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The Department offers the following Master's degree

  • a research-based MA (Dissertation)
MA (Dissertation)

a. Choice of topic:

You have to write a dissertation based on research undertaken under the guidance of your supervisor. The topic of the dissertation must be original and you must be able to demonstrate the ability to do independent research and record the findings. The NEXUS database of the HSRC must be consulted and you have to certify that no other research on the particular topic is registered in South Africa.

b. Registration

During registrations in January to March, and July, one or two days are set aside for the registration of postgraduate students. During registration, students take their registration form to the relevant departmental chairperson to be signed. After the payment of the registration fees, the faculty officer registers the student.

Applicants that do not have departmental approval for registration will not be registered.

c. Final research proposal

Within twelve months of registering you must submit a final research proposal based on the required faculty template (available electronically from the secretary) comprising approximately 4-5 typed pages to your supervisor. If s/he is satisfied with the proposal, it will be submitted to a full meeting of lecturers of the department for evaluation before submission to the Faculty Higher Education Committee for final approval.

d. Timetable

Once the final research proposal has been accepted, you will, in consultation with your supervisor, draw up a timetable for the submission of each chapter. You will be held to this timetable.

e. Length of dissertation

The length of the dissertation is between 125-200 pages, 12 font, typed in 1.5 spacing. Longer studies are discouraged, and you may be requested to condense a dissertation exceeding the prescribed length.

f. Publication

The regulations of the Faculty require that a scholarly article based on the dissertation and which is suitable for publication, be submitted with the final submission of the dissertation (after examination).

Admission requirements

All prospective Master’s students should first contact the chair of the Politics Department.

The admission requirements, as stipulated by both the Faculty of Humanities and the Department of Politics, are as follows:

  • ​An Honours degree in the field in which you wish to do your MA, e.g. Political Science and International Relations.
  • An average pass mark of at least 65% in your Honours.
  • The chairperson of the department may require that you submit written work from your Honours programme for purposes of admission. Should s/he judge that you have not achieved a satisfactory standard in your Honours, s/he may require that you enrol for additional Honours modules.
Please note: You will have to register and pay for these additional modules, do the prescribed work and pass the exam – according to a standard set by the Chairperson – with a view to admission to the Master’s programme.

  • With regard to the MA dissertation, you will need to submit a provisional outline of your proposed research to the Chairperson. Only after approval and once the department is satisfied that the appropriate supervision can be provided, may formal registration take place.
Registration and Residence

There are two possible periods of registration:

  • ​Between late January and mid-March.
  • During the first week of the second semester.
Formal supervision can only begin after registration. 
Residence (study period) is a minimum of one year. Full-time students have 1-3 years, and part-time students 2-4 years to complete the MA.