Master's & doctoral degrees

Master's & doctoral research examination process

The examination process


Step 1: Complete the notice of intention to submit form

The examination process for master’s and doctoral students begins when a student submits a notice of intention to submit form.


Please note the procedure to follow:

  • You must be registered for the dissertation / thesis in the current academic year if you wish to submit your research for examination. Doctoral candidates must be registered for at least two academic years before submitting a thesis for examination.
  • Confirm with your supervisor that your dissertation / thesis is ready for examination and that you wish to submit a notice of intention to submit form.
  • Confirm with your supervisor that the title is the final and correct one that will appear on all copies of the dissertation / thesis to be examined.
  • Complete the form and submit it via e-mail to Resexcoord@unisa.ac.za.
  • The form must be submitted at least 8 weeks prior to submitting the copies for examination (normally 30 September for the autumn graduation period of the next year, and 15 April for the spring graduation period).

What are the submission dates?

You may submit a notice of intention to submit form at any time of the year, but please take the following dates into consideration:

  • If you submit a dissertation / thesis by 15 June and are successful, you may qualify for the spring graduation period (September  / October). 
  • If you submit a dissertation / thesis by 15 November and are successful, you may qualify for the autumn graduation period of the following year (April / May).
  • Should you submit your dissertation / thesis after the end of January, you can expect to graduate in September of the same year. You will, however, be required to formally re-register online during the prescribed registration period and pay the full fee for the academic period.

The graduate timeframes listed above are estimates, since you may be required to make substantial corrections to your dissertation / thesis before the results will be formally approved and released.

Click here for the procedures for master's and doctoral degrees for the formal / technical requirements of the dissertation / thesis. 


Step 2: Submit for examination

The Master's and Doctoral Research Examination Coordination Section will inform students of the process. Students will be provided with a link and access to upload an electronic PDF copy of their dissertation / thesis. Students will no longer submit printed examination copies.

Please ensure that your dissertation / thesis was submitted online to Turnitin (to check for originality). Download the one-page digital receipt (not the full report) and include it with your examination copy. Should you have any queries, please send an e-mail to turnitin@unisa.ac.za


What is the acceptable format for copies submitted for examination?

The dissertation / thesis must be in A4 or A5 format, using at least one-and-a-half line spacing (except for footnotes and quotations which may be in single line spacing). Ensure that you leave a left margin of at least 2 centimetres. The thesis must be neat and legible.


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

If you have submitted your notice of intention to submit form and you have been granted permission to submit, you may submit your dissertation / thesis at any time, provided that you are registered for the current academic year. Should you submit your dissertation / thesis after the end of January, you can expect to graduate in September of the same year. You will, however, be required to formally re-register online during the prescribed registration period and pay the full fee for the academic period.

Last modified: 2019/09/03