College of College of Graduate Studies

Online modules set to shape futures of postgrads

Prof Lindiwe Zungu, Executive Dean of the College of Graduate Studies (CGS), writes that as Africa’s largest university, Unisa, through CGS, has conceptualised an online suite of modules in current and post-Covid-19 contexts. Through its extensive experience in capacity development, the college offers a specified curriculum with a focus on developing research capabilities via a state-of-the-art online programme that trains postgraduate students to become competent postgraduate researchers with a specified focus on working within the new Covid-19 regulated environment.

Prof Lindiwe Zungu (Executive Dean of the College of Graduate Studies) says that the college’s online research methodology, academic and grant writing programme is the way to go for postgraduate students.

These assertions underpin the objectives contained in the college’s 2020 operational plan in support of the vision, mission and strategic objectives as set out in the Unisa Strategic Plan 2016-2030 and the first framework 2016-2020. They are informed by and support the 2020 Annual Performance Plan as well as the Compact with Council.

The Covid-19 pandemic has necessitated the need for an aggressive overhaul of postgraduate research support, to provide students with access to a comprehensive online support programme. Critically, this development has holistically placed an urgent and non-negotiable emphasis on the development of innovative online teaching options that follow the physical distance restrictions that now exist.

CGS online postgraduate research methodology, academic and grant writing programme

The online programme aims to advance strategic partnerships across the institution by incorporating the expertise and mandates of various portfolios for expansive impact on accelerating the transformation agenda. To that end, because of CGS’s unique position of working across all the colleges of the university at postgraduate level, the college is well-situated to cascade some of the critical projects of transformation in the university and impact on postgraduate students, who mostly do research, as well as academics who drive high impact research in the respective colleges.

The year-round master’s and doctoral research development programme will have six separate but simultaneously delivered pathways, which will each last between three and six months for:

  1. Online master’s proposal development (6 months)
  2. Online doctoral proposal development (6 months)
  3. Online master’s dissertation development (6 months)
  4. Online doctoral thesis development (6 months)
  5. Online academic writing and writing for publication (3 months)
  6. Online grant writing (3 months)

The programme will be open to Unisa’s postgraduate students at different stages of their study and will facilitate the development of skills and academic competencies needed to excel in postgraduate study.

Beyond an acceptance of the importance of developing competence in research, there is wide acceptance that the world’s most socially progressive and economically self-sustaining nations have working populations that are predominantly comprised of employees educated at master’s and doctoral level, and, most significantly, individuals with advanced research leadership competencies.

CGS seeks to (i) accelerate excellence in postgraduate research support, (ii) improve student support by promoting an enabling postgraduate support system, (iii) foster online academic support/programmes to promote lifelong higher education for all and knowledge creation that is nationally responsive and globally relevant, and (iv) inculcate an African perspective in postgraduate support.

For more details on this exciting online programme, please join the future by visiting the College of Graduate Studies website.

For more on the college’s research activities, you can follow us on the following social media platforms:

Facebook: Research@Unisa or join the M&D Research Training Workshops Group.


You can also contact the Executive Dean of CGS, Prof Lindiwe Zungu (, the College Administrator, Johanna Dube ( or the College Marketing and Communication Specialist, Hanli Wolhuter (

Read the full document here.

* By Lindiwe Zungu, Professor and Executive Dean, College of Graduate Studies

Publish date: 2020/06/14