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Master's Programmes

[ Specialisations ]
[ Coursework Master’s Programmes ]
[ Master’s by Dissertation ]
[ Programme Duration ]
[ Selection Criteria ]
[ Closing Date ]
[ Application Procedure ]
[ Frequently Asked Questions ]
[ More Information ]

Specialisations:

The Department of Sociology offers three Master’s degree programmes. These are:

  • MSocSci (Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies)
  • MSocSci (Sociology)
  • MSocSci (Gender Studies)

These programmes are offered in two formats:

  1. a taught coursework programme (one year of coursework and proposal development and six months for finalising a mini-dissertation), or 
  2. by dissertation (one year for proposal development and two more years for finalising the dissertation).

Applicants have to choose both a specialisation (i.e. Gender Studies; Sociology; Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies) as well as the model (i.e. coursework or dissertation).

Coursework master’s programme: 

Our three MSocSci coursework programmes in Gender Studies OR Sociology Or Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies comprise of compulsory modules and optional modules from a preselected list as well as a mini-dissertation.

The mini-dissertation constitutes the research component of all coursework master's degrees and is based on independent research undertaken by the student, under the guidance of a supervisor, on an approved topic. The mini-dissertation constitutes half of the degree and follows on from the coursework which constitutes the other half.   

MSocSci Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies
  • Advanced research methodology (SOC 812)    (30 credits)
  • Mini-Dissertation – Industrial Sociology (SOC 895) (90 credits)

PLUS: Select one of the following:

  • Conflict management in the workplace (SOC 830) (30 credits)
  • Sociology of work and organisations (SOC 862) (30 credits) 

AND: Select one of the following:

  • Globalisation and development (SOC 857)  (30 credits)
  • Conflict management in the workplace (SOC 830) (30 credits)
  • Sociology of South Africa (SOC 858) (30 credits)
  • Identity, culture and society (SOC 859) (30 credits) 
  • Gender, family and households (SOC 861) (30 credits)
  • Sociology of work and organisations (SOC 862) (30 credits) 
MSocSci (Sociology)
  • Advanced research methodology (SOC 812) (30 credits)
  • Mini-Dissertation – Sociology (SOC 895) (90 credits)

 PLUS: Select ONE of the following:

  • Globalisation and development (SOC 857) (30 credits)
  • Identity, culture and society (SOC 859) (30 credits) 

AND: Select one of the following:

  • Globalisation and development (SOC 857) (30 credits)
  • Conflict management in the workplace (SOC 830) (30 credits)
  • Sociology of South Africa (SOC 858) (30 credits)
  • Identity, culture and society (SOC 859) (30 credits) 
  • Gender, family and households (SOC 861) (30 credits)
  • Sociology of work and organisations (SOC 862) (30 credits) 
  • Gender studies (GNR 852) (30 credits)
MSocSci (Gender Studies)
  • Advanced research methodology (SOC 812) (30 credits)
  • Mini-Dissertation – Gender Studies (SOC 895) (90 credits)

PLUS: Select one of the following:

  • Gender studies (GNR 852) (30 credits)
  • Gender, family and households (SOC 861) (30 credits)

AND: Select one of the following:

  • Globalisation and development (SOC 857) (30 credits)
  • Conflict management in the workplace (SOC 830) (30 credits)
  • Sociology of South Africa (SOC 858) (30 credits)
  • Identity, culture and society (SOC 859) (30 credits) 
  • Gender, family and households (SOC 861) (30 credits)
  • Sociology of work and organisations (SOC 862) (30 credits) 
  • Gender studies (GNR 852) (30 credits)

Master’s by dissertation programme:

 

Students have to register for an M Soc Sci by dissertation degree in one of the three specialisations:

  • SOC 890 Dissertation: Sociology
  • SOC 892 Dissertation: Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies
  • SOC 891 Dissertation: Gender Studies

A full research dissertation, based on independent research done by the student on an approved topic in the discipline, is written under the guidance of a supervisor. Students have to register for one of three specialisations:

Duration: 

  • The duration of the coursework master’s programme is 18 months, but we do allow students to submit the mini-dissertation no later than at the end of 24 months.
  • The duration of the master’s by dissertation programme is a maximum of 36 months.

Selection criteria: 

  • Master’s in Sociology: An honours degree in Sociology or a directly related field with an average of 70% is required for students selecting to do a master's degree in Sociology.
  • Master’s in Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies: An honours degree in Industrial Sociology or a directly related field with an average of 70% is required for students selecting to do a master's degree in Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies.
  • Master’s in Gender Studies: An honours degree in Gender Studies or a related field in the social sciences or humanities with an average of 70% is required for admission to a master’s degree in Gender Studies.
  • As we have a limited number of placements on offer every year, prospective students who meet the minimum criteria stated above are interviewed by the Postgraduate Committee. (In some cases, a telephonic interview will be arranged).
  • Where students have not yet completed their honours degrees, they will be invited for interviews if they have achieved the required average for modules in the first semester. If successful, such applicants will be granted provisional acceptance, pending their final results.
  • The Department of Sociology conducts postgraduate interviews in the last week of September, October, November and January.
  • Students may be admitted to the programme on condition that they take additional modules to prepare them adequately for their specialisation.
  • Students may be required to submit a qualifying essay, or sit for an examination.
  • If you want to check that your application has been received by the Student Client Services, please contact: +27 (0)12 420 4111 or [email protected].
  • If you want to track the progress of your application in the Sociology department, please contact Ms Rosa Da Costa-Bezuidenhout at +27 (0)12 420 2330 or [email protected].

Closing date:

  • We accept applications from the beginning of September until the end of January Eevery year. However, we have a limited number of placements on offer each year, so early applicants have a better chance of securing a place.
  • International students should endeavour to apply early in September or as soon as possible thereafter so as to have adequate time to arrange for the required visa’s, because it is a requirement that students attend courses from the outset.

Application procedure:

  • Follow this link and print out an application form: http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=34
  • Complete this form. 
  • Attach to this form the following documents:
    • A short curriculum vitae
    • A full academic transcript of all years of tertiary study at all institutions attended.
    • A two-page outline of your research topic (only students interested in the master’s by dissertation option)
    • A copy of your honours research paper (only students interested in the master’s by dissertation option)
    • SAQA accreditation (only applicable to International Students)
    • (Please note, we do not require copies of your degree certificates at this point)
    • Letter of Intent
  • Submit this set of documents either directly to the Client Services Centre on campus or by mail.
    • Physical address: Client Services Centre, University of Pretoria, Corner Lynnwood and Roper street, Hatfield, Pretoria. 
    • Postal address: Client Services Centre, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, 0028, South Africa.
  • Once we receive you application, your application will serve before the departmental postgraduate committee for consideration. If you meet the minimum requirements and you have submitted all the required documents, you will be invited for an interview.  (In some cases, we may be able to arrange a telephonic interview).
  • The Department of Sociology conduct postgraduate interviews in the last week of September, October, November and January.
  • If you want to check that your application has been received by the Client Services Centre, please contact: +27 (0)12 420 4111 or [email protected]
  • If you want to track the progress of your application in the  Sociology department, please contact Ms Rosa Da Costa-Bezuidenhout at +27 (0)12 420 2330 or [email protected]

More information:

Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions below.
If you need additional information contact Dr Malehoko Tshoaedi at [email protected] or +27 (0)12 420 4366.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

I am unsure as to whether I should enrol for the master’s by coursework or by dissertation. What is the difference?

Most of the leading international universities offer master’s programmes by coursework because these allow students access to high calibre teaching from experts in the field coupled with a structured programme, thereby ensuring that students establish strong foundations in the field in which they are specialising. In general, the master’s by coursework is intense and fast-paced, but it has the advantage that you leave with a solid qualification in 18 months, and that you have the experience of independent research together with exposure to current theoretical debates in the field.  In addition, the master’s by coursework programme is designed around the experience of intimate learning in small groups, where there is a considerable amount of peer support.

The master’s by dissertation, on the other hand, is a programme particularly suited to people who feel that they already have a strong foundation in the field in which they plan to specialise, and who have a clear idea of the research problem they want to explore in their study. In addition, this programme suits those who prefer to produce their own structure rather than to adapt to the structure of a taught programme. Students on a master’s by dissertation programme generally receive input only from their supervisor and need to be able to work independently in order to ensure completion. We do have evidence that students take long to complete the master’s by dissertation and that some students do not complete.  The master’s by dissertation programme does, however, allow for more in depth research on a specific topic. Of course, this programme is the only option for students who are unable to attend classes.

In terms of status, there is no difference between the two degrees. Both lead on to the doctorate for students who have performed well, and both degrees are suitable for academic and non-academic career trajectories. In some cases, there is more funding available for master’s by dissertation programmes, because these are purely research-based degrees.

If I decide to enrol for one of the master’s by coursework programmes, will I be able to attend since I am working full time? When are lectures offered?

Lectures are usually offered on weekday evenings from 17:30 to 20:00.

I can only start the master’s programme mid-year. Is that allowed?

Unfortunately, we cannot accept students mid-year. If you are interested in pursuing master’s studies, we encourage students to use the time before the start of the next academic year to read up in their field of interest, and to submit their application for studies for the following year between September and November.

I do not meet the minimum requirement of 70% for my honours. What should I do?

If you fall below a 70% average, we strongly recommend that you consider redoing your honours in Sociology, Industrial Sociology or Gender Studies  or a cognate field.  A mark range below 70% indicates that you are not adequately prepared for the demands of master’s study.

I am an international student. I have been told that I need a SAQA certificate. Why do I need this and how do I go about acquiring it?

A SAQA certificate is issued by the South African Qualifications Authority. Such a certificate certifies each of the thousands of international qualifications that exists and interprets these in relation to the South African qualifications framework. It is therefore necessary to obtain such a certificate to ensure that applicants are given access to the correct level of study. SAQA certification can be obtained online or by hard copy submission. Details can be found on the South African Qualification Authority’s web site: http://www.saqa.org.za/show.asp?include=docs/brochures/ceeq-main.htm

I am interested in doing a master’s in Gender studies, but I already have a master’s degree in another discipline. Can I do another master’s degree?

Yes, you can. But bear in mind that if you did well enough in your master’s (i.e. achieved at least 70% in your core modules), and if your master’s is in a field that is broadly aligned with the social sciences or humanities, we may consider admitting you to a D Phil in Sociology with specialisation in Gender Studies, provided that you take one or two taught modules at the master’s level in addition.  In that case, simply indicate on your application for that the D Phil (Sociology with specialisation in Gender Studies) is your 1st choice and the MSocSci (Gender Studies) your 2nd choice.

I am nervous about the interview. What can I expect to be asked and how should I prepare?

Interviews are generally quite informal. Expect to meet between three and four staff members. We use the interview as an opportunity to get to know you better. What we would like to know from you in particular is what makes you interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in your chosen field. We would also like to get a sense of your undergraduate and honours training. What did you learn; which of the courses you did you enjoy most; why is that? Because the master’s programme requires of students to do independent research, we would like to talk to you about your interests and whether there are particular topics or themes that you are interested in doing research on.  Finally, the interview provides you with the opportunity to get to know the department and some of the teaching staff. It is also a good place to find out if what the programme offers matches your expectations.

I need a bursary. Can you assist?

The university has a centralised merit bursary scheme. All postgraduate students are automatically entered into the system. Top performers receive the merit bursary, which is usually only paid out by September of the year of study.  The cut-off point for the bursary varies from year to year, but students with an average of 70% and above stand a good chance. Please note that students who already hold an master’s degree are not eligible for this bursary.  For more details: http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=7724

There are a number of agencies and institutes that offer postgraduate bursaries at MA level. The most important of these are the National Research Foundation. Often one can only apply for these bursaries once you have a research proposal in place. Also see the following link for external bursaries:  http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=7723

I need student financing. Can you assist?

Student loans and other financial arrangements are dealt with by the university administration. Please consult the relevant web site for more information: http://web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=7724

What are the possibilities for a tutorship appointment or part-time work in the department?

We do have a tutor programme in our department and we welcome applications. The availability of position depends on funding, though. Please indicate to us when you come for an interview that you are interested in a tutorship, student assistant work or general part time work. Once you have received confirmation that you have been accepted into the programme, you can also send an email directly to our Departmental Administrator, Ms Rosa Da Costa-Bezuidenhout at [email protected]

I have been unsuccessful in my application. What should I do if I still want to pursue postgraduate studies with UP Sociology?

If you have not been successful, you may consider applying for master’s programmes both inside the university and at other universities where different entry requirements apply. Should you do well in such a master’s degree, you can re-apply to UP Sociology for a D Phil or a second master’s degree. Alternatively, you can consider enrolling for an honours in sociology again, both at UP or at another institution. If you achieve a 70% average, you can re-apply for the master’s. (Prospective Gender Studies students who do not meet the entry requirements can consider redoing their honours in a related field – but it is best to do so in consultation with us, so that we can indicate which fields will be most helpful in preparing you for a master’s programme in Gender Studies. Please contact Dr Malehoko Tshoaedi at [email protected]).

For further queries about Master’s programmes, contact  Dr Malehoko Tshoaedi at [email protected] or 012 420 4366.
 

- Author Mariana Pietersen
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