Master's & doctoral degrees

Apply for a student number and apply for admission

Who must apply?

  • Everyone wanting to start a new master's or doctoral degree must apply for admission.
    This includes
    • first-time Unisa applicants
    • Unisa students changing to a new qualification
    • applicants in their final year of a postgraduate diploma, honours degree or master's degree who wish to continue with further postgraduate studies
  • If you are applying for admission to the Master of Business Administration (90070) or the Master of Business Leadership (90086) degrees, please visit the Graduate School of Business Leadership website for an application form and application guidelines: www.unisa.ac.za/sbl
  • If you are applying for admission to the Doctor of Business Leadership (90071), please apply for a Unisa student number (unless you previously studied at Unisa towards a formal qualification) and complete the online application process.
  • You must re-apply for admission if you previously applied for admission to a master's or doctoral degree and received feedback, but did not register for any reason.
  • You must re-apply for admission if you are a previously registered master's or doctoral student, but did not register for the 2018 academic year and now wish to continue with master's or doctoral studies in 2019. This excludes students who applied for and were granted a formal deferment.

You may apply for the following qualifications outside the prescribed application dates:

Applicants who wish to pursue a multi, inter or transdisciplinary doctoral degree should apply for the Doctor of Philosophy degree (90040-MIT) Please contact the Master's and Doctoral Administration Section for assistance (012 441 5702; mandd@unisa.ac.za).
College of Science, Engineering and Technology (excluding Computing students) Please contact the Master's and Doctoral Administration Section for assistance (012 441 5702; mandd@unisa.ac.za).
Decision Sciences Please contact the Master's and Doctoral Administration Section for assistance (012 441 5702; mandd@unisa.ac.za).
Master of Science in Nature Conservation (full dissertation) (98022) Please contact the Master's and Doctoral Administration Section for assistance (012 441 5702; mandd@unisa.ac.za).
Selection degrees Selection degrees have different closing dates for applications and are administered by the respective academic departments. Only a limited number of students are selected per academic year.

Selections for most master's and doctoral degrees will take place during December 2018 and January / February 2019. The Master's and Doctoral Administrative Section will inform applicants during February / March 2019 of the outcome of their application.

Applying for admission to a master's or doctoral degree comprises 3 steps: (1) apply for a student number (if applicable); (2) apply for admission; and (3) upload your supporting documents.

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; and (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 2019 academic year.
  • Please ensure that you apply for a Unisa student number, apply for admission and upload all the supporting documents during the application period.

Please note:

  • You do not need re-apply for a student number if you already have a student number for a formal qualification.
  • No application for admission to the 2019 academic year will be processed without a valid student number.
  • You do not need to pay the application fee if you already have a student number for a formal qualification.
  • An application for a Unisa student number is NOT an application for admission to a qualification.


How to apply for a Unisa student number

  • Apply online for a student number for a formal qualification at Unisa (if applicable). 
  • Pay the non-refundable application fee of R105,00 (some exceptions may apply). Your application for a student number will only be finalised upon receipt of the application fee. The application fee is non-refundable even if you decide not to study through Unisa or do not qualify for admission to your qualification of choice.
  • Apply online for admission
  • Upload your supporting documents (academic records from other universities, research outline, CV or additional information as specified in the departmental research focus areas)


Pay the application fee

Pay the online application fee of R105,00. Please note that the application fee is non-refundable even if you decide not to study through Unisa or do not qualify for admission to Unisa.

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

  • Payment information for students living in South Africa
  • Payment information for international students (Please e-mail your proof of SWIFT payment to

    (susdepid@unisa.ac.za)

    • International students must pay fees via SWIFT payment:
      • Beneficiary: Unisa student deposits
      • Standard Bank
      • Account number: 011554622
      • Branch code: 010645
      • SWIFT code: SBZAZAJJ
      • Deposit reference: first eight (8) blocks are for the student number (if the student number consists of only 7 digits, then a “0” must be filled in as the first digit of the student number). Leave one block open, then fill in the following code - 5400374721
    • Your local bank may charge a service fee for international payments. Please ensure that you include this service fee in the total amount paid. 
    • Remember to always include your student number and the appropriate allocation as your payment reference when making payments to Unisa.

2. Apply for admission


Who should apply for admission?

  • Everyone wanting to start a new master's or doctoral degree must apply for admission. This includes
    • first-time Unisa applicants
    • Unisa students changing to a new qualification
    • applicants in their final year of a postgraduate diploma, honours degree or master's degree who wish to continue with further postgraduate studies
  • 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.
  • You must re-apply for admission if you previously applied for admission to a master's or doctoral degree and received feedback, but did not register for any reason.
  • You must re-apply for admission if you are a previously registered master's or doctoral student, but did not register for the 2018 academic year and now wish to continue with master's or doctoral studies in 2019. This excludes students who applied for and were granted a formal deferment.

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.
    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 (applicable to all qualifications, except for coursework LLM, MBA and MBL qualifications). A research outline describes your intended research and comprises a two to five page expression of interest essay describing the following:
    • Topic
    • Short literature review
    • Potential contribution of the study
    • Potential unit of analysis
    • Research context (include the method you plan on using)
    • Personal motivation to pursue studies on this topic
    • List of references (using the Harvard referencing method, the "APA" referencing method or any other referencing methods indicated by the department)
    • CV and any additional documents as indicated in the admission requirements for the specific qualification under the departmental focus area requirements
  • I meet the statutory and college admission requirements for my qualification of choice.
  • I have a valid e-mail address and I accept that Unisa will communicate with me during the application process using this e-mail address.

  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 working 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 2019 academic year.

  • Copies of all official academic records, including all papers / modules passed, percentages obtained and the ledger.
  • A copy of your ID or passport.
  • A research outline, CV and any additional documents as indicated in the admission requirements for the specific qualification under the departmental focus area 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 letter of permission from the college / department to be uploaded as part of your application.

  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: 5.
  • Files are not larger than 2MB (2048KB) each.
  • 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).

How to apply for admission

Complete and submit your application online.

Please note:

  • Upload all the necessary supporting documents as part of the online application process. Applications without the necessary supporting documents will be declined. Please do not submit incomplete applications. No late or incomplete applications will be considered.
  • Academic departments have different dates on which selection for master's and doctoral degrees will take place. Selections for most master's and doctoral degrees will take place during December 2018 and January / February 2019. The Master's and Doctoral Administrative Section will inform applicants during February / March 2019 of the outcome of their application

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