Academic Master's & Doctorate in Psychology

This page is relevant to the Application Process and Ethics and Research Proposal Process of the Academic Master's and Doctorate in Psychology.


The Academic Master's (MA) and Doctorate (PhD) degrees consist of a research project reported in the format of a dissertation in the case of the MA Psychology or a thesis in the case of the PhD Psychology. A general rule about the difference between the two is that for the MA, one should show that you are able to plan, manage, execute and report on an empirical research project. For the PhD a contribution to the field of psychology should be made. Click here for more information on the differences between a mini-dissertation, dissertation and doctorate thesis.


1.  Formal Admission Requirements
For the Master's (MA Psychology) degree students are required to have obtained an honours degree with a minimum of 60% average mark. The Master's degree is awarded upon successful completion of a full-length dissertation (see the Faculty of Humanities yearbook for further requirements).  Students are encouraged to complete the MA degree within two years. 
For the doctoral degree, (PhD Psychology), students are required to have obtained a recognised masters degree in psychology with a minimum mark of 65%. The doctoral degree is awarded upon successful completion of a full-length thesis and oral defence of the thesis (see the Faculty of Humanities yearbook for further requirements).  Students are encouraged to complete the PhD degree within three years.
You can peruse the department's research programmes and topics and are welcome to email lecturers for more information on their thematic research areas.
Documents and Forms:
2.  International Students
International students are welcome and encouraged to apply at the Department of Psychology. However, all international students need to have their qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) before applying to the University of Pretoria for either the Academic MA or Doctoral programmes. Please go to for more information. The SAQA certificate indicates qualification equivalency and should be submitted with your qualification record below.
3.  Compulsory Online Application Process
Prospective students are required to apply to the University of Pretoria via the Online Application page for admission from middle March and before 30 November of each year for the following year. An application fee needs to be paid and is non-refundable. Your departmental application cannot be considered if you did not apply online. Current UP students need to apply via their Student Centre for Internal Applications.
4.  Departmental Application and Concept Proposal Submission
Complete the following documents and email to the Psychology Departmental Rescom at  [email protected]:
Forms and Documents:
e.  Complete Academic Record (you need to submit this)
f.   SAQA Certificate if an international student (you need to submit this)
NB: Applications close 30 November annually and all UP online applications, as well as the Departmental Applications, need to be finalised before the deadline.
The ResCom will acknowledge receipt of documents and if you do not receive a confirmation email you have to follow up. 
All applications go through a selection process depending on the availability of a supervisor, the suitability of their proposed topic as well as the quality of the concept proposal. Supervisors can only take a limited number of students per year and expect students to fit into research programmes pursued in the department. There is one selection committee meeting per year (during Nov/Dec) to evaluate the applications and assign students who have been accepted to specific supervisors. 
Click here to visit the library's "Research Guide" Page for research assistance 
5.  Allocation of Supervisor and Course Registration
The department will inform you by means of a letter regarding the outcome of your application. If successful you will also receive the detail of your supervisor and instructions (usually during December and January). You have to register for your degree via your Student Centre (usually before end of March).  Should you experience problems with your registration, visit the Humanities Student Administration in the IT Building, Room 2-9.  Inform your supervisor that you are registered by emailing your proof of registration to him/her and copy the Departmental ResCom on [email protected] and make an appointment for your first contact session with your supervisor.
6.  Preparation of Research Proposals
As soon as you’ve met your supervisor (usually within two weeks of being allocated a supervisor), you can start developing your proposal on the official Departmental Proposal Template. The Template has guidelines and needs to read in conjunction with the Reader Evaluation Form which guides you about the information required. You and your supervisor collaborate on the proposal until the supervisor is satisfied that you can go to the next step. All students need to complete the Memorandum of Understanding for Academic Supervision (link below) within two months of their registrations.
Forms and documents:
7.  Reader Evaluation
Your supervisor sends your proposal to the Departmental Research Committee (ResCom). They allocate two readers who have to complete the Reader Evaluation Form within 2 weeks and send it back to ResCom. You and your supervisor receive the readers’ comments and you have to make changes and indicate how you have addressed reviewers’ comments on the Reader Evaluation Form. This is then sent back to ResCom who distributes the replies to the original readers. They indicate their decision on the form and if positive you may proceed to the next step.
8.  Presentation of Proposal
The department has allocated two days in the year to proposal presentations where you, staff, and postgraduate students attend. You have to present a powerpoint of at least 5 minutes whereafter the two readers respond and the audience also can make suggestions or comments. If there are comments you get an opportunity to incorporate suggestions in your proposal after the meeting. 
9.  Final Approval by ResCom and Submission to Faculty ResEthics
You and your supervisor get a final notice about the outcome of the presentation. If approved you prepare and submit all documents (proposal, permission letters, consent letters, instruments and the memorandum of understanding) on the online Faculty system. Faculty ResEthics committee sits once a month to consider proposals/ethical applications. You and your supervisor will be advised of the outcome and if necessary asked to make required changes.
Forms to be uploaded and information:
b.  Approved proposal
d.  Consent forms
e.  Permission letters
Enquiries:  Departmental Research Committee
Contact Megan Redgard for more information on the ethics and proposal process at [email protected]
Student Administration of the Faculty:
For University regulations, academic registration forms, or to get assistance with the online applications please contact the Student Support Centre on [email protected]
Published by Juanita Haug

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