Faculty of Humanities has laid down the following guidelines for theses submitted for the degree of Master. The thesis must show that the candidate

(a) is sufficiently acquainted with the appropriate methods of research;

(b) is sufficiently acquainted with the relevant literature; and

(c) has satisfactorily presented the results of independent research for the award of the degree.

In addition, such thesis must be satisfactory as to literary style and presentation. Except in exceptional circumstances approved by the Senate, the upper limit for masters’ degrees in the Faculty of Humanities is 50 000 words of text (approximately 150 A4 pages of double-spaced typing excluding footnotes, illustrative material and appendices).


l. Master’s by coursework candidates will be required to register full-time in attendance for at least one year except for the Master’s in English Second Language, and the Master’s in Journalism and Media Studies.

2. The coursework section should be spread over one year with the examinations for that section written in November of that academic year, except in the case of students in Journalism and Media Studies.

3. The thesis shall be submitted not later than one year after the initial examination.

4. The coursework degree shall normally comprise three papers of three hours’ duration together valued at 50% of the total final mark. The thesis shall represent 50% of the total.

5. The length of a thesis in the Master’s degree by coursework should normally not exceed 30 000 words, but should not under any circumstances exceed 50 000 words (approximately 150 A4 pages of double-spaced typing, excluding footnotes illustrative material and appendices). The word limit for the extended writing project for the Masters in Creative Writing is 80 000.

6. The topics to be covered by the examination and the research project must be approved by the Humanities Higher Degrees Committee. The research proposal, including those for the MFA, must be approved by the Humanities Higher Degrees Committee.

7. The examination procedure shall be as follows:

7.1 A candidate must obtain a minimum of 50% for the papers as a whole as well as for the thesis to qualify for an overall pass.

7.2 Candidates obtaining between 50% - 74% will obtain a pass mark for the Masters degree.

7.3 A distinction may be awarded for a Master’s degree taken by coursework and thesis if the aggregate mark for both components of the course is > 75% and provided that a subminimum of at least 70% was achieved for the individual components of the degree.

7.4 Candidates will not be permitted to rewrite any papers in the examination section. No supplementary examinations will be permitted.

7.5 The examiner may recommend that the thesis be revised and resubmitted for examination.

7.6 The formal examination plus a thesis are to be regarded as sub-components of an overall assessment and the examination should be handled in the same way as an honours examination. The scripts of the candidate and the thesis should go in the end to a single external examiner, who should have before him/her the internal examiner’s marks for the scripts but not the internal examiner’s mark for the thesis. The external examiner should be required to pass judgment on the candidate’s overall performance in the formal examination plus the writing of the thesis.

7.7 Where the coursework degree has a research report which constitutes 35% or less of the marks, a distinction is awarded if the candidate obtains 75% or above in the coursework component and a 2A or better in the research report and the aggregated final mark is 75% or above.

8. Candidates may be admitted to the Master’s degree by coursework and thesis in Journalism and Media Studies if they

8.1 have obtained a four year degree (B.Journ) or an honours in Journalism and Media Studies or in a discipline deemed by the Head of Department to be an adequate foundation for a Master’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies, or

8.2 have been admitted to an honours degree in a different discipline, but have in addition at least five years of professional experience in journalism and/ or media studies; provided that

8.3 a candidate will not be able to repeat any topic completed before in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies;

8.4 a candidate may be required to complete one or more specific papers from the Honours degree;

8.5 a candidate may be required to take the degree over two years,

8.6 satisfy the general Rules governing the Master’s degrees in the Faculty of Humanities.

9. A master’s degree by coursework and thesis is also offered in Interdisciplinary Studies (refer to the Interdepartmental entry).

NOTE: The Board of the Faculty of Humanities has approved the following procedures for a Master’s by examination in the Department of Psychology only.

The formal examinations are regarded as Part One of the examination and the department should appoint an external examiner for those papers and publish the results of the examinations. When the student completes the thesis, which is regarded as Part Two of the examination, this may go to an entirely different examiner who may see the thesis only. The final assessment of the candidate is made by the Head of Department and the internal examiners, based on the external examiner’s report on the formal examination scripts and the external examiner’s report on the thesis. Where there is clear conflict between Part One and Part Two, the candidate’s examination scripts and the thesis are to be submitted to an arbiter approved by the Humanities Higher Degrees Committee.

Last Modified: Thu, 01 Aug 2013 13:37:56 SAST