Master's & doctoral degrees

Apply for a student number and apply for admission

Application for master's and doctoral qualifications will be open from 15 September to 6 November 2020. Thereafter, only those qualifications that have spaces available will be open until the end of January 2021 (exceptions may apply). Please note that selection degrees have different application dates. 

Please take note of the following:
  • All applications for admission must be submitted online. No self-help stations will be available for applications at the regional offices.
  • Admission to a qualification is not automatic. It will depend on whether you comply with the admission requirements, departmental requirements and if space is available.

Unisa's application process

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

  1. Apply for a student number (only applicable if you do not already have a formal Unisa student number)
  2. Apply for admission
  3. Upload the compulsory supporting documents. These documents are displayed in red on the upload platform. Incomplete applications will not be considered.


Unisa will accept applicants based on the following criteria: (1) The suitability and viability of the intended research; (2) adequate supervisory capacity and research expertise in the discipline or department; and (3) an approved selection procedure which is in line with Unisa's Policy on Equality and Diversity.

Please take note of Unisa's FAQs about open applications for master's and doctoral degrees.


1. Apply for a student number


Who must apply for a Unisa student number?

  • You must apply for a Unisa student number if you have never before studied towards a formal qualification at Unisa. Student numbers issued for Unisa's short learning programmes are not valid for formal qualifications. Your formal Unisa student number will be your permanent Unisa student number.
  • If you are applying for admission to a Graduate School of Business Leadership (GSBL) qualification, please apply for a Unisa student number, unless you previously studied at Unisa towards a formal qualification.
  • If you are applying for admission to a selection degree, you must apply for a Unisa student number if you have never before studied towards a formal qualification at Unisa. If you do not have a formal Unisa student number and are selected for admission to one of the selection degrees, you will not be able to register for the 2021 academic year.
  • An application for a Unisa student number is NOT an application for admission to a qualification. You must complete the process by applying for admission and uploading the supporting documents.





Pay the application fee

Pay the online application fee of R115,00. Please note that the application fee is non-refundable even if you decide not to study through Unisa or do not qualify for admission to Unisa.

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

Click here for Unisa's payment methods and banking details.


2. Apply for admission


Who should apply for admission?

Everyone wanting to start a new qualification must apply for admission


When may I apply for admission?

Applications for admission to Unisa open on 15 September and close on 6 November 2020 (some exceptions apply). The coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology opens on 17 August and closes on 18 September 2020.


Apply online for admission




3. Upload your supporting documents

Check your documents & confirm that you are ready to apply

  I am sure that...

  • I have a valid Unisa student number for a formal qualification.
  • I have chosen the correct Unisa qualification.
    Please note: If you intend applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, please contact the college before submitting your application, as you require a letter of permission from the college / department to be uploaded as part of your application.
  • I have prepared a research outline in line with the departmental focus / niche area requirements (applicable to all qualifications, except for the MBA, MBL, coursework LLMs and coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology). A research outline describes your intended research and comprises a two to five page expression of interest essay describing the following:
    • Topic
    • Short literature review
    • Potential contribution of the study
    • Potential unit of analysis
    • Research context (include the method you plan on using)
    • Personal motivation to pursue studies on this topic
    • List of references (using the Harvard referencing method, the "APA" referencing method or any other referencing methods indicated by the department)
    • CV and any additional documents as indicated in the admission requirements for the specific qualification under the departmental focus area requirements
  • I meet the statutory and college admission requirements for my qualification of choice.
  • I have a valid e-mail address and I accept that Unisa will communicate with me during the application process using this e-mail address.
    * If you previously studied through Unisa, please use your myLife e-mail address during the application process, as all communication will be sent to your myLife e-mail address.

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

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

If you do not upload the necessary supporting documents within 10 working days of submitting your application for admission, your application will be declined. You will then need to re-apply for admission and upload the necessary supporting documents before the closing date for applications should you wish to be considered for admission to the 2021 academic year.

  • Copies of all official academic records, including all papers / modules passed, percentages obtained and the ledger. You do not need to submit Unisa academic records.
  • A copy of your ID or passport.
  • A research outline, CV and any additional documents as indicated in the admission requirements for the specific qualification under the departmental focus area requirements.
  • If you intend applying for admission to a qualification offered by the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, please contact the college before submitting your application, as you require a letter of permission from the college / department to be uploaded as part of your application.
  • Departmental forms for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (available under the college's research focus areas)
  • Click here for the departmental application form for the coursework MCom in Industrial Psychology (professional qualification).
  • RPL approval letter if you applied for admission via RPL.

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

  • Each document must be uploaded as a separate file.
  • Maximum number of files allowed: 5.
  • Files are not larger than 2MB (2048KB) each.
  • Only black and white documents may be submitted.
  • Only the following file types are allowed: PDF (Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format file), DOC (Word document file) or TIF (image file).

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Last modified: 2020/09/01