Closing date for applications: 31 January (may be taken by international students)
A limited number of approximately between 15 and 25 students are selected per year. Depending on the availability of funding, scholarships covering at least tuition, accommodation and official programme activities are covered for as many of these students as possible. Students who do not receive scholarships may be admitted as self-funding students, provided they meet all the minimum criteria below, and provided they guarantee payment of at least all or a significant part of tuition, accommodation and official programme activities, to an amount set by the Centre annually.
As this LLM cycle runs over a two year period, new applicants are only admitted every second year. The programme is presented at the University of the Western Cape in the other alternate years. Applicants must submit fully completed applications to the Centre for Human Rights by 31 January every year, for eligibility to study on a programme starting in June/ July of a particular year.
In addition to the general admission requirements, the following specific selection criteria are used in combination to select the eligible students:
- a demonstrated professional, academic and personal interest in and commitment to international trade and investment law
- an indication that the applicant would be likely to put the qualification to good use in his or her future career, preferably in his or her country of origin (the ‘multiplier effect’);
- geographic representation (in the sense that an overrepresentation of students from a particular African country will be avoided, given the pan-African scope and ambitions of the programme);
- gender representation (in the sense that an equitable balance between women and men is sought);
- equitable representation of persons from vulnerable communities (such as persons with disabilities, persons belonging to indigenous communities and LGBTI persons).
All complete applications, received by 31 January of a particular year, are processed and considered by the LLM programme coordinator, who identifies a number of eligible candidates three times the available positions, for consideration by the Director of the International Development Law Unit (IDLU).
The Director of IDLU presents the suggested candidates to the Director of the Centre for Human Rights and the Assistant Director of the Centre for Human Rights, for their confirmation.
The curriculum will generally consist of:
- Only two modules counting 30 credits each (at least one of these modules must be completed during the first year of registration).
- A module in research methodology (RHP 801) counting 5 credits (this module must be completed during the first year of registration).
- A research proposal (RHP 803) counting 5 credits. The student must submit the research proposal (RHP 803) to the supervisor not later than the end of the first semester of the second year of registration for the LLM degree, prior to commencing with the writing of the mini-dissertation. This period may be extended with the approval of the head of department.
- Mini-dissertation. This mini-dissertation must deal with the subject content of one of the modules or a combination of the modules registered for by the student for his/her LLM degree. Any request for an extension of the period for submission of the mini-dissertation may only be granted by the Postgraduate Committee on recommendation of the head of department.
Also refer to the Postgraduate Brochure for the complete study programme as well as the Postgraduate administrative processes after registration.
In addition to an LLB, BProc or equivalent qualification from a foreign university that allows the applicant entrance to the formal legal profession, the following requirements are set for admission of a prospective student to the LLM Coursework programme:
A minimum average mark of 65% with respect to the prescribed final-year modules of the undergraduate programme is required for admission to an LLM coursework programme.
Where an average of below 65% is achieved, the student may be admitted on recommendation of the relevant head of department after consultation with the programme coordinator and consideration of other merits (eg relevant professional experience; the applicant’s performance in undergraduate modules related to the particular LLM; the candidate’s performance in independent research essays or similar components) and/or an admission examination.
Linguistic competence, primarily in English; foreign applicants who did not complete undergraduate studies through the medium of English must show proof of competence in English at a minimum average level of 6 out of 10 for IELTS or a minimum total score of 83 in TOEFL calculated as follows: reading 21, listening 17, speaking 23 and writing 22. In any other instance where there is doubt as to the English linguistic competence of an applicant, the Dean may require the same proof as prescribed for foreign applicants.
Foreign qualifications are subject to SAQA evaluation. (Some LLM coursework programmes or modules as indicated in the yearbook may only be available to students who hold a relevant South African legal qualification.)
Even though a student may comply with the above requirements, the Dean may, on the recommendation of the head of department presenting a specific degree or module, refuse to accept a prospective student for any LLM programme if such a student's performance in the chosen modules or field of study during undergraduate study was not satisfactory. Alternatively, the Dean could set additional requirements with a view to admission.
An admission examination may also be required in respect of a particular programme or module.
Other programme-specific information
- The mini-dissertation must comprise 23 000 – 25 000 words – including footnotes but excluding the list of contents and the bibliography.
- The examination copies of the mini-dissertation to send out to the external examiners must be submitted to Student Administration not later than the end of October for the Autumn Graduation Ceremony, end of April for the Spring Graduation Ceremony. A final electronic version must be submitted to Student Administration on or before 15 February for the Autumn Graduation Ceremony, 15 July for the Spring Graduation Ceremony after the evaluation of the examination copies of the mini-dissertation to comply with degree requirements.
Examinations and pass requirements
In the event of having failed all modules during a particular year of study, a student will only be allowed to continue with his/her studies with the consent of the Postgraduate Committee.
Although no supplementary examination will be granted with regard to LLM and MPhil modules, the General Regulations and rules apply with regard to special and ancillary examinations.
The relevant head of department must recommend a supervisor and title for a mini-dissertation and these must be approved by the Postgraduate Committee. The mini-dissertation must be assessed and finalised as set out in the Faculty Board-approved LLM/MPhil Policy Document of the Faculty.
Mini-dissertations, where required, must be submitted in the format determined by the supervisor and approved by the Postgraduate Committee. The supervisor may likewise, subject to the approval of the Postgraduate Committee, also determine the research topic and the scope of the proposed research. (Refer to the Faculty of Law regulations regarding mini-dissertations and also Postgraduate administrative processes brochure for the Faculty)
Pass with distinction
For the degree to be awarded with distinction a student must obtain an average of at least 75% for all the coursework modules, as well as a minimum of 75% for the mini-dissertation. The modules must have been written for the first time.
Language of tuition
The medium of instruction will be English.
Re-registration for modules
A student may not register more than twice for the same module. In order to pass a module the student must obtain a final mark of 50%.
Period of registration
The duration of the programme will in general be four semesters (2 years) but may be completed within two semesters (1 year) where possible, subject to fulfilment of all the requirements for the degree and payment of the full amount prescribed for the MPhil degree. Programmes may also be structured to allow for one year of study only. The one- or two-year period may only be extended by the Postgraduate Committee on recommendation of the Head of Department based on good reason shown and if it is clear that the student will be able to complete the programme in a further year of study.