Honours degrees & postgraduate diplomas

How ready are you for postgraduate studies at Unisa?

You are ready to apply for postgraduate studies at Unisa when you

  • have considered the career opportunities you want to prepare for and which qualification will be linked to this.
  • understand what will be required from you as a successful student at this level.

You career

Deciding to apply for a postgraduate qualification is a step that will bring you closer to achieving your career goals.

  • Have you thought about how this qualification will contribute to your career goals?
  • How are you hoping this qualification will help you to prepare for a wide range of career opportunities?
  • Have you gathered enough information to help you make your qualification choice?
  • Have you explored other study options should your application not be successful?

Before you apply, take some time to think about where you are now in terms of your career and how your proposed qualification will contribute to your career development.

Activity 1:

Download the career reflection brochure and complete the questions to help you reflect on your career.

Activity 2:

Learn more about doing career research to help you make effective career and study decisions.

Which qualification should I choose?

Your choice should primarily be guided by the type of career and study opportunities for which you want to prepare, and whether you meet the admission requirements for your qualification(s) of choice. Read the admission requirements, curriculums and module descriptions carefully to make an informed choice.

What's the difference between a postgraduate diploma and an honours degree?

Generally speaking, an honours degree includes a research module, which is not included in a postgraduate diploma. The research modules are intended for further studies at master’s degree level. Students who complete a postgraduate diploma and wish to apply for admission to a master's degree will then need to do a bridging module.

Study motivation

Postgraduate studies demand time, energy and commitment. In addition, you need to be able to tolerate frustration and be able to apply your problem-solving skills to manage your studies. Have you thought about the possible impact of your postgraduate studies on your life? The most important aspect related to study motivation at postgraduate level is whether you think you will succeed with your studies and your ability to manage challenges.

Bridging the gap between undergraduate and postgraduate studies

Postgraduate studies require a deepening of your academic skills. Once you are registered for a postgraduate qualification, you will quickly realise that how you have been studying will have to be adapted (sometimes radically so), for example: At undergraduate level, you were able to memorise the content of your study guides and prescribed textbooks. At postgraduate level, however, you will be expected to do more independent reading and research to demonstrate a deeper understanding of your subject.

Do you feel prepared for postgraduate studies? These are some of the attributes of a successful postgraduate student. Do you recognise yourself here or do you need to develop some of these aspects?

A successful postgraduate student can 

  • work systematically (do things step-by-step).
  • immediately act on tasks you must do related to your studies (be responsive).
  • study independently.
  • write academic texts.
  • read widely about the area of study.
  • integrate information from various sources.
  • recognise when to seek support and negotiate support from others (from family, friends, community members, Unisa).
  • critically analyse, evaluate and integrate information from various sources.
  • have continuous access to the internet and be able to work comfortably with technology.
  • effectively utilise online information sources (specifically, those available through the Unisa Library).