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.
  • students in their final year of study towards an honours degree, postgraduate diploma or master's degree who wish to continue with further postgraduate studies.

You must apply for admission if you previously applied for admission to a master's or doctoral degree, your application was approved, but you did not register for the qualification. 

You must apply for admission if you are a previously registered master's or doctoral student, but did not register for the 2022 academic year and now wish to continue with master's or doctoral studies in 2023. 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. (If you already have a formal Unisa student number, you may continue to step 2. 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.) Pay the application fee of R125. You will receive notification via SMS and e-mail that your application for a student number was successful.
    Please note: This does not mean that your application for admission to the 2023 academic year has been approved (you must still complete steps 2 and 3 below).
  • Step 2: Once you receive your student number, you must apply online for admission to the 2023 academic year (some exceptions apply). Applications for admission to master's and doctoral qualifications will be open from 11 September to 31 January 2023.
  • Step 3: Upload the required compulsory supporting documents. In most cases, this will be a copy of your ID/valid passport, complete academic records (if not Unisa qualifications), the ledger and SAQA certificate of evaluation (in the case of foreign qualifications), and the research outline (except for the MBA, MBL, LLM coursework qualifications and the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology). The compulsory documents will be displayed in red on the upload platform. International students can apply without submitting the SAQA certificate of evaluation on application.  However, it must be submitted prior to closing of the online registration date, but not later than 30 May 2023. 

Please note: If you only apply for a student number, but do not apply for admission and submit your compulsory supporting documents, you will not be considered for the 2023 academic year. Only complete applications will be considered. 


What are the application dates for the 2023 academic year?

Applications for admission to the 2023 academic year will be open from  11 September to 31 January 2023 (some exceptions apply). Please also take note that selection degrees have different application dates and some have different application processes.


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 and upload your supporting documents 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 student 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 student numbers. Please apply for a formal Unisa student number and pay the once-off, non-refundable application fee of R125:

  • Step 1: Apply online for a Unisa student number. Pay the application fee of R125. You will receive notification via SMS and e-mail that your application for a student number was successful.
    Please note: This does not mean that your application for admission to the 2023 academic year has been approved (you must still complete steps 2 and 3 below).
  • Step 2: Once you receive your student number, you must apply online for admission to the 2023 academic year (some exceptions apply).
  • Step 3: Upload the required compulsory supporting documents. In most cases, this will be a copy of your ID/passport, complete academic records (if not Unisa qualifications), the ledger and SAQA certificate of evaluation (in the case of foreign qualifications), and the research outline (except for the MBA, MBL, LLM coursework qualifications and the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology).

Please note: If you only apply for a student number, but do not apply for admission and submit your compulsory supporting documents, you will not be considered for the 2023 academic year. Only complete applications will be considered.


I can't find the qualification for which I want to apply on the Unisa website. 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/

If a qualification does not appear on the application website, it means that it is not on offer for the 2023 academic year. If a qualification is listed on the website, but is not listed on the online application platform, no spaces are available for that particular qualification. You will need to apply for the qualification during the next application period. You may also send an e-mail of enquiry to MandD@unisa.ac.zaThe MandD@unisa.ac.za e-mail account is not managed by a specific person, but is a mailbox that is accessed by staff in the Master's and Doctoral Administrative Department.


Can I apply for more than one master's or doctoral qualification?

No. It is therefore important to ensure that you meet the minimum admission requirements for your qualification of choice. 


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

Make sure that you meet the minimum admission requirements for the qualification for which you are applying.

All applicants (except for the MBA, MBL, coursework LLM qualifications and coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology) must upload a research outline for their intended qualification as part of the online application process. Click here for the different college research focus areas.

Please refer to the research focus areas for master's and doctoral studies, and prepare a research outline based on the guidelines before completing the online application process.

You must indicate the selected focus areas and provide a preliminary (working) title for your projected research during the online application process.

  • If you are applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, please ensure that you complete and upload the departmental questionnaire.
  • If you are applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, please contact the relevant department prior to applying and commencing with the research outline, as you need to upload a departmental letter confirming that you may apply for admission.
  • If you are applying for admission to the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology (professional qualification), please complete the application form and upload it as a departmental questionnaire when you apply online. Click here for more information.

IMPORTANT: Students who obtained qualifications outside the borders of South Africa must have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) but may apply online without the certificate. If approved, such students will be provisionally approved pending the submission of the SAQA certificate of evaluation before registering for the 2023 academic year.


Research outline

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

All other students must prepare a brief research outline (2 - 5 pages) as part of their application. Please ensure that you refer to the college research focus areas. Click here for guidelines on how to prepare a research outline.

Plagiarism of any form is unacceptable. Please take note of Unisa's Policy for Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism.


Documents to be uploaded

It is very important that you upload the compulsory supporting documents (displayed in red on the upload platform) as part of your online application process. Students who obtained qualifications outside the borders of South Africa must have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), but may apply online without the certificate. If approved, such students will be provisionally approved pending the submission of the SAQA certificate of evaluation before registering for the 2023 academic year.

Supporting documents must be scanned and saved as specific document types and uploaded separately (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 compulsory supporting documents within 10 days of submitting your application for admission, (excluding the SAQA certificate of evaluation), your application will be declined. The 10 days do not apply after the closing date for applications. 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 2023 academic year. If the application period is closed, you will need to wait for the next application period to apply for admission. No supporting documents will be accepted after the closing date for applications.


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 who wish to apply for admission to the Master of Business Administration (90070), the Master of Business Leadership (90086) or the Doctor of Business Leadership (90071) qualifications, offered by the Graduate School of Business Leadership (GSBL), must apply online for admission.

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 (only for DBL applicants)
    • Copies of degree certificates
    • Academic records
    • Sponsorship letter

All enquiries with regard to GSBL qualifications or about the status of your application must be directed to the GSBL (MBA - SBLMBA@unisa.ac.za; MBL - SBLMBL@unisa.ac.zasbl@unisa.ac.za; DBL - SBLDBL@unisa.ac.za). Please do not use the general master's and doctoral e-mail address (MandD@unisa.ac.za) for GSBL enquiries. 


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

Apply online for admission (some exceptions apply).

If you do not have a student number, first apply online for a Unisa student number during Unisa's application period. Pay the application fee of R125. 

You will receive notification via SMS and e-mail that your application for a student number was successful.

Once you receive your student number, you must apply online for admission to the 2023 academic year. Upload the required supporting documents, which will display in red on the online application platform. In most cases, this will be a copy of your ID/passport, complete academic records (if not Unisa qualifications), the ledger and SAQA certificate of evaluation (in the case of foreign qualifications), and the research outline (except for the MBA, MBL, coursework LLM qualifications and coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology).

All the steps must be completed for your application for admission to the 2023 academic year to be considered. We will not accept any applications and / or documents submitted via e-mail.


I want to apply for the MBA. What documents must I upload?

  • A transcript of your bachelor's degree and your bachelor honours degree or postgraduate diploma, with a minimum of 120 credits OR a 480-credit bachelor's degree.
  • Your transcript must include the symbol or percentage obtained for each module and whether or not the qualification was completed.    
  • A recent curriculum vitae that shows that you have at least three years of managerial/professional work experience.
  • A clear copy of your identity document or passport. A copy of your driver's licence will NOT be accepted.
  • SAQA certificate. Students who obtained qualifications outside the borders of South Africa must have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), but may apply online without the certificate. If approved, such students will be provisionally approved pending the submission of the SAQA certificate of evaluation before registering for the 2023 academic year.  

Please note:

  • You may be required to write an admissions test as part of the selection process.
  • The Graduate School of Business Leadership may institute additional selection criteria as deemed necessary.
  • Enquiries should be directed via e-mail to SBLMBA@unisa.ac.za


I want to apply for the MBL. What documents must I upload?

  • A transcript of your bachelor's degree and your bachelor honours degree or postgraduate diploma, with a minimum of 120 credits OR a 480-credit bachelor's degree.
  • Your transcript must include the symbol or percentage obtained for each module and whether or not the qualification was completed.   
  • A recent curriculum vitae that shows that you have at least five (5) years managerial/professional work experience.
  • A clear copy of your identity document or passport. A copy of your driver's licence will NOT be accepted.
  • SAQA certificate. Students who obtained qualifications outside the borders of South Africa must have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), but may apply online without the certificate. If approved, such students will be provisionally approved pending the submission of the SAQA certificate of evaluation before registering for the 2023 academic year. 

Please note:

  • You may be required to write an admissions test as part of the selection process.
  • The Graduate School of Business Leadership may institute additional selection criteria as deemed necessary.
  • Enquiries should be directed via e-mail to SBLMBL@unisa.ac.za


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 that is administered by an academic department, 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 2023 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. The compulsory documents will display in red in the upload your document tool: 

  • ID document (South African citizens), valid passport (international candidates) or birth certificate.
  • Marriage/divorce documents (if applicable and if the names on your academic record do not correspond with the names on your identity document).
  • Complete academic records (including the scoring ledger) 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 (not required for Unisa qualifications).
  • SAQA certificate of evaluation if your qualification(s) has/have been obtained outside the borders of South Africa. Students who obtained qualifications outside the borders of South Africa must have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), but may apply online without the certificate. If approved, such students will be provisionally approved pending the submission of the SAQA certificate of evaluation before registering for the 2023 academic year.
  • Research outline in line with departmental requirements (except for the MBA, MBL, coursework LLM qualifications and coursework MCom degree in Industrial Psychology). Please note that the departments offering these qualifications may have additional requirements. Please consult the college research focus areasClick here for the guidelines on how to prepare a research outline. 
  • An abbreviated CV in accordance with departmental requirements.
  • Any other requirements requested by the academic department (eg proof of work experience, Unisa departmental letter).
  • RPL letter, if you applied via RPL to be considered for the qualification.


The following documents are specific to qualifications:

  • Applicants applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences must please complete the departmental forms (available under the college's research focus areas for 2023).
  • Applicants applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology must contact the relevant department prior to applying for admission, as you require a letter from the department which you must upload as part of your application process.
  • Applicants applying for admission to the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology must please complete the departmental application form and upload it as a departmental questionnaire on the document upload platform. 
  • Students who obtained qualifications outside the borders of South Africa must have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), but may apply online without the certificate. If approved, such students will be provisionally approved pending the submission of the SAQA certificate of evaluation before registering for the 2023 academic year. 


What does the research outline entail?

Plagiarism of any form is unacceptable. Please take note of Unisa's Policy for Copyright Infringement and Plagiarism.


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

Selection will take place during January and February 2023. Applicants will be informed towards the beginning of March 2023. If you have not received confirmation by 15 March 2023, please contact the Master’s and Doctoral Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.za). Registrations will close at the end of March 2023.

Important:

  • If you are a first-time Unisa applicant and do not have a myLife e-mail address, Unisa will communicate with you via the e-mail address and cellphone number you provided during the application period.
  • If you were previously registered with Unisa, Unisa will send the outcome of your application to your myLife e-mail account. Please check this e-mail account regularly for information. If you have forgotten your myUnisa/myLife password, please go to myUnisa (https://my.unisa.ac.za) to update your password.


Must I accept or decline the offer?

No. Accepting or declining an offer is only valid for undergraduate, honours and postgraduate diploma applicants.


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

Yes. You must 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 apply for admission during the prescribed application period and upload all the compulsory supporting documents. These documents will display in red on the online document 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. 


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. Some departments will not consider applications with less than 60%. The Master’s and Doctoral Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.zawill inform you accordingly. 

You may apply for RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) if your application for admission is declined, though this might delay your application for admission to the next application period. It is advisable to apply for RPL prior to the prescribed application period if you do not meet the stipulated admission requirements.


What are the dates for the compulsory Master of Business Leadership (MBL) and the Master of Business Administration (MBA) study schools for 2023?

Visit the SBL website for more information regarding study schools: www.unisa.ac.za/sbl


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 full dissertation. 

In some instances, a coursework option exists, with a combination of modules (for which you will write examinations), a research proposal module and a smaller research component (mini-dissertation) for your master’s qualification. Each qualification clearly indicates whether it is a research or coursework degree. Students who register for a coursework master's degree must first pass at least two modules before they may register for the research proposal module, unless otherwise stated. Students can only register for the mini-dissertation after completion of the research proposal module.


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. Under exceptional circumstances and on the recommendation of the Executive Dean, a candidate may be allowed an extra (fourth) year to complete the qualification.
  • Research master's degree: A student registered for a 180-credit structured research master’s degree must complete the study programme within three years. Under exceptional circumstances and on the recommendation of the Executive Dean, a candidate may be allowed an extra (fourth) year to complete the qualification.
  • Doctoral degree: A student registered for a research doctoral programme must complete the study programme within six years. Under exceptional circumstances, and on the recommendation of the Executive Dean, a candidate may be allowed an extra (seventh) year to complete the qualification.

It is the responsibility of both the student and the supervisor to ensure that the qualification is completed within the prescribed period of time.


I want to appeal the outcome of my application. 

You may send an e-mail to MandD@unisa.ac.za with the relevant supporting documents after consulting section 3.6 of the Procedures for Master's and Doctoral degrees.

Section 3.6: "An appeal against non-admission on academic grounds may be addressed to the College of Graduate Studies: Master and Doctoral Administration Support section which section will refer it to the Executive Dean of the relevant College, or to his or her nominee. If the appeal is rejected, such rejection must be substantiated and submitted to the Intercollege Postgraduate Studies Committee for consideration. The Committee considers the matter and informs the College of Graduate Studies: Master and Doctoral Administration Support section of the outcome. This section communicates the outcome to the applicant, the Executive Dean and the academic department."


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. No qualification will be issued based on a successful RPL application.

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?

You can apply for direct admission via the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process, but you must also apply for a Unisa student number, apply for admission, upload your compulsory supporting documents (and the RPL approval letter, if already available) and indicate in your online application that you are 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.

If you apply for admission via RPL, you must also apply online for the specific master's or doctoral qualification during the application period. You have to indicate on the online application platform that you applied for admission via RPL. You must still provide the supporting documents (eg research outline, if applicable). If you have an RPL approval letter, please upload it when you apply for admission.

Remember to upload your RPL letter as soon as you receive it.

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 9 January to 31 March 2023 for the 2023 academic year. MCompt, MBA, MBL and DBL students must register by the end of January 2023. Please note that these dates are subject to change.


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 (normally January to March). 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 the relevant closing date and claim the fees back from your employer/bursary scheme.


Registration


I was registered in 2022. Must I re-register for the 2023 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 9 January to 31 March 2023 (with the exception of the MCompt, MBA, MBL and DBL degrees, which close on 31 January 2023). Please note that these dates are subject to change.

When can I register for the 2023 academic year?

The registration dates for Unisa's master's and doctoral degrees are 9 January to 31 March 2023 (with the exception of the MCompt, MBA, MBL and DBL degrees which close on 31 January 2023). Please note that these dates are subject to change.


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 apply again for admission. Spaces are not kept for students who did not formally defer their studies and there are limited spaces 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 - refer to the application website for more information.

Please send an e-mail to the Master's and Doctoral Administrative department (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 the case, 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). Research proposal module students can access their study material under "Resources" on myUnisa. Select the department under which your qualification falls. 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). Please note that there is no study material for the research components (dissertation, mini-dissertation or thesis).
  • MBA and MBL students must use the GSBL Moodle platform to access their study material. Please remember to also claim your myLife e-mail account.
  • A contact person/supervisor will only be appointed if you are registered for a research proposal module or the research component (mini-dissertation/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 or send an e-mail to the Master's and Doctoral Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.za). In the case of GSBL qualifications, the GSBL will provide you with the contact information.  


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 platform. GSBL students should make use of the GSBL Moodle platform.


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 within Unisa's prescribed registration period for master's and doctoral qualifications before registration is finalised.


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

The fees for the 2023 academic year will only be available towards the end of 2022. The following fees for the 2022 academic year should be used as an estimate: The fee for a research master’s degree is R15 960. Doctoral students pay approximately R18 795. Remember that you have to register and pay every year until you have completed your studies. 

International students outside the borders of Africa are required to pay a foreign levy of approximately R10 860,00.

GSBL (MBA, MBL and DBL) students should contact the GSBL (sblfinance@unisa.ac.za) as the GSBL makes 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 will also correspond with you via your myLife e-mail address and use myUnisa to make important announcements. If you do not claim your myLife e-mail address and register on myUnisa, you will not receive any correspondence from Unisa. You may also send an e-mail to the Master's and Doctoral Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.za). 

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 2023 will only be available towards the end of 2022. 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 Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.za) for a quotation.


Where do I pay online?

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

Please use the correct reference to ensure that fees paid are allocated timeously to your student account. 

What happens after registration?

You will have received notification of who your supervisor/contact person is when you received feedback on your application. All correspondence from the university will be sent to your Unisa myLife e-mail address. It is your responsibility to claim your myLife e-mail account as soon as you have registered. After registration, you may contact the appointed supervisor for guidance. If you do not receive your postgraduate letter, which includes your title and the contact details of your supervisor/contact person, please send an e-mail to the Master's and Doctoral Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.za). 


I registered for the research proposal module as part of a coursework qualification and 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 is 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 to access departmental requirements after you have registered. Your supervisor/contact person will provide you with guidelines on your research proposal module. 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. You may also send an e-mail to the Master's and Doctoral Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.za). 


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 platform, to access your study material online.

Important announcements are made on myUnisa and all e-mail correspondence will be sent to your myLife e-mail account. GSBL (MBA and MBL) students must also register on the myUnisa Moodle platform platform to access their study material.

Will I receive data from Unisa?

Only students who write examinations will receive data for the month in which they write the examination.


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. You may apply for credits after registering during the prescribed application period.


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 academic year.


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

Yes. 


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 an external 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 for his or her service.

Supervisors are allocated to students registering for full research qualifications in their first year of study. In the case of coursework qualifications, the supervisor is only allocated once the student registers for the research proposal module or the research component (mini-dissertation).


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. Please familiarise yourself with the policies and procedures for master's and doctoral students. It is both your responsibility and that of your supervisor to ensure that you complete your studies in the allocated time period.


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 Administrative department informing you of the outcome of your research proposal module before you proceed with the online registration of your mini-dissertation (if the registration period is still open or during the next registration period) or request an academic record that states that you completed the module. If you do not receive confirmation within two weeks of your supervisor informing you of the outcome, please contact the Master’s and Doctoral Administrative department (MandD@unisa.ac.za). Remember to indicate your student number in the subject line AND make use of your myLife e-mail address when communicating with the university. 

If the registration period is closed when you complete your research proposal module, please note that you may continue to use the Library and receive supervision until the next registration period or you may opt to add the research component to the current academic year by sending an e-mail to MandD@unisa.ac.za

You will be advised of the date by which the payment must be made to activate your registration.


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. Normal rules apply when you cancel coursework modules (written/portfolio).


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, select the "not applicable (only thesis)" examination centre.


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. You must still apply for a formal Unisa student number (if applicable), apply for admission and upload the relevant supporting documents during the prescribed 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 research modules for non-degree purposes (NDP). You will have to apply for admission to NDP at Unisa during the undergraduate / honours application period if you wish to register for undergraduate or honours modules for NDP.


May I register for two or more formal qualifications at Unisa?

No. Concurrent registration of formal qualifications are not allowed. 


What should I do if I need an academic record?

Go to myUnisa and request an academic record or complete and submit the Application for academic record or credit certificate form (CGS08 - available under forms & codes on the registration website). The form must be submitted via e-mail to MandD@unisa.ac.za 
Please include your student number and the name of the form (CGS08) in the subject line of the e-mail. Also send a copy of your ID/passport when you apply for an academic record.

The academic record will be sent to your myLife e-mail account, unless you stipulate otherwise. Please use your ID number/valid passport number as the password when accessing the academic record.

An academic record can also be generated via myUnisa, under "myAdmin" and "Student Admin".


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). You will have to apply for admission to NDP at Unisa during the undergraduate / honours application period if you wish to register for undergraduate or honours modules for 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-degree 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 will 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. You may not apply for deferment in your first year of study. If you are unable to register or decide to cancel your studies in your first year of study, you will be required to re-apply for admission. 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 and 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 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, a mini-dissertation, dissertation or thesis after 10 working days will forfeit the full fees paid 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 with 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. You also have to comply with the rules regarding ethical clearance. Your supervisor will guide you on this matter.


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

If you receive your result before the closing date for registrations, you can add the mini 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 send an e-mail to the Master's and Doctoral administrative department (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 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 thesis for examination. When the dissertation / thesis nears completion, the candidate must complete the intention to submit form to inform the university of the 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 dissertation / 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 15 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.

Research master’s students who registered for the first time from 2021 are required to submit a manuscript for publication to a peer reviewed accredited journal as part of their curriculum. Proof of the submission must accompany the submission of the examination copy. From 2021, departments may request research master’s students to deliver an oral defence (viva voce) of their dissertation. 

Doctoral students who registered for the first time from 2021 are required to submit two manuscripts for publication to a peer reviewed accredited journal as part of their curriculums (some exceptions apply). Proof of the submission for both manuscripts must accompany the submission of the examination copy. However, doctoral students who registered for the first time from 2021 will also be required to deliver an oral defence (viva voce) of their thesis. 

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.  Also note that the submission dates are for the actual submission of your dissertation/theses and not the submission of the intention to submit.


I am registered for the 2022 academic year. What is the last date on which I can submit without having to re-register and pay for the 2023 academic year?

If you submit by 31 January 2023, you do not have to re-register and pay for 2023. If you submit after this date, however, you have to re-register online and pay before the closing date of 31 March 2023 for the 2023 academic year. 


How to submit for examination purposes?

You will be provided with a link and access to upload an electronic PDF copy of your dissertation / thesis. No printed examination copies are accepted. The link will only be provided after permission to submit has been granted by the supervisor and examiners have been appointed.

Please ensure that your dissertation / thesis was submitted online to Turnitin (for originality checking) and download the one-page digital receipt (not the full report) to be included with your examination copy. For any enquiries about Turnitin, please send an e-mail to turnitin@unisa.ac.za


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 current academic year. If submission takes place after the end of January, you will have to re-register and pay the full tuition fees for the next academic year.


Escalation procedure

What process must I follow to escalate a problem?

  • Step 1: Send an e-mail to MandD@unisa.ac.za in which you explain the challenge you are experiencing. Include your student number in the subject line of the e-mail. Please note that Unisa will only communicate with you via your myLife e-mail address.
  • Step 2: If the matter is not resolved by MandD@unisa.ac.za, send an e-mail to Ms Penny Ngcobo (Ngcobpn@unisa.ac.za), Manager: Master's and Doctoral Administrative department.
  • Step 3: If the matter is still not resolved, you may send an e-mail to the Office of the Ombudsman (ombudsman@unisa.ac.za).
  • Step 4: The Office of the Ombudsman will provide you with a complaint form that you must complete and return to the Ombudsman’s Office.

Please do not send multiple e-mails or an e-mail to more than one e-mail address. Do not send e-mails to the Offices of the Principal or Vice-Principals, as this may result in a delay in your problem being resolved. Follow the steps as indicated above.


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.

The 2023 Unisa postgraduate bursary application period will open from 1 November 2022 to 31 January 2023. 

Students must ensure that they do an online temporary registration before the end of January 2023.

Enquiries:


Contact information


How can I contact the Master's and Doctoral Administrative department?

The Master's and Doctoral Administrative department handles administration matters related to applications, admissions, registrations, cancellations, deferments and research proposal results. They can be contacted via e-mail address MandD@unisa.ac.za

Please note that this e-mail account is administered by all staff in the Master's and Doctoral Administrative department, and not by one specific individual (the e-mail address stands for "Master's and Doctoral" and is not a person). Please do not send e-mails to multiple e-mail addresses, as this may cause unnecessary backlogs and delays in your e-mail being answered. 


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

They can be contacted via e-mail address resexcood@unisa.ac.za

Last modified: 2022/11/21