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Coursework Degrees


APPLICATION DEADLINES FOR POSTGRADUATES (Coursework Honours and Master's)

The department has its own stipulated deadlines (see the boxes below), after which we consider applications to be late and to which we apply a late application policy.

Normal start (first semester starting in mid-February)

Deadlines:
Local applicants:       31 October 
Overseas applicants: 30 September (strongly recommended, but will accept until 31 October)

Bear in mind that if you are coming from overseas you will need to factor in time to sort out accommodation, travel and visa/study permit issues, so apply as early as you can.

UCT students interested in the Honours programmes are encouraged to apply by the close of the 3rd quarter of the academic year. Cases will be decided by, among others, admitting students on a conditional basis; for example, "admitted subject to achieving satisfactory results in the 2nd semester".

Mid-year start (second semester starting in mid-July) - for Master's only

Deadline:  31 October

A mid-year start is possible for Masters students only.  You must still, however, apply by the 31 October deadline.

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.

In the event that your final marks are not yet available (i.e. you are still finishing off your studies in the first half of the year), then submit your current transcript - any offers will be conditional on receiving final marks when available.

Apply via the normal application process (*but see the note below).

It is important that you then notify the department postgraduate administrator via email that you have submitted an application for mid-year consideration so that we are aware of your intended start-date.

Late application policy

The department is not obliged to review applications which are submitted after our recommended submission dates.  It has the discretion to review these on a selective basis.

To be considered for review*, late candidates should have at least:

  • two programme-relevant courses (Politics, International Relations, Public Policy) above 70% in their final year of study, or
  • one senior programme-relevant course above 75% in their final year of study, or
  • a GPA above 3.6 (on a 4-point scale).

* Note: meeting these criteria is not a guarantee of acceptance, just an indicator that we might review the late application if time permits, and only if you have met the criteria.

How to request submission of a late application:

  • Check that you fulfil the criteria above.
  • Send an email to the relevant programme convenor titled: "Late application request: <add your name>".
  • State clearly for which degree you wish to be considered.
  • Attach your transcript.
  • Attach two writing samples.

If your marks fulfil the criteria stipulated, the Programme Convenor will inform Central Admissions that an application may be submitted for consideration.  This is not a guarantee of acceptance.  It is an undertaking to review your application if there is time and capacity to do so.

The department does not have the administrative capacity to guarantee responses to late applications or enter into any detailed correspondence.

In addition, the department cannot be held responsible for any logistical problems which may arise in the event that your late application is accepted (such as problems experienced in obtaining visas on time, delays in postal communication, finding accommodation, etc.).


ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS - Honours & Masters

Admission to Honours degrees in general

For admission at Honours level, students should have a South African Bachelors degree (or equivalent).

Students who have obtained tertiary diplomas may or may not be eligible to study, depending on various factors.  Check your eligibility via the South African Qualifications Authority or, alternatively, your eligibility will be assessed by the faculty on formal application.  Please do not request assessment before applying, as this creates a duplicate assessment process.

International students seeking clarification on their qualifications should see 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.  Alternatively, your eligibility will be assessed on formal application.  Please do not request assessment before applying, as this creates a duplicate assessment process.

See also programme requirements below.

Admission to Master's degrees in general

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

External candidates and UCT Honours students must formally apply via Central Admissions.  For UCT students, the Postgraduate Committee decides when the results of the Honours Independent Projects have become available.

South African Bachelors 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.

Students who have obtained tertiary diplomas may or may not be eligible to study, depending on various factors.  Check your eligibility via the South African Qualifications Authority or, alternatively, your eligibility will be assessed by the faculty on formal application.  Please do not request assessment before applying, as this creates a duplicate assessment process.

International students seeking clarification on their qualifications should see 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.  Alternatively, your eligibility will be assessed on formal application.

See also programme requirements below.

Admission to our Coursework Programmes

The following criteria are in addition to the general degree criteria as set out above and apply to our coursework programmes.

All Programmes - general Department criteria

Admission to the Department's programmes is selective and can be highly competitive. The Department admits only those candidates that it judges are likely to complete the degree programme successfully.

Criteria taken into consideration for admission include:

  • academic excellence, indicated by good performance in previous studies;

  • academic potential, indicated by improving performance into and across the final year of previous study; and

  • political, policy or work experience where it is relevant to the programme for which a candidate seeks admission.

Applicants from UCT:

For Honours applicants: Students who do not achieve a minimum of a 65% average in the third year of undergraduate studies at UCT are unlikely to be considered for admission. Conditional offers may be made subject to achieving satisfactory results in the final semester.

For Master’s applicants: UCT applicants must obtain both a strong average for their Honours coursework as well as a strong mark for the Honours independent research project.

Non-UCT applicants:

The same criteria generally apply as for UCT applicants above.  The requested supporting documentation (letter of motivation, writing sample) must be supplied and is a determining factor in the assessment.

Specific Specialisation Requirements

Honours and Masters Specialisation in International Relations

Admission requirements:

Specific additional entry requirements for this specialisation are a past academic history in International Relations, Political Studies/Science or a strong academic background in a related discipline.

 

Honours and Masters Specialisation in Politics

Admission requirements:

Specific additional entry requirements are a major in Political Studies or a strong academic background in a related discipline (e.g. Public Administration, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Criminology, Law, History or Philosophy).

 

Honours and Masters Specialisation in Justice and Transformation

At Honours level: a first degree majoring with an upper 2nd or close approximation.  At Masters level: a good Honours degree or its equivalent. Each of the sub-programmes has its own disciplinary-based entrance qualifications (see below).

  1.  Honours and Masters in Justice and Transformation (Transitional Justice)

A first degree with a major (with an upper 2nd or close approximation) in such disciplines as Politics, History, Philosophy, Sociology, Literature.

  1.  Honours and Masters in Justice and Transformation (Human Rights)

At Honours level: a first degree (with an upper 2nd or close approximation) with senior courses in Law. At Masters level: a strong LLB (with an average percentage of 60% or more throughout) or other appropriate qualification.

  1. Honours and Masters in Justice and Transformation (Conflict Resolution)

A first degree with a major (with an upper 2nd or close approximation) in such disciplines as Politics, Psychology, Social Anthropology, Sociology.

  1.  Honours and Masters in Justice and Transformation (Social Transformation)

A first degree with a major (with an upper 2nd or close approximation) in such disciplines as Sociology, Social Anthropology, Psychology, Development Studies.

 

Honours and Masters Specialisation in Public Policy and Administration

Admission requirements:

For admission at Honours level, students must have successfully completed a Bachelors degree. For admission to the MPhil specialisation, students must have successfully completed an Honours degree. Students should have a background in economics, public administration, politics, African Studies, law, gender studies, philosophy, the social sciences or related disciplines.

 

If you have not studied Politics or related courses

An applicant who has no academic background in Politics, or the disciplines related to his/her intended programme, is unlikely to be accepted.  In order to be considered for such a disciplinary shift, applicants would need to have a demonstrably exceptional academic record. Namely, a strong distinction record or grade point average of 3.8 and above.

 

When in doubt about your eligibility

We request that you do not contact the department to enquire about your eligibility for the programmes.  Assessment is done via the UCT formal application, which includes supporting documentation such as a letter of motivation and writing samples (see application process).  We do not have the administrative capacity to pre-assess candidates to gauge whether they have the required background or not.  Use the information provided to make a judgement as best you can.  International students can also make use of the SAQA service (South African Qualifications Authority).  They will, for a fee, provide an official evaluation of foreign qualifications and what their equivalencies are with respect to South African qualifications.

 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Students who do not have the necessary tertiary qualifications may be eligible for entry on the basis of sufficient experience, maturity and/or prior learning.  Information on the application process may be found on the Humanities website.

 


THE APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications can be done either online or via hard copy forms.  You do not need to fill in hard copy applications if you have applied online.

Online method:

See the UCT Applications page for the online application.  We encourage that you apply via this route.  You will be asked to provide supporting documentation as part of your application.

Current UCT students are required to apply online, not via paper forms (note: UCT students do not have to provide transcripts).

Forms: (for those unable to apply online)

The UCT application forms, as well as supporting information, can be found on the UCT Applications page.

We are unable to confirm in the department whether a hard copy application has arrived or not, so please contact Central Admissions if you are concerned that your application hasn't arrived.

Writing Sample

You must submit a sample of your best academic work as part of the official application.  Submit this online when applying, or include it in your application if you are submitting a hard copy.

Notes about the writing sample:

  • It must be in English.  If you need to translate it into English, this should be done by yourself.
  • It could be an assignment or research paper from a recent course, or any other appropriate piece of academic writing.
  • There is no length stipulation.
  • If your sample was graded, indicate what grade you received or scan in the graded version.
  • Make sure your name is stated on the top.

Letter of Motivation

You should also submit a letter of motivation as part of your formal application, motivating why are you choosing this particular degree and specialisation.  You could also indicate any other factors which you think might strengthen your chances of selection or which we should know about (including pressures affecting performance, relevant work experience, voluntary work, interests, etc.).  There is no length stipulation.

Which degree for which specialisation?

Confused about which degrees fit which specialisations? Not sure whether you should be applying for an BA Hons or a BSocSci Honours?  Or an MA or an MSocSci or an MPhil?  See our quick departmental guide, or refer to the UCT codetables (from page 22).

 


RESPONSE TIMES - coursework applications

Applications are assessed on a rolling basis.  The assessment period usually starts towards the end of July.  We endeavour to have all applications assessed by mid-December latest, assuming that applications are submitted by the recommended deadlines.

Applications received after the recommended deadlines will be assessed selectively and response times are dependent on staff availability and administrative capacity (see our late application policy).

All decisions will be relayed to you by the Humanities faculty or you may check your status online.  The department does not convey outcomes.  The department's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

All successful applicants should confirm their intention to take up their place by December 15 or as soon as possible thereafter.

To help facilitate the process, please make sure that you supply ALL documentation that is requested.