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As a new generation university, Nelson Mandela University offers you academic, professional, as well as career-focused postgraduate programmes on various qualification levels.

Postgraduate qualifications are structured as follows:

  • Bachelor honours degree
  • Postgraduate diploma
  • Master’s degree (coursework)
  • Master’s degree (research)
  • Doctoral degree

Bachelor honours degree

  • The bachelor honours degree is the initial postgraduate specialisation qualification, preparing students for research-based postgraduate study.
  • This qualification typically follows a bachelor’s degree, and serves to consolidate and deepen the student’s experience in a particular discipline, and to develop research capacity in the methodology and techniques of that discipline.
  • It demands a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence.
  • In some cases a bachelor honours degree carries recognition by an appropriate professional or statuary body.
  • Bachelor honours degree programmes usually include conducting and reporting research under supervision, in a manner that is appropriate to the discipline or field of study. Not all honours programmes at Nelson Mandela University involve conducting research, but all of them include a research methodology course as part of the coursework component.
  • Completion of a bachelor honours degree meets the minimum entry requirement of admission to a cognate Master’s degree. Entry into a master’s degree programme is usually in the area of specialisation of the bachelor honours degree. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a bachelor honours degree.
  • Bachelor honours programmes usually take one year of full-time study.

Postgraduate Diploma

  • A postgraduate diploma serves to strengthen and deepen the student’s knowledge in a particular discipline or profession.
  • The primary purpose of the qualification is to enable working professionals to undertake advanced reflection and development by means of a systematic survey of current thinking, practice ad research methods in an area of specialisation.
  • This qualification demands a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence. The qualification may include conducting and reporting research under supervision.
  • Completion of a postgraduate diploma meets the minimum entry requirement for admission to a cognate master’s degree, usually in the area of specialisation of the postgraduate diploma. A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a postgraduate diploma.
  • Postgraduate diplomas usually takes one year of full-time study.

Master’s degree

  • The primary purposes of a master’s degree are to educate and train researchers who can contribute to the development of knowledge at an advanced level, or prepare graduates for advanced and specialised professional employment.
  • A master’s degree must have a significant research component.
  • A master’s degree may be earned in either of two ways: i) by completing a single advanced research project, culminating in the production and acceptance of a thesis, or ii) by successfully completing a coursework programme requiring a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence and a research project.
  • Master’s graduates should be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements using data and information at their disposal and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • The minimum admission rerequirement is a relevant bachelor honours degree, a professional Bachelor’s degree or a postgraduate diploma.
  • Note: Professional bachelor’s degrees differs from general bachelors in the sense that they have a higher volume of learning and demands a certain level of research capabilities. Professional bachelors are often designed in consultation with a professional body and recognised and accredited by the relevant body as a prerequisite for practicing that specific profession.
  • Master’s programmes usually take a minimum of one year full-time study or two years of part-time study.

Coursework master’s programmes:

  • A coursework or taught master’s programme entails theoretical modules, a research project, and in some cases practical work and an intership component.
  • Each student is expected to undertake an individual research project that forms the basis of a treatise which must be submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master’s degree.

Research master’s programmes:

  • A master’s dissertation is an advanced research project of defined scope and limited length.
  • The research work undertaken will normally be submitted in written form. However, where justified by the faculty, in certain disciplines the requirements for the research degree may be partially or fully met by means of a set of original artworks, artefacts, conceptualisations, compositions, installations, performances, and or professional exhibitions.

Doctoral degree

  • The defining characteristic of a doctoral degree is that the candidate is required to demonstrate high-level research capability and make a significant and original academic contribution at the frontiers of a discipline or field.
  • The degree requires a candidate to undertake research at the most advanced academic level, culminating in the production, defence and acceptance of a thesis. The work must be of a quality to satisfy peer review and merit publication.
  • A qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a doctoral degree.

This degree usually requires a minimum of two years’ full time study and usually follows a master’s degree.