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Postgraduate Overview


These are degrees that have both a coursework and a research component.  Courses and research topics are selected in a particular area of specialisation or "programme".

We offer both Honours and Master's degrees by coursework.  We do not offer a PhD by coursework.

Programmes on offer are in Politics; International Relations; Justice & Transformation; Public Policy and Administration; or Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).

These are degrees which are by thesis only.

We offer both Master's and Doctoral degrees by research.  They may be in the area of Politics or Public Administration.

Applicants may wish to register for single, "once-off" courses, but not complete a full degree programme. This is permitted, provided the student is at postgraduate level and obtains department/lecturer permission to do so.  Provision is made for this in the online application form and the term used is "occasional postgraduate studies".

International students who are enrolled for degrees in other institutions may wish to study at UCT for a semester.  This is also possible and you would apply for, and enrol as, a Semester Study Abroad student.

For postgraduate scholars who wish to conduct research at UCT, but not be enrolled for a degree/courses.


The Honours degree must be completed within one year.

The minimum registration period for a Coursework Masters degree is one year.  In practice, students normally take somewhere from 12 to 24 months to complete a Masters degree, depending on their levels of motivation, as well as financial and time constraints / commitments.  A few students manage to complete the full course-load and dissertation within one year - i.e. handing in before the start of the next academic year in mid-February.  The majority of students tend to complete their course requirements in the first year and their dissertation in a second year of enrolment.  Others elect to stagger their courses over two years while doing their thesis concurrently (this often suits candidates who are working while studying and who can't complete their full course load in one year).

The minimum registration period for a Research Masters degree is one year.

The minimum registration period for a PhD is two years.

See also "part-time study" below.


Part-time study

Honours: Candidates who are unable to undertake the Honours degree within the stipulated one year may motivate to complete the Honours degree over a period of two years.  This is agreed to under exceptional circumstances and will require department support and final faculty approval.

Masters (Coursework and Research):  Students are expected to complete their degree within two years.  A third year of registration, while not encouraged, may be permitted by the faculty if the department is satisfied that the student has made sufficient progress to warrant an extra year of registration.  This extra year is usually sufficient for those who are only able to study part-time.  Any additional years of registration would require a motivation on the part of the student, as well as department support and faculty approval.

Evening classes

There are no evening classes.  Seminars are set during normal day-time hours.  Some classes run from 4 to 6pm.

Provisional timetables for our courses are made available towards the end of the previous year and are confirmed by the start of each semester.

Distance learning

The department does not offer distance learning/courses via correspondence.