Programme: MCom (Industrial Psychology) (Coursework)

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Code Faculty Department
07250148 Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences Department: Human Resource Management
Credits Duration NQF level
Minimum duration of study: 1 year Total credits: 180 NQF level:  09
Mrs C Smit
[email protected]
+27 (0)829762853

Programme information

The MCom (Industrial Psychology) is a master’s programme accredited by the Professional Board of Psychology of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The programme entails seven modules of coursework presented over at least four block weeks during the first year of study and a mini-dissertation. For registration as an industrial psychologist students need to complete an internship.

Additional requirements

A candidate may be refused admission to a master’s degree by the Department of Human Resource Management Postgraduate Selection Committee if the student does not comply with the standard of competence in the module as determined by the Department of Human Resource Management – with the proviso that a candidate who does not comply may be admitted, provided that the student completes additional study assignments and/or examinations.

The number of applicants admitted to the programme is limited by supervisory capacity and the availability of research projects in the field of specialisation in the Department of Human Resource Management.

The number of students admitted in the programme will be determined by the growth strategy of the University of Pretoria as approved by the Executive.

Allowance will be made for the diversity profile of students.

Other programme-specific information

Refer to General Academic Regulation G39.

The pass mark for both a dissertation and a mini-dissertation is 50%. The provisions regarding pass requirements for dissertations, contained in G39, apply mutatis mutandis to mini-dissertations. A pass mark of at least 50% is required in the examination of each module.

The research component of the degree contributes 50% toward the total requirements for the degree. The research component is represented by the Research in Practice module and the mini-dissertation. The degree programme requires that a mini-dissertation/research article must be submitted in a field of study chosen from the fields covered for the honours degree, provided that the Dean may, on the recommendation of the relevant head of department, approve the replacement of the required dissertation by the successful completion of a prescribed number of module credits and a mini-dissertation/research article. Information on modules, credits and syllabi is available, on request, from the relevant head of department.

A module in Research Methodology is compulsory in all programmes. The Dean may, on the recommendation of the relevant head of department, waive the prerequisites. In this case, the Research in Practice (IPS 806) will replace the Research Methodology module.

Pass with distinction

In order to be awarded the degree with distinction, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • obtain an overall weighted average of at least 75% according to module credits and obtain at least 75% in the mini-dissertation
  • complete the degree within the minimum prescribed period.

Only the final mark of the first attempt to pass the modules or dissertation will be considered;
The overall weighted average or GPA (according to course credits) will not be rounded up to a whole number.

Minimum credits: 180

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Students will design, conduct and evaluate research in talent management in the management of human resources; they will design, facilitate and monitor the implementation of talent management practices; as an internal or external consultant they will appreciate the complexity of behaviour in the workplace; they will combine theoretical knowledge with practical examples and provide guidelines on talent management as a decision science.

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  • Module content:

    Students will understand advanced principles underlying human behaviour, and communicate them in written and oral form to a range of audiences. The module is offered in three different parts:

    Part 1: Professional Practice 

    Students will develop in-depth knowledge and reflexive understanding of the roles of professional industrial psychologists as well as the possible unintended consequences of their practices. The requirements for ethical conduct, role expectations in collaborating with other health care professionals and the need for continuous professional development are accentuated.

    Part 2: Work-Related Psychopathology 

    Students will develop advanced knowledge of the signs and symptoms of individual or group dysfunction in order to diagnose workplace related psychopathology (e.g. stress and burnout) and identify possible general psychopathology (e.g. depression, psychological trauma) for timeous referral or intervention. Students will develop a critical understanding of the physical and psychological health challenges that impact employee well-being.

    Part 3: Career Psychology

    Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of different career coaching interventions, including life skills and career development principles. The module emphasizes the complexities of the South African context and indigenous knowledge systems in the development of life skills and careers.

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  • Module content:

    Students will develop a critical understanding of the use of psychological assessments in the field of Industrial Psychology and the ability to apply this in the work context with regard to career advancement, personal development, recruitment and selection. They will cultivate an understanding of ethical conduct and be capable of a responsible appraisal of psychological assessment tools that comply with South African conditions and legislation. Students will be able to develop assessment centres to meet the performance needs of contemporary organisations.
    Students will develop an in-depth knowledge of different career coaching interventions, including life skills and career development principles. The module emphasizes the complexities of the South African context and indigenous knowledge systems in the development of life skills and careers.

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  • Module content:

    Students will acquire an in-depth understanding of ethical principles in relation to the various roles that industrial psychologists perform and how to apply these principles in the workplace. They will be able to critically evaluate ethical dilemmas, be articulate about the ethical principles that guide the profession and ensure conformance with the standards of moral conduct of the profession and the clients they serve.

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  • Module content:

    Students will be knowledgeable about psychological theories of change in individuals and groups. They will build and communicate their own mental models of a changing post-modern society and of the organization as change territory. They will integrate this knowledge to develop suitable frameworks to facilitate change interventions and manage the dynamics of change in contemporary organisations. Students will be able to critically appraise and articulate the intended benefits and possible unintended consequences of a change intervention to different audiences.

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  • Module content:

    Students will be knowledgeable about different theories of culture and understand the principles underlying cross-cultural psychological practices in South African organisations. They will be able to integrate this knowledge to solve problems related to cross-cultural issues. They will know the issues that are detrimental in a cross-cultural work context (i.e. stereotyping, ethnocentrism, bias). They will demonstrate social awareness of cross-cultural issues. They will apply basic cross-cultural counselling skills in a diverse context.

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  • Module content:

    Part 1: Research design and proposal development
    Students will design a suitable research project by developing a research proposal commencing with the background, the problem statement and the purpose of the proposed study. An integrated and in-depth literature review follows, demonstrating academic scholarship in the field of study and the student’s ability to reflect critically on their own and others’ research. They will develop research questions or hypotheses and justify an appropriate methodology for the study. The proposal will include ethical considerations and  the criteria for ethical conduct in doing research, adhering to UP’s Code of ethics for scholarly activities (S4755/12). Students will present their proposals to a panel of members of D-HRM. Students will follow the APA guidelines in their academic writing.

    Part 2: Qualitative research
    Students will be proficient in advanced qualitative research methods, and knowledgeable of the relevant paradigms, designs, sampling procedures, data collection and analysis methods as well as the criteria for quality and rigour. Students will demonstrate reflexivity in applying these by conducting a qualitative research project of limited scope in which they justify their methodological choices.

    Part 3: Quantitative research
    Students will be proficient in quantitative research methods and the relevant paradigms, research designs, sampling procedures and data collection methods. They will be able to select and apply appropriate statistical models for different types of designs and justify their choices in line with the specific purpose of the study and data requirements. They will develop a practical ability to analyse data using SPSS and AMOS.

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  • Module content:

    The research component (Industrial Psychology mini-dissertation) can be completed after the successful completion of IPS 806. It needs to be submitted for examination by 30 September in Year 2. In line with the proposal developed as part of IPS 806, students will conduct their research study by collecting, analysing and interpreting their findings in a scholarly manner, demonstrating a critical engagement with related academic work. They should also discuss the limitations of their study, its practical implications and its academic contribution. The findings will be communicated in the form of a mini-dissertation, following APA guidelines.

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The regulations and rules for the degrees published here are subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information.

The General Academic Regulations (G Regulations) and General Student Rules apply to all faculties and registered students of the University, as well as all prospective students who have accepted an offer of a place at the University of Pretoria. On registering for a programme, the student bears the responsibility of ensuring that they familiarise themselves with the General Academic Regulations applicable to their registration, as well as the relevant faculty-specific and programme-specific regulations and information as stipulated in the relevant yearbook. Ignorance concerning these regulations will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression, or basis for an exception to any of the aforementioned regulations.

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