree or equivalent qualification.

South African Bachelor's degrees are three years in duration.  If you have a four-year undergraduate degree, you might be eligible for straight admission into the Masters programme, or admission to Honours with an upgrade option into Masters after a six-month review.

International students seeking clarification on their qualifications may want to look at the South African Qualifications Authority website.  They will, for a fee, provide an official evaluation of foreign qualifications and what their equivalencies are with respect to South African qualifications.


Dates - application and registration


Applying: Research Master's applicants may apply at any time, but keep the various registration deadlines in mind (see section below).  Allow for enough time (at least 1 month is recommended) for the assessment process to be completed in order to make the registration deadlines.  Please ensure that all required documentation is provided - both for the preliminary assessment and, should it be recommended to apply formally, for the online application.  Bear in mind that university holidays may impact on assessments.  Mid-June to mid-July, as well as mid-December to end-January, are not advisable times to submit applications or expect a prompt response.


First-time registrations


New Research Master's (100% dissertation) students may register throughout the academic year but it must be before 1 May if it is to count as the first academic year of study (towards the minimum period of registration).  This is pertinent for those candidates who would like to graduate within the minimum time of 1 year, and may also impact scholarship funding.  

If a new PhD or Masters research (100% dissertation) student registers before 30 June they are charged the FULL annual fee.
If a new PhD or Masters research (100% dissertation) student registers after 30 June they are granted a 50% rebate of the annual course fee.

Returning candidates: must register by no later than 28 February each year.


Preliminary Assessment


The department strongly encourages candidates to undergo a preliminary assessment before a formal application is submitted.  In order to do this, we require the following:

  • A preliminary research proposal of about 3 pages 
  • All academic transcripts: The official marks from institutions attended, together with an explanation of the marks structure, if needed.
  • A copy of your Honours Research Project, or equivalent sample of academic work which demonstrates your research and writing capabilities
  • A CV (including work experience) 

These should be e-mailed directly to the Graduate Administrator,, with whom you should communicate initially.

All requested documents must be provided in order for a proper assessment to be made.

If there is definite interest expressed in your potential candidature, you will still be required to complete the full application process (via UCT's online application systembefore a formal response is given.