UCT Post-graduate studies - Page 13

Unless you hold a four-year
bachelor’s or equivalent degree,
an honour’s degree is the gateway to
postgraduate studies in South Africa.
This is a one-year degree programme.
Maybe it’s been
a few years since
you finished your
studies and you
would like to blow away the
cobwebs before you kick-start
your postgraduates studies.
Or maybe you just want to gain
some new skills to complement
your postgraduate research?
UCT offers a number of Massive
Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
These are free online courses
with no entry requirements
and are not for university credit.
You can choose to purchase
a certificate, and in some cases
financial aid is available. Find
out more about the UCT MOOCs
project on the Postgrad Hub.
Postgraduate diplomas are
qualifications at the immediate
post-bachelor’s level, and enable students
to undertake advanced reflection and
development in a particular discipline or
profession. They are similar to some honours
and master’s programmes, but without a
dissertation or significant research project.
Some postgraduate diplomas require
students to have an undergraduate degree
from the same discipline. Others are available
to students with any undergraduate degree
and act as conversion courses – allowing
entry to vocational or professional work.
For example, the Postgraduate Diploma
in Management Practice is a pre-master’s
business programme that packs a power
punch of vital business skills for success in
uncertain economic times.
Master’s programmes at
UCT are, for the most part, advanced
research-based degrees. They fall into
three general categories:
1.a research master’s by full dissertation
2.a research master’s by coursework
and dissertation
3.a professional master’s degree.
In such degrees the research
component may require a research
paper styled submission, in addition
or in place of the dissertation.
Some professions have an
examination or accreditation system
to verify that the practitioners reach
an acceptable level of knowledge and
skill. This may be at the master’s,
honours or PGDip level. For example,
the Postgraduate Certificate in Education
(PGCE) is a one-year qualification to
train graduates who wish to become
school teachers.
A PhD (i.e. doctorate) is
a research degree at the
most advanced level, typically three
or four years in length, culminating
in the acceptance of a doctoral thesis.
In essence the degree consists of
a piece of significant (most often
original) research making a substantial
contribution to knowledge in that field.
It is expected that such research is
publishable and students are encouraged
to publish during the course of their
PhD. Students undertake PhD studies
under the guidance of a supervisor,
sometimes with one or more
There is no one route to finding
a PhD option or topic. A student may
apply for PhDs advertised by departments
or research institutes or apply generally
to the department, where an early
research proposal may be required
or advised. In many cases it is best
to establish contact with a particular
potential academic supervisor and
gain their support for your research,
and gain their agreement to potentially
act as a supervisor.
Still feel uncertain about which postgrad degree is the best fit for you? Visit the
www.postgradhub.uct.ac.za for more information or contact the UCT
Postgrad Hub
Careers Service (www.careers.uct.ac.za/) to book a one-on-one consultation to
discuss which degree option is best for you.


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