Master of Education in the Rhodes University Education Department


Master of Education Options

The MEd can be obtained in different ways at Rhodes University.


Option 1: Full Research

This option requires writing a full Master’s level thesis on an approved topic. Depending on the research focus you chose you will either join a research programme with formal contact sessions or work independently with your supervisor. We do not offer distance education options at Rhodes so even without formal contact sessions, you are expected to spend time at Rhodes University working with your supervisor, peers and in the library.


Option 2: Research by coursework and half thesis

This option is not currently offered and would need to be negotiated between the Specialisation Coordinator and the Head of Department at Rhodes.


Option 3: Research by coursework and research portfolio

This option is not currently on offer at Rhodes.


Duration of Degree

The degree may be completed in one year with full-time registration or over two years with part-time registration.


Curriculum Design

Depending on the research option and the specialism you chose you will either attend approximately 40 days of formal block contact sessions (spread over one or two years) or work independently with your supervisor.

ADDITIONALLY, all candidates for the degree are required to attend a course in research design aimed at preparing them to conduct a research programme and analyse and report the results. Exemptions may be considered if candidates have previously completed a similar course.


Publication Expectations

It is expected that a paper from the thesis will be prepared for publication.


Admission Requirements

Normally candidates will only be admitted to a Master of Education degree if they hold at least a NQF Exit Level 8 qualification (i.e. a Bachelor Education Honours degree OR an appropriate 480 credit Professional Bachelor’s degree (for example, a Bachelor of Psychology degree) OR a relevant Honours degree OR a Postgraduate Diploma for a cognate Master of Education degree programme, as long as it meets the HEQSF research requirements of at least 30 credits. 

An MEd candidate is required to have access to a laptop or computer and stable internet connection.

Please note that the Namibian BEd Honours degree is an NQF Level 7 qualification which does not permit admission to a Master of Education degree.  

In exceptional cases, candidates may be admitted as Ad Eundem Gradum students as set out in the University rules (G.49).

More detail about the Master of Education degree and AEG applications can be found by referring to the most recent Rhodes University Calendar for details.


Take note: MEd application for the academic year 2023 has been closed. We are pleased to announce that the MEd application for the academic year 2024 is now open. The deadline for submission of applications is November 15th, 2023. We encourage all interested and eligible candidates to submit their applications before the deadline.


This degree may be undertaken in any approved field of educational research, depending on the availability of supervisory staff. Currently, the Education Department can supervise studies with the following research foci:


Education Leadership and Management (Contact person: Prof Callie Grant -

Our research and supervision focus on educational leadership and management. Of particular interest is the development of leadership amongst teachers, learners, school board members, school management teams and other stakeholders. Students are invited to conduct research with a focus on leadership development and we particularly privilege studies, which are interventionist in design. Theoretically, we draw on cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) as a framework for analyzing leadership development because of its interventionist methodology, and because it is a practice-based and future-oriented theory, which aims to transform social conditions. Our students generally come from educational contexts and hold various positions such as teachers, heads of department, principals and departmental officials. The ability to act as an independent reflexive researcher and critical thinker who can contribute to knowledge production and bring about transformation and development of leadership practices is promoted.

Please take note: No intake in 2022 from South Africa, only intake is from Namibia for 2022. 


English Language Teaching  ( Contact  person:  Prof Nhlanhla Mpofu- )

Our research and supervision focus on the three disciplines under the broader field of English Studies: Language, Literature and Culture, Communication and Media. Our scholarly work engages critically with theoretical, philosophical, and research-based study of the English Studies field, and the implications for teaching, research, curriculum design and assessment, both within schooling and higher education contexts. The debates characterising and informing different approaches to thinking about what it means to teach English in the 21st century, on the one hand, and in multilingual, multicultural, and multiracial contexts, on the other hand, form the basis for our work.


Environmental Education (Contact person: Professor  Lausanne Olvit - )

We have the capacity to supervise environmental education/Education for Sustainable Development research focusing on transformative and social learning and the evaluation of EE/ESE programmes in relation to a diversity of learning contexts (workplaces, school and post-school education, government and non-government environmental programmes, and informal and community-based contexts). Our students come from a variety of fields including teachers with various subject specialisms, lecturers and other adult educators, curriculum or resource developers, journalists, writers, researchers, conservationists, development workers, and social learning facilitators. This research focus is supervised through the staff of the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC). Read more about the master’s degree and our research programmes.


Geography Education (Contact person: Professor Di Wilmot –

Our research and supervision focus on geography teacher education and school geography curriculum and pedagogy. The research agenda is driven by the need for geography education to re-orientate to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in response to the global socio-ecological crisis of the 21st century. Our scholarly work engages with geographical knowledge and change-oriented active learning pedagogical approaches. Our students include teachers, teacher educators, education development officers.


Mathematics Education (Contact person: Professor Marc Shafer – )

The focus of our research in the SARChI Mathematics Education Chair is on interrogating and understanding of the use of visualisation processes in the teaching and learning of mathematics in Southern Africa. The rationale for research in this field arises out of the identified need that quality mathematics classrooms and therefore good mathematics teaching is key to transforming mathematics education in Southern Africa. For more information on research and projects please visit the SARChI Mathematics Education Chair website.


Primary Education (Contact person: Dr Lise Westaway –

Recent concerns about the quality of teaching and learning, in South Africa and internationally, has given rise to a new research interest in primary education. This research interest focuses specifically, but not exclusively, on Early Childhood Development. The significance of this niche area is to examine and ascertain the knowledge required of parents, teachers, government officials, pre-service teachers and teacher educators in order to promote quality primary education. 

Research in this field will contribute to national and international research on quality pedagogy, curriculum, and national policy. 

Research in this field can be conducted as either a full thesis or a coursework/half thesis option


Science Education (Contact person: Mr Kavish Jawahar -

Our current Science Education research supervision expertise revolves around the following: incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge into Science Education; building on learners’ prior knowledge in science; the use of practical activities to enhance science education; addressing the challenge of language/multiliteracy in science education; and exploring science discourse and curriculum knowledge. Some theories that we have drawn on in our recent science education research include Systemic Functional Linguistics, Legitimation Code Theory, Pedagogy of Multiliteracies, Sociocultural Theory, and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.


Numeracy (Contact person: Professor Melony Graven –

All our students participate in research projects related to various development projects that are inscribed within the South African Numeracy Chair project’s Research and Development brief. For example after-school maths clubs, in-service teacher development programmes and in-service teaching, and pre-service teacher education.


Information and Communication Technology (ICT)(Contact person: Dr Clement Simuja-

This multi-disciplinary programme brings together theories, experiences and knowledge from a wide range of fields to explore the ways in which the use of ICT (computing)  support/ enhance/ transform a wide variety of teaching and learning goals as well as administrative and schooling environment. 



Applications need to be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. Full transcripts of previous degrees (unless they are Rhodes University degrees).

    NB! If you are applying with a qualification from a non-South African university, you will need to acquire a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) equivalence certificate to prove at what level your degree can be recognised in a South African University. Visit the SAQA website and follow instructions for ‘evaluation of foreign qualifications’ 

  2. If the transcript from your latest qualification does not include a comment on ‘conduct’ you will need to submit a separate certificate of conduct from the institution. 
  3. An abbreviated CV, highlighting the areas which are of relevance to the proposed study
  4. A two-page motivation covering the following information:

i)   What will be the focus of your research?

ii)  Where will you conduct this research and why?

iii) Who else has researched on this, when, and where, and what are their findings?

iv) What is the research gap you feel your study will be addressing?

v)  How do you want to research this (Research Design) and why?

For application forms please follow the online procedure.


For curriculum enquiries, please contact the following Coordinators:

Dr Samu Chikiwa (Early Childhood and Primary Education) –

Prof Ken Ngcoza (Secondary, Youth and Sustainability Education) - 


Please note that international students have additional requirements when applying to Rhodes University. For more information. For information about this as well as more information on the application process, fees and financial aid please visit the Rhodes University Postgraduate Gateway and Student Fees & Financial Aid.

OR enquire at:

The Registrar
Rhodes University
Grahamstown, 6140
Tel: (046) 603-8276
Fax: (046) 603-7350





Last Modified: Mon, 05 Jun 2023 16:36:10 SAST