Yearbooks

Programme: MPhil Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (Coursework)

Code Faculty Duration Credits Download
04251023 Faculty of Law Minimum duration of study: 1 year Total credits: 200
Contact:
Prof UM Killander
[email protected]
+27 (0)124205407

Programme information

Closing date:  31 July

A limited number of up to 10 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.

For admission to the MPhil programme, students must have completed an Honours degree (at a South African University) or a degree allowing study at the Master’s level in a discipline related to human rights and democratisation (in respect of non-South African universities). 

Applicants must submit fully completed applications to the Centre for Human Rights by 30 July every year. 

In addition to the general admission requirements, the following specific selection criteria are used in combination to select the eligible students:

  1. a demonstrated professional, academic and personal interest in and commit-ment to human rights and democratisation in Africa;
  2. 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’);
  3. 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);
  4. gender representation (in the sense that an equitable balance between women and men is sought);
  5. 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 30 July of a particular year, are processed and considered by the MPhil Programme Manager and Head of Research of the Centre, who identify a number of eligible candidates three times the available positions. 

The Assistant Director of the Centre identifies a number of candidates twice the number of available positions.

Each of these applicants is then contacted and required to write an essay within a restricted time period (for example, 24 hours) of being given the topic. The Head of Research and Director of the Centre assess these essays. 

On the basis of all the assessments, including the essay, the Chair of the Council of Directors of the MPhil Programme, who is a representative of one of the partner faculties, scrutinises the applications and makes a recommendation on the pre-selected students. 

A final selection is made by the full Admissions Committee, consisting of the Chair of the Council of Directors of the MPhil Programme (if available), the Director of the Centre for Human Rights, the Assistant Director of the Centre for Human Rights, the MPhil Programme Manager and the Head of Research, Centre for Human Rights.

The curriculum will generally consist of:

  • Six modules which are compulsory and has to be completed during the first year of registration.
  • A module in research methodology (NRM 801 – 5 credits) (this module must be completed during the first year of registration).
  • A research proposal (RHP 803 – 5 credits). The student must submit the research proposal to the supervisor no later than the end of the first semester of the second year of registration for the degree, prior to commencing with the writing of the mini-dissertation. This period may be extended with the approval of the head of department.
  • A mini-dissertation. The 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/MPhil 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.

Admission requirements

For admission to the MPhil programme, students must have completed an Honours degree (at a South African University) or a degree allowing study at the Master’s level in a discipline related to human rights and democratisation (in respect of non-South African universities).

Applicants must submit fully completed applications to the Centre for Human Rights by 30 July every year.

Other programme-specific information

The mini-dissertation must comprise 18 000-20 000 words – including footnotes but excluding the list of contents and the bibliography. (The methodology and content of the mini-dissertation should reflect a multidisciplinary perspective on human rights.)

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.

Research information

Contact the programme coordinator: Prof M Killander.

General information

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%.

The duration of the programme will be completed within two semesters (1 year). This study programmes is structured to allow for only one year of study. 

Minimum credits: 250

Core modules

  • Module content:

    During the second semester of the programme, students follow prescribed academic modules at the universities to which they are allocated and undertake internships with human rights organisations if so required.

    View more

  • Module content:

    In this module, the principles and practice of international criminal law are discussed; students also undertake a visit to and report on the situation in a selected African state where they are exposed to the practical application of human rights, democratisation or international criminal law.

     

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module examines the nature of the state and problems associated with state-building and constitutional change in Africa; provides an introduction to constitutionnal concepts such as the separation of powers, federalism and decentralisation, and their application to Africa; and examines the causes of and remedies for conflict in Africa.

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module provides an overview of the human rights norms, institutions and processes of the African Union, with a focus on the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

    View more

  • Module content:

    In this module, introductory human rights concepts are examined; the human rights systems under the United Nations, Council of Europe and the Organisation of American States and some selected national law systems are also analysed.

    View more

  • Module content:

    (a) The student must submit a research proposal during his/her first year of registration for the LLM degree to the supervisor prior to commencing with the writing of the mini-dissertation.
    (b) A mini-dissertation (MND 802) of 18 000 to 20 000 words inclusive of footnotes but excluding the list of contents and the bibliography, is required. The mini-dissertation must be submitted to the study leader not later than August of the second year of registration for the LLM programme. The 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 Dean on recommendation of the LLM Committee.

    View more

  • Module content:

    In this module, the focus is on aspects of human rights research, fact finding, advocacy and education.

    View more

  • Module content:

    Development and presentation of a research  proposal. (A research proposal must be submitted to the supervisor and accepted in the first semester of the second year of study  before the student will be allowed to register for the mini-dissertation.)

    View more

  • Module content:

    This module provides an introductory overview of the South African Bill of Rights and constitutional litigation and analyses some selected rights in more depth within a comparative African constitutional context.

    View more


The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of each student to familiarise himself or herself well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2019. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share