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Master Degree Programs in South Africa

university witwatersrand johannesberg
Students of bachelors and masters programs at Wits University (University of Witwatersrand), Johannesburg

The universities in South Africa offer a wide variety of masters degree programs that are popular among African and international students. Typically, it takes 1 or 2 years to complete a masters in South Africa.

How does the higher education system work?

The academic year runs from early February to late November, with the first semester spanning from early Feb – early Jun and the second semester stretching between mid-July and late November. There are currently 23 public higher education institutions in South Africa, divided into three different types of institution: universities of technology, traditional universities and comprehensive universities.

Private higher education institutions are allowed to operate as long as they are registered, accredited and do not discriminate on the grounds of race.

What courses are available?

The subject and level of course available depends on the type of institution. Masters degrees require one to two years’ full-time study. Traditionally they have been dissertation-based but more recently a structure of taught course with minor dissertation has become popular. Doctoral degrees last three years.

Universities of technology offer


  • vocationally focused higher certificates, diplomas and degrees in business, engineering and technology;
  • some postgraduate and research opportunities.

Traditional universities offer:

  • degrees and diplomas at undergraduate and postgraduate level in academic subjects;
  • a strong research capacity;
  • a large number of postgraduate opportunities.

Comprehensive universities offer

  • both academic and vocational courses;
  • some postgraduate and research capacity.

Where can I study?

Universities with the highest proportion of non-South African students are:

  • Rhodes University
  • University of the Western Cape
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Fort Hare 

Entry Requirements

South African students usually access Masters degrees after completing a Bachelors degree followed by a one-year Honours course.


Applicants can usually apply throughout the year. However, applications should be made well in advance of an academic year (beginning January) to be accepted for registration. Applications should be made direct to universities. Application forms are usually printed out, completed and signed and sent in the post with additional relevant documents.

Students wishing to study for courses longer than three months should apply for a study permit. See visa and immigration for more details.

Below is the list of Colleges/ Universities offering Bachelor Degree courses in South Africa


ourses Location Colleges/ Universities
 Master of Architecture Professional Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Business & Management

Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 Master in Finance and Investment (MFI) Johannesburg University of Witwatersrand
 Masters in Public Management Johannesburg Regenesys Business School
 Master’s Degree in Development Finance Cape Town University of StellenboSchool
 Masters of Management (MM) by Research Johannesburg University of Witwatersrand
 MPhil in Futures Research Cape Town University of StellenboSchool
 MM of Entrepreneurship And New Venture Creation Johannesburg University of Witwatersrand
 MPhil in Management Coaching Cape Town University of StellenboSchool

Organization & Leadership

Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 MA in Conflict Transformation and Management Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Finance / Analysis

Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 Masters Programme in Financial Management Cape Town University of Cape Town


Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 Criminology and Criminal Justice in Public Law Cape Town University of Cape Town


Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 Master of Technology in Mechanical Engineering Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
 MSc in Construction Management Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University




 Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 MTech in Fashion Port Elizabeth  Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University



 Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 MA in Health and Welfare Management Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University



 Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 MCur in Advanced Midwifery and Neonatal Nursing Science Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University


 Courses  Location  Colleges/ Universities
 Master of Medicine (MMed)  Cape Town  University of Cape Town
 Master of Medicine in Public Health Medicine  Cape Town  University of Cape Town



 Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 Entrepreneurship MBA Johannesburg Gordon Institute of Business School
 Executive MBA Cape Town University of Cape Town
 GIBS MBA Johannesburg Gordon Institute of Business School
 Masters in Business Administration (MBA) Cape Town University of Cape Town
 MBA Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
 MBA Johannesburg Regenesys Business School
 MBA Cape Town University of Cape Town
 MBA Cape Town University of StellenboSchool
 MBA Johannesburg University of Witwatersrand
 MBA Modular Cape Town University of StellenboSchool
 MBA Nationwide Rhodes Investec Business School


 Courses  Location  Colleges/ Universities
 Actuarial Science  Cape Town  University of Cape Town

Film / TV studies


 Courses Location Colleges/ Universities
 BA Honours in Motion Picture Medium Several locations AFDA The South African School
 Master of Fine Arts Several locations AFDA The South African School

Performing Arts

 Courses    Colleges/ Universities
 BA Honours in Live Performance  Several locations  AFDA The South African School

Public Relations

 Courses  Location  Colleges/ Universities
 MTech in Public Relations Management  Port Elizabeth  Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University


 Courses  Location  Colleges/ Universities
 MA in Clinical Psychology  Port Elizabeth  Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Social Science

 Courses  Location  Colleges/ Universities
 Masters of Social Sciences  Cape Town  University of Cape Town

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