How to Study Master and PhD in South Africa

If you decided to pursue studies and obtain a postgraduate degree, this would be your guide to how to study master and PhD in South Africa.

How to Apply for a Master Degree in South Africa?

Each university in South Africa has its own system on its website. It allows its future students to register in their degree programs. So, once you choose your university, you can register by following the instructions to apply for the programs you want to study.

Here are some basic requirements you will need to apply :

Check the top universities in South Africa.

Basic Requirements

  • Scan of official transcripts
  • Record of previous courses
  • Scan of passport and/or birth certificate
  • C.V.
  • Testing scores
  • Proof of funding
  • Recommendation letters
  • Portfolio and/or writing samples

English Language Tests

To apply for studying in South Africa, you will need to submit proof that you have a diploma for your English proficiency. In general, the accepted certificates in South Africa are TOEFL and IELTS.

However, you have always to check the website of your university to make sure of the exact requirements.

Course Duration

Most of the master programs are assessed through a number of study courses and the research dissertation.

Usually, the programs last from one to two years. Some degrees are assessed by research dissertation only and usually require two years to complete. If the programs include exams, they will be conducted in June and November at the end of each semester.

The academic year in South Africa consists of two semesters. The first extends from early February to early June and the second from mid-July to late November.

Tuition Fees

Each university in South Africa determines the tuition fees of its programs. Fees and policies differ from one institution to another.

For the international students should expect fees to range between R25,000 to R70,000 ($1,400-3,700), according to the university and program.

Some specialized programs and MBAs may cost up to R410,000 ($21,500). You may also be required to pay an “international term fee” in addition to the tuition fees, which could reach R50,000 (USD $2,600).

Check the costs of studying and living in South Africa.

PhD Study Requirements in South Africa

To apply for a PhD degree in South Africa, you have to obtain an internationally recognized master degree.

Although you will complete most of the steps online, there are usually other steps before submitting the application, including the following.

Find a Supervisor

When submitting an application for a PhD degree in South Africa, it is common to set an appointment with the academic supervisor and contact him/her before submitting an official application.

The university would want to make sure of the existence of a supervisor in the related field to receive the needed guidance and support for your research. You will also need to have contact with the suitable teaching staff members, which will guide you to a suitable academic.

Supporting Documents

Students may need the following supporting documents before submitting an official application to study a PhD degree.

  • C.V.
  • Motivation letter
  • Research proposal
  • Copies of academic certificates
  • Copy of master dissertation

Official Application and Interviews

After completing the previous steps and the university appoints a supervisor, you can submit an official application online. You may also have to pay non-refundable application fees. These fees may range between R150 and R300.

Once the university review your PhD application, it may invite you for an interview. As an international student, the university may conduct this interview through a video-conferencing platform.

A PhD program in South Africa will take between 2 and 3 years in a full-time study mode. However, a part-time PhD study in South Africa will take you a minimum of 4 years to complete.

Cost of a PhD Degree in South Africa

International students who want to study for a PhD in South Africa have to pay an international service fee of R4,200 along with a registration fee of R6,970.

PhD program fees depend on the type of PhD they undertake, whether it is a thesis only or a PhD by coursework and thesis-type. Moreover, the cost of a PhD in South Africa vary also according to the university and the subject of study. That is how PhD programs in Engineering cost around R31,450 at Wits University while at the University of Cape Town, these fees are averaging at R22,240 per year. PhD’s students in South Africa can apply for scholarships to fund their studies from external organizations or from the universities themselves. Foreign students can otherwise apply for a loan in major South African banks. The last option is to apply for the National Research Foundation (NRF) postgraduate scholarships that are granted for a limited number of international students.

After knowing how to study master and PhD in South Africa, check our article about how to get student accommodation in South Africa.

About Sara

A professional Eng><Ara translator and writer.

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