Master's & doctoral degrees

Apply for a student number and apply for admission

Closing date for applications for admission to master's and doctoral qualifications for 2024 academic year (some exceptions apply) extended to 31 January 2024. Please note that selection degrees have different application dates. 

Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as qualifications will be removed from the application list once all available spaces for the 2024 academic year are filled.  Final year Hons, Postgraduate Diploma and master’s degree students are advised to make use of the opportunity to submit their applications before the closing date if they plan to further their studies in 2024.

Please take note of the following:
  • You may only apply for one qualification at master's and doctoral level. It is, therefore, imperative that you ensure that you meet the minimum admission requirements for your qualification of choice before applying for admission.
  • All applications for admission must be submitted online. No self-help stations will be available for applications at the regional offices.
  • Admission to a qualification is not automatic. It will depend on whether you comply with the admission and departmental requirements, and if space is available.

Unisa's application process

Applying for admission to a master's or doctoral degree comprises three steps:

  1. Apply for a student number (only applicable if you do not already have a formal Unisa student number). 
  2. Apply for admission. 
  3. Upload the compulsory supporting documents. These documents are displayed in red on the upload platform. Students who obtained qualifications outside the borders of South Africa must have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and upload a SAQA certificate of evaluation during the application process, if available at the time of applications ( Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Unisa will accept applications based on the following criteria:

  1. The suitability and viability of the intended research.
  2. Adequate supervisory capacity and research expertise in the discipline or department. 
  3. An approved selection procedure which is in line with Unisa's Policy on Equality and Diversity.

1. Apply for a student number

Who must apply for a Unisa student number?

  • You must apply for a Unisa student number if you have never before studied towards a formal qualification at Unisa. Student numbers issued for Unisa's short learning programmes are not valid for formal qualifications. Your formal Unisa student number will be your permanent Unisa student number.
  • If you are applying for admission to a Graduate School of Business Leadership (GSBL) qualification, please apply for a Unisa student number, unless you previously studied at Unisa towards a formal qualification.
  • If you are applying for admission to a selection degree, you must apply for a Unisa student number if you have never before studied towards a formal qualification at Unisa. If you do not have a formal Unisa student number and are selected for admission to one of the selection degrees, you will not be able to register for the 2024 academic year.
  • An application for a Unisa student number is NOT an application for admission to a qualification. You must complete the process by applying for admission and uploading the supporting documents.

Pay the application fee

Pay the online application fee of R135,00.

  • Use the student number you receive from Unisa AND the application fee reference number (eg STUDENTNUMBER 5370810030)
  • Send your proof of payment to
  • Click here for Unisa's payment methods and banking details.

Unisa does not accept cash at any of its offices. You may, however, deposit cash into the university's First National Bank account.

2. Apply for admission

Who should apply for admission?

Everyone wanting to start a new qualification must apply for admission, including students in their final year of study.

Please note: Some qualifications have been approved by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as generic qualifications, for example, the PhD. Unisa created administrative specialisations/streams to ensure that the application will be considered by the correct department. On completion of the qualification, the name of the qualification as approved by DHET will display on the degree certificate and not the specialisation. The specialisation will, however, display on the academic record.

When may I apply for admission?

Application are online only! Applications for admission for the 2024 academic year open from 14 September to 31 January 2024.

Apply online for admission

3. Upload your supporting documents

Check your documents & confirm that you are ready to apply

  I am sure that...

  • I have a valid Unisa student number for a formal qualification.
  • I have chosen the correct Unisa qualification.
  • I meet the statutory and college admission requirements for my qualification of choice.

Please note: If you intend applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, please contact the college before submitting your application, as you require a letter of permission from the college/department to be uploaded as part of your application.

  • I have prepared a research outline in line with the departmental focus/niche area requirements and the guidelines providedUploading a research outline is applicable to all qualifications, except for the MBA, MBL, coursework LLMs and coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology.
  • I am familiar with the Unisa Policy for Copyright infringement and Plagiarism
  • I have a valid e-mail address and cellphone number, and I accept that Unisa will communicate with me during the application process using this e-mail address and cellphone number. Please ensure that you provide only one e-mail address and one cellphone number during the application process.
  • I understand that if I was previously registered at Unisa, Unisa will only use my myLife email address to communicate with me.
*    If you do not have an e-mail address, you may create a free e-mail address via Gmail before you start the application process.
**  Remember to save your e-mail address and password.
*** It is very important that you check your e-mails regularly for communication from Unisa about your application.  

  I have the following documents scanned & uploaded to an electronic device

You must upload all the necessary supporting documents as part of the online application process. E-mailed documents will not be accepted. You will have 10 working days from when you apply to upload your supporting documents. The 10 days do not apply after the closing date for applications.

If you do not upload the necessary supporting documents within 10 days of submitting your application for admission, your application will be declined. You will then need to re-apply for admission and upload the necessary supporting documents before the closing date for applications should you wish to be considered for admission to the 2024 academic year.

  • Copies of all official academic records, including all papers/modules passed, percentages obtained and the ledger (grading scale). Unisa academic records do not have to be uploaded.
  • SAQA certificate of evaluation if your qualification(s) has/have been obtained outside the borders of South Africa. (You may apply without uploading the SAQA certificate). The certificate can be uploaded later or emailed to
  • A copy of your ID or valid passport.
  • A research outline, CV and any additional documents as indicated in the admission requirements for the specific qualification. 
  • If you applied via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), a letter stating that you may be considered for the qualification without meeting the formal admission requirements.
  • If you intend applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, please contact the college before submitting your application, as you require a departmental letter of permission from the department to be uploaded as part of your application.
  • Departmental forms for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (available under the college's research focus areas)
  • Click here for the departmental application form for the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology (professional qualification). Please note the different application dates for this qualification.

  I am sure that my documents are scanned according to the rules

  • Each document must be uploaded as a separate file.
  • Maximum number of files allowed: 7.
  • Files may not be larger than 2MB (2048KB) each. Click here for information on how to reduce file size or compress a PDF document.
  • Only black and white documents may be submitted.
  • Only the following file types are allowed: PDF (Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format file), DOC (Word document file) or TIF (image file).      

Last modified: 2023/11/23