Master's & doctoral degrees

FAQs for master's and doctoral degrees


Applying for admission


Who should apply for admission to a master’s or doctoral qualification?

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

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.


How do I apply for admission if I do not have a Unisa student number?

  • Step 1: Apply online for a Unisa student number between 10 September and 23 November 2018 (some exceptions apply). Pay the application fee of R105. You will receive notification via SMS and e-mail that your application for a student number has been successful.
    Please note: This does not mean that your application for admission to the 2019 academic year has been approved.
  • Step 2: Once you receive your student number, you must apply online for admission to the 2019 academic year (some exceptions apply). Applications for admission to master's and doctoral qualifications will be open from 10 September to 23 November 2018.
  • Step 3: Upload the required supporting documents. In most cases, this will be a copy of your ID / passport, complete academic records (if not Unisa qualifications), the ledger (in the case of foreign qualifications) and the research outline (except for the following coursework qualifications: LLM, MBA and MBL).

Please note: Your application will be declined if you do not complete all three steps.


What are the application dates for the 2019 academic year?

Applications for admission to the 2019 academic year will be open from 10 September to 23 November 2018 (some exceptions apply).


I already have a formal Unisa student number. Must I apply for a new student number?

No. You will use the same Unisa formal student number for life. You can proceed to apply online for admission using your current Unisa student number.

Please note, however, that student numbers issued for short learning programmes (usually start with a "7") are not formal Unisa students numbers. If you have a student number issued by the Graduate School of Business Leadership, please ensure that you apply for a formal Unisa student number during the application process.


May I use the same student number I received when I did a short learning programme at Unisa to apply for admission to a master’s or doctoral qualification?

No. Student numbers issued for short learning programmes (usually start with a "7") are not formal Unisa students numbers. Please must apply for a formal Unisa student number and pay the R105 application fee:

  • Step 1: Apply online for a Unisa student number between 10 September and 23 November 2018 (some exceptions apply). Pay the application fee of R105. You will receive notification via SMS and e-mail that your application for a student number has been successful.
    Please note: This does not mean that your application for admission to the 2019 academic year has been approved.
  • Step 2: Once you receive your student number, you must apply online for admission to the 2019 academic year (some exceptions apply). Applications for admission to master's and doctoral qualifications will be open from 10 September to 23 November 2018.
  • Step 3: Upload the required supporting documents. In most cases, this will be a copy of your ID / passport, complete academic records (if not Unisa qualifications), the ledger (in the case of foreign qualifications) and the research outline (except for the following coursework qualifications: LLM, MBA and MBL).

Please note: If you do not complete all the steps listed above, your application will be declined.


I can't find the qualification on the Unisa website for which I want to apply. What should I do?

You may only apply for the qualifications listed on the master's and doctoral application website: http://www.unisa.ac.za/qualificationsMD/


What do I need to know before I apply for admission to a master's or doctoral qualification?

All applications (except for the following coursework qualifications: LLM, MBA and MBL) must upload a research outline for their intended qualification as part of the online application process.

Please refer to the research focus areas for master's and doctoral studies before applying online for admission to the 2019 academic year. You can search for your qualification on the master's and doctoral application website to find a link to the relevant department's research focus areas.

Decide on a research focus area before completing the online application process and prepare a research outline based on the information provided by the department under the research focus areas. You must indicate the selected focus areas and provide a preliminary (working) title for your projected research during the online application process.

In the case of qualifications offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology (except in the School of Computing), please contact the relevant department prior to applying and commencing with the research outline.


Research outline

Students applying for admission to the coursework LLM, MBA and MBL qualifications do not need to submit a research outline as part of the online application process.

You must prepare a brief research outline (2 - 5 pages) as part of your application. Although the requirements for the research outline may differ per qualification or academic department, the basic information required is as follows:

  • Title
  • Summary of the topic
  • Short literature review
  • Expected contribution of the study
  • Methodology to be followed
  • Availability of the data
  • List of references (using the Harvard referencing method, the "APA" referencing method or any other referencing methods indicated by the department)
  • Reasons why you are interested in the topic


Documents to be uploaded

It is very important that you upload the necessary supporting documents as part of your online application process. Supporting documents must be scanned and saved as specific document types and uploaded separately online (eg ID or CV), and not as one combined file. E-mailed documents will not be accepted.

Please note: 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.


Selection to a degree

Your application will be assessed according to the academic admission requirements for your qualification of choice, an evaluation of the supporting documents uploaded as part of the online application process and the availability of supervisory capacity in the respective department (there is limited research capacity available in departments).


I want to apply for admission to a qualification offered by the Graduate School of Business Leadership (GSBL). What should I do?

Applicants must apply online for admission to qualifications offered by the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (GSBL). 

Please note:

  • Apply for a Unisa student number unless you previously studied at Unisa towards a formal qualification.
  • Apply online for admission.
  • Upload the required supporting documents:
    • Identity document / passport
    • Marriage certificate (if applicable)
    • CV
    • Research outline (DBL)
    • Employer recommendation
    • Copies of degree certificates
    • Academic records
    • Sponsorship letter
    • Copy of N-Mat Results (MBL and MBA) (you can upload this when the results become available)

All enquiries with regard to GSBL qualifications or about the status of your application must be directed to the GSBL (sbl@unisa.ac.za; 011 652 0000). Please do not use the general master's & doctoral e-mail address for GSBL enquiries (mandd@unisa.ac.za).


How should I apply for admission to a master’s or doctoral qualification?

Apply online for admission unless you are applying for a selection degree.

If you do not have a student number, first apply online for a Unisa student number between 10 September and 23 November 2018 (some exceptions apply). Pay the application fee of R105.  You will receive notification via SMS and e-mail that your application for a student number has been successful. Once you receive your student number, you must apply online for admission to the 2019 academic year. Upload the required supporting documents. In most cases, this will be a copy of your ID / passport, complete academic records (if not Unisa qualifications), the ledger (in the case of foreign qualifications) and the research outline (except for the following coursework qualifications: LLM, MBA and MBL).

All the steps must be completed for your application for admission to the 2019 academic year to be considered. We will not accept any applications and / or documents submitted via e-mail.


What criteria will be used to select applications for admission?

Your application will be assessed according to

  • the academic admission requirements for your qualification of choice
  • an evaluation of the supporting documents uploaded as part of the online application process
  • the availability of supervisory capacity in the respective department (there is limited research capacity available in departments)


What is a selection degree?

A limited number of applications are accepted each year for selection degrees. Applicants apply directly to the relevant department unless otherwise stated. 

Please note:

  • The application dates for selection degrees do not always correspond with Unisa's application dates.
  • 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.


What documents must be submitted as part of the online application process?

The following documents must be uploaded as part of the online application process before your application for admission will be considered: 

  • ID document (South African citizens), passport (international candidates) or birth certificate
  • Marriage / divorce documents (if applicable)
  • Complete academic records (including the scoring leger) and sworn translations of documents if they are not in English or Afrikaans (not required if you completed your qualifying qualification at Unisa)
    The academic record must state that you have completed the qualification.
  • Research outline in accordance to the departmental requirements (Except for coursework LLM, the MBA and MBL qualifications. Please note that the departments offering these qualifications may have additional requirements. This information is available on the college's research focus areas document.)
  • A recent CV in accordance with departmental requirements
  • Any other requirements requested by the academic department (eg proof of work experience, Unisa departmental letter)
  • SBL qualifications (MBA and MBL): proof of N-Mat results (Please apply for admission while you wait for results; you can submit the results as soon as you receive them.)
  • International candidates: proof of meeting the English language requirement (All non-native English-speaking applicants - other than those who have been educated in the medium of English language during their two most recent years of study - must satisfy the English language requirement.)
  • Certain international qualifications will need to be accompanied by a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate. (The Master’s and Doctoral Section will inform you when they process your application as to whether or not it is necessary to have your qualifications assessed by SAQA. It is the candidate’s responsibility to contact and manage this process through SAQA. Please note that this can be time-consuming and could delay your application by as much as one year. If the SAQA certificate becomes available before the closing date for applications, please upload the document. If applications for the 2019 academic year have already closed, please apply during the next application period and upload the relevant document as part of your application for admission.)


What does the research outline entail?

  • You must prepare a brief research outline (2 - 5 pages) as part of your application.
  • Although the requirements for the research outline may differ for each qualification or academic department, the basic information required is as follows:
    • Title
    • Summary of the topic
    • Short literature review
    • Expected contribution of the study
    • Methodology to be followed
    • Availability of the data
    • List of references (using the Harvard referencing method, the "APA" referencing method or any other referencing methods indicated by the department)
    • Reasons why you are interested in the topic


Which English test can serve as proof of meeting the English language requirement?

International applicants should show that they have taken the TOEFL (http://www.ets.org) or IELTS (http://www.ielts.org) international language test or equivalent. If further language assistance is deemed necessary, applicants may be required to register for a language module. All non-native English-speaking applicants (other than those who have been educated in the medium of English language during their two most recent years of study) must satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • IELTS: overall score of 6.5 (with at least 6.5 in each of the four components)
  • TOEFL (paper-based): overall score of 600, with a Test of Written English score of 5.5
  • TOEFL (computer-based): overall score of 250, with Test of Written English score of 5.5
  • TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 100
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A; Cambridge Certificate for Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B;
  • English Language GCSE, IGCSE or O-level: grade B; International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL): score of 5 in English; European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English


How long will it take before I know whether I have been accepted?

Selection will take place during December 2018, and January and February 2019. Applicants will be informed towards the beginning of March 2019. If you have not received confirmation by 5 March 2019, please contact the Master’s and Doctoral Section (mandd@unisa.ac.za; 012 441 5702). Registrations will only close at the end of March 2019.


I was previously registered for a degree that has been phased out / discontinued. Must I re-apply for the current degree code that is offered?

Yes. You must re-apply for admission during the relevant application period. If your application for admission is successful, you will register under the rules / curriculum of the new qualification. Credits obtained under the phased out qualification will not necessarily be retained and / or transferred to the new qualification.


I was previously approved for a master’s / doctoral qualification, but did not register. Must I re-apply for admission?

Yes. You must re-apply for admission to the 2019 academic year and upload all the supporting documents.


Can I still apply if I do not meet the 60% required for admission to the qualification? Is there an alternative pathway available if I do not qualify?

You may still apply for admission, although it is unlikely that you will be selected if you do not meet the 60% requirement, as there are limited spaces available for master's and doctoral qualifications. 

Should you wish to apply for admission, despite not meeting the 60% admission requirements, please apply online during the relevant application period and upload the following additional documents in addition to your other supporting documents:

  • A motivation of no more than three pages in which you provide reasons why you would like to be admitted to the degree
  • A CV highlighting your experience relevant to the field of interest
  • Evidence of engagement with research which could include one or more of the following:
    • a written report of a scholarly nature
    • a literature survey
    • a paper presented at a conference
    • a published article


What are the dates for the compulsory Master of Business Leadership (MBL) study schools for 2019?

A one-week compulsory study school is planned for the third week of February 2019. More comprehensive information will be provided in the acceptance letter.


What are the dates for the compulsory Master of Business Administration (MBA) study schools for 2019?

A one-week compulsory study school is planned for the third week of February 2019. More comprehensive information will be provided in the acceptance letter.


What is the difference between a research and coursework master’s degree?

The majority of master’s qualifications are full research qualifications, where the curriculum comprises a research proposal module and a full dissertation. In some instances, a coursework option exists, with a combination of modules and a smaller research component (eg mini-dissertation) for your master’s qualification. Each qualification clearly indicates whether it is a research or coursework degree.


What is the duration of a master’s or doctoral degree?

  • Coursework master's degree: A student registered for a 180-credit structured coursework master’s degree must complete the study programme within three years. A student may to the Master's and Doctoral Section for one additional year of study. The Master's and Doctoral Section will consult with the Executive Dean of the College in which the student is registered.
  • Research master's degree: A student registered for a 180-credit structured research master’s degree must complete the study programme within three years. A student may apply to the Master's and Doctoral Section for one additional year of study. The Master's and Doctoral Section will consult with the Executive Dean of the College in which the student is registered.
  • Doctoral degree: A student registered for a research doctoral programme must complete the study programme within six years. A student may apply to the Master's and Doctoral Section for one additional year of study. The Master's and Doctoral Section will only consider the application if it is recommended by the Executive Dean of the College in which the student is registered.


Recognition of prior learning


What is recognition of prior learning (RPL)?

Unisa’s RPL programme allows you to gain recognition and credit for skills and learning acquired through means other than formal learning programmes. Your skill and knowledge will be evaluated. If it is found to be relevant, you may be granted appropriate credits. RPL may thus make it possible for you to either gain access to or earn credits towards a Unisa qualification based on prior non-formal learning, thereby reducing your study time. If you are interested in RPL, please contact their office via e-mail at rpl@unisa.ac.za.


I do not have formal qualifications, but have years of experience in my field. What can I do to be admitted directly to a master’s or doctoral qualification?

Apply for a Unisa student number, apply for admission, upload your supporting documents (and the RPL approval letter, if already available) and indicate in your online application that you applying for admission via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Please note that even if you are approved for admission via RPL, your application will still be considered as part of the selection process to the qualification based on the uploaded research outline and the available supervisory capacity in the department.

Contact the RPL office at rpl@unisa.ac.za as soon as possible after applying for admission.


After applying for admission


My application for admission has been approved. When can I register?

You may register online from 3 January to 29 March 2019 for the 2019 academic year.


What should I do once I receive confirmation that my application has been accepted?

Register online and pay the prescribed fees during the registration period (3 January - 29 March 2019). No late registrations will be allowed. If you are a bursary holder or your company is paying for your studies, we strongly recommend that you personally make payment before 29 March 2019 and claim the fees back from your employer / bursary scheme.


Registration


I was registered in 2018. Must I re-register for the 2019 academic year?

Yes. You must re-register and pay your fees every year until you complete your studies. Please remember to register online and pay the prescribed fees during the registration period of 3 January to 29 March 2019 (with the exception of the MCompt degree).

When can I register for the 2019 academic year?

The registration dates for Unisa's master's and doctoral degrees are 3 January to 29 March 2019 (with the exception of the MCompt degree).


I was previously registered for a master’s qualification, but did not re-register. Can I register online?

If you did not apply for a formal deferment, you will have to re-apply for admission as spaces are limited for each year.


I tried to register online, but could not find the master’s qualification I was previously registered for. What should I do?

This could mean that the qualification for which you were previously registered has been phased out and is no longer available. Please send an e-mail to the Master's and Doctoral Section (mandd@unisa.ac.za) to apply to re-register (as an exceptional case) or to find out to which qualification you can transfer your studies. You should re-apply for admission to the new qualification during the relevant application period.


I want to register, but I did not apply during the application phase. What can I do?

It is possible that you may apply for your qualification of choice outside of the prescribed application dates. If it is not, you will unfortunately have to apply for admission during the next application period.


My application was approved and I have registered online. What must I do now?

  • Register on myUnisa and claim your free myLife e-mail address. Your myLife e-mail account will be the only e-mail account recognised by Unisa for official correspondence to and from the university, and will remain the official primary e-mail address on record at Unisa. All official communication from the university will be sent to your myLife account.
  • Download your study material (if applicable). If you do not find any module information or study material, please contact the relevant academic department. If you are registered for a research proposal module or the research component of your qualification, please contact your supervisor (if you have already been informed who the person will be; alternatively, contact the relevant academic department).
  • GSBL (MBA / MBL) students must also register on the SBL's portal to download their study material.
  • A contact person / supervisor will only be appointed if you are registered for a research proposal module or the research component (dissertation / thesis).
  • Make contact with your supervisor or contact person whose name appears on your admission letter as soon as possible after registration (if applicable). If you have not received the letter and do not know who your supervisor is, please contact the relevant academic department.


I am registered for a coursework master’s degree. Can I upload my assignments online?

Yes, but you have to be registered on myUnisa, Unisa’s student portal.


When must I pay for my research master’s or doctoral studies?

Study fees for research master’s and doctoral studies must be paid in full during Unisa's registration period for master's and doctoral qualifications.


What is the cost of a master’s / doctoral degree? 

The fees for the 2019 academic year will only be available towards the end of 2018. The following fees for the 2018 academic year should be used as an estimate: The fee for the master’s research proposal module is approximately R3 800 and R11 800 for the research component. Doctoral students pay approximately R3 900 / R7 840 for the proposal and R14 600 for the thesis. Remember that you have to register and pay every year until you have completed your studies.

GSBL (MBA, MBL and DBL) students should contact the SBL directly, as they make use of a different fee structure.


I have registered and paid my fees, but did not receive any correspondence from Unisa.

All correspondence is e-mailed to your myLife e-mail address. Unisa will not send e-mails to your personal e-mail address. Academics also use myLife e-mail addresses and myUnisa to make important announcements. If you do not claim your myLife email address and register on myUnisa, you will not receive any correspondence from Unisa. Remember to always state your student number in the subject line of your e-mails to Unisa.


How do I calculate my fees?

The fees for 2019 will only be available towards the end of 2018. After this date, use the fee quotation link on the Unisa website to obtain a total fee quotation for the cost of the modules that you have selected. Alternatively, contact the Master's and Doctoral Section (mandd@unisa.ac.za) for a quotation.


Where do I pay online?

You can pay online via the secure link: http://www.unisa.ac.za/feepayment


I registered for the research proposal module and I did not receive any printed study material.

  • No printed study material is available for master’s and doctoral students. You must register on myUnisa to download your study material (where applicable). Information on the proposal module is linked per department under "resources". If there are no information on myUnisa, please contact the relevant academic department or your supervisor / contact person.
  • It is your responsibility to contact your supervisor / contact person in order to access departmental requirements. The outcome of the research proposal module is an acceptable title and research proposal.
  • You will receive notification of who your supervisor / contact person is when you receive feedback on your application or about a week after you have been registered. If you do not receive your postgraduate letter, which includes your title and the contact details of your supervisor / contact person, please contact the Chair of Department of your academic department. This will ensure that a supervisor is appointed to you as soon as possible.


I want my study material to be delivered by courier to my address.

Master’s and doctoral study material (if applicable) is only available online. Once you are registered, you must register on myUnisa, Unisa’s student portal, to access your study material online.

Important announcements are made on myUnisa and all e-mail correspondence will be sent to you myLife e-mail account. GSBL (MBA / MBL) students must also register on the SBL's portal to download their study material.


Will I be credited for modules completed at another institution?

You can only request credits for coursework modules if Unisa offers the specific qualification by coursework. Students may not be granted credits from study units obtained on grounds of a completed qualification. Credits will only be considered for study units of incomplete qualifications at master’s degree level. No credits are considered for research master’s or doctoral qualifications.

You may apply for credits on the basis of courses passed at another university. Note, however, that you may not be granted more than 50% of the modules for the qualification concerned.


Am I allowed to complete my coursework degree in one year?

Yes, but it is highly unlikely as certain pre-requisites are set for each qualification, for example: The research proposal must be accepted before you can register for the research component. In the College of Law, for example, all students must pass two modules in their first year before they may register for the research proposal module, which makes it impossible to complete the coursework master's degree in one acacemic year.


Am I allowed to complete my research master’s qualification in one year?

Yes, but it is highly unlikely, as you must first register for and comply with the requirements for the research proposal module before you may register for the research component (dissertation / thesis).


Am I allowed to complete my doctoral qualification in one year?

No. A doctoral student must be registered for at least two academic years before submitting the thesis for examination.


Will I be allocated a supervisor or can I come with my own?

In most departments, you will be allocated a supervisor once your application for admission has been accepted. If not, you will be provided with a contact person. You may discuss the possibility of your own identified supervisor with the contact person. An extensive CV of the proposed external supervisor will have to be submitted if it is agreed that you may provide the information for consideration. If the person is accepted, Unisa will contract the person and pay the person accordingly.

Supervisors are only allocated to research qualifications. In the case of coursework qualifications, the supervisor is allocated once the student registers for the research proposal module or the research component (dissertation / thesis).


What is the role of my supervisor?

Your supervisor is integral to your studies and will assist you in planning your academic year, ensuring that you are aware of all critical milestones, and detailing both your and their responsibilities during the course of your studies. Both you and your supervisor will sign a Code of Conduct that governs the conditions of your relationship. The support and guidance of your supervisor will be invaluable during the course of your studies.


My supervisor has informed me that my research proposal has been approved. What should I do?

You must receive a formal letter / e-mail from the Master’s and Doctoral Section informing you of the outcome of your research proposal module. You may then proceed with the online registration of your dissertation / thesis in the next registration period. If you do not receive confirmation within two weeks of your supervisor informing you of the outcome, please contact the Master’s and Doctoral Section (mandd@unisa.ac.za). 


I am registered for a master’s qualification. May I cancel my studies?

Yes, you may cancel your modules or studies. Please note, however, that if you cancel the research proposal module or research component of your qualification, you will forfeit the full amount.


I am registered for a research qualification. Why must I indicate an examination venue?

If you are registered for the research proposal module or the research component, you will not be required to write exams. You must, however, indicate an exam venue close to where you live when you register for administrative purposes.


Can I transfer from another university to Unisa?

Unisa accepts candidates from other universities, except if the candidate was excluded / suspended from another higher education institution on grounds of misconduct. If you are applying to transfer from another university, please provide Unisa with a declaration from the previous institution that you did not submit your master’s / doctoral dissertation / thesis for examination at that institution. If you do not have a student number, please apply for a student number in the next application period. Once you have received your student / reference number, apply for admission and upload the relevant supporting documents during the relevant application period.


Can I register with Unisa and another university simultaneously?

You can only be registered at one South African university for a formal qualification. If you want to study simultaneously, you will have to register for a formal degree at one university and for non-degree purposes at the other university. Unisa will only accept you for non-degree purposes on condition that you have written permission from the other university allowing concurrent registration. You will be required to upload the written permission from the other university as part of your application for admission. Please note that you may not register for the research proposal module for non-degree purposes (NDP).


May I register for two or more formal qualifications?

No. You may not register concurrently for two formal qualifications at Unisa.


What should I do if I need an academic record?

Send an e-mail to mandd@unisa.ac.za and request a copy of your academic record. Remember to include your student number in the subject line of all e-mails.

The academic record will be sent to your myLife e-mail account, unless you stipulate otherwise. Please use your ID number / passport number as the password when accessing the academic record. Should you require the academic record to be posted, please provide an updated postal address and / or details of the institution that it needs to be posted to.


Non-degree purposes


May I register for modules for non-degree purposes (NDP) concurrently with my master's or doctoral degree?

If you are registered for a master’s degree, you may also register in the same academic year for two undergraduate modules or for one honours paper or the corresponding number of modules on the same level for non-degree purposes (NDP).

If you are registered for a doctoral qualification, you may also register in the same academic year for two undergraduate modules or for one honours paper or one master’s paper or the corresponding number of modules on the same level for non-qualification purposes (NDP).

You will only be allowed to register for an honours or a master’s paper / module(s) if you comply with the prescribed admission requirements for the honours or master’s qualification concerned. An application for concurrent registration must be uploaded online on the prescribed form at least three weeks before the closing date for registration for the NDP paper / module(s).

Students may not register for the research proposal module for non-degree purposes (NDP).

Please note:

  • Non-degree purposes (NDP) does not constitute a qualification and wil not, therefore, be indicated as a completed qualification.
  • A student may only register for four undergraduate modules or two honours degree modules during the course of his or her studies towards a master's or doctoral degree. The total number of NDP modules is restricted per student.


Deferment of studies


May I defer my studies to the next academic year?

If you wish to defer your studies to the next academic year, please complete and submit the request for deferment form directly to your supervisor or to the Chair of Department before the relevant closing date for re-registrations. Deferments are only granted for a year at a time and for a maximum of two years during the course of study for a particular qualification. One further year will be considered in exceptional cases. Your supervisor will make a recommendation that must be approved by the Chair of the academic department. Once the Chair approves the recommendation, your application to defer your studies will be considered by the College Research Office before the final decision will be sent to the Master's & Doctoral Section for processing. You will receive a formal decision from the Master's & Doctoral Section once all the approvals are in place.

It is very important that you re-register online for the next academic year and pay your fees before the closing date for registrations. You will not receive a reminder from Unisa.

Please note: No deferments will be considered once your registration for an academic year has been finalised. Any requests for deferments after your registration has been finalised will be treated as a request for cancellation. It is crucial that you remember to re-register online for the next academic year and pay your fees within before the closing date for registrations. You will not receive a reminder from Unisa.


Cancellations


May I cancel any modules once I have registered?

Students who cancel their registration for a research proposal module or for a dissertation or thesis remain liable for the full fees for the year for which they were registered. In exceptional cases, the Executive Dean or his or her nominee may recommend cancellation with or without full refund.


Exemptions


I completed a research proposal module at another university. Can I be exempted from the research proposal module? 

No. You must apply for admission and provide written approval from the other university that you may continue your studies at Unisa using the same research topic and proposal. The fact that your proposal was accepted at another university does not mean that Unisa will accept the proposal.


I completed the research proposal module and received my results. When can I register for the dissertation / thesis?

If you receive your result before the closing date for registrations, you can add the dissertation to your current registration. If registrations have already closed, however, you will have to wait for the next registration period (normally from January to March). You will have full access to the library and to your supervisor until registrations re-open for the next academic year. If you experience problems at the library, please contact the Master's and Doctoral Section (012 441 5702; mandd@unisa.ac.za).


Students with disabilities


Does Unisa assist students with disabilities?

Unisa’s Advocacy and Resource Centre for Students with Disabilities (ARCSWiD) will assist and support students with disabilities. If you require assistance, please indicate the nature of your disability on the online registration form and contact ARCSWiD as soon as possible after registration. This will enable ARCSWiD to plan the measures necessary to support your needs.


M&D research examination process


I am in the final stages of my studies and I am almost ready to submit my dissertation / thesis for examination. What is the process?

You must be registered for the dissertation / thesis in the current academic year to be able to submit your research for examination. Doctoral candidates must be registered for at least two academic years before submitting a dissertation / thesis for examination. When the thesis nears completion, the candidate must complete the intention to submit form to inform the university of your intention to submit for examination. Please discuss your intention with your supervisors before you submit the form to the university.

The form must be completed and e-mailed to Resexcoord@unisa.ac.za.

Students are advised to submit the intention to submit form at least 8 weeks prior to submitting the copies for examination (normally 30 September for the Autumn graduation ceremony period of the next year; the proposed date is 15 April for the Spring graduation period).


What are the submission dates?

If you submit your thesis by 15 June and are successful, you will probably receive your qualification at a Spring graduation ceremony (September / October). If you submit your thesis by 30 November and are successful, you will probably receive your qualification at an Autumn graduation ceremony (April / May) of the following year. If submission takes place after the end of January, you can expect to graduate in September of the same year and will have to re-register and pay the full tuition fees.

Please note: The graduation timeframes listed above are estimates, since you may be required to make substantial corrections before the result is formally approved / released.


How many copies must I submit for examination purposes?

For examination purposes, a student must submit three copies of a master’s dissertation and four copies of a doctoral thesis, bound between soft covers with a glued spine. The university reserves the right to request the submission of additional copies. The title of the thesis and the name of the candidate must appear on the cover and on the spine of each examination copy. The Master’s and Doctoral Research Examination Coordination Section will inform students of the process.

Please note: This process is under review and students will in future only be required to upload an electronic copy. More information will follow.


What is the acceptable format for copies submitted for examination?

The thesis must be printed in the A4 or A5 format, on good quality paper which does not permit undue show-through, using at least one and a half spacing (except footnotes and quotations which may be in single spacing) and leaving a left margin of at least 2 centimetres. The thesis must, in the opinion of the university, be neat and legible.

Please note: This process is under review and students will in future only be required to upload an electronic copy. More information will follow.


I missed the deadline for submitting my dissertation / thesis for examination. What must I do?

If you have permission from your supervisor, you may submit your dissertation / thesis at any time provided that you are registered for the academic year. If submission takes place after the end of January, you will have to re-register and pay the full tuition fees for that academic year. A candidate can then expect to graduate in September.

If submission takes place after 15 June, a candidate can expect to graduate in April / May of the following year. If submission takes place after 30 November, graduation will probably take place in September of the following year.


Bursaries and student funding


Are there bursaries available for national and international master’s and doctoral candidates?

There are a limited number of bursaries available for master’s and doctoral students who have completed the research proposal module of the specific master’s or doctoral qualification. Please visit the Directorate for Student Funding website or contact them via e-mail
(dsf@unisa.ac.za).


Contact information


How can I contact the Master's and Doctoral Section?

They can be contacted via e-mail address mandd@unisa.ac.za or telephonically via 012 441 5702.