Wits Masters

Wits Masters, Postgraduate Masters and PhD candidates are offered a variety of different programmes by the School and it is suggested that you contact the relevant course co-ordinator to find out more about any particular programme.

For additional information please see postgraduate studies at Wits, the Postgraduate Hub, the Postgraduate Handbook and the Rules and Syllabus Handbook available from faculty offices.

Coursework Masters Programme

Masters of Commerce in Applied Developement Economics – was Development Theory and Policy 

  • This Masters comprises four courses – three compulsory and one elective – as well as a research paper of 15 to 20 000 words, accounting for 50% of the final mark. The compulsory courses are:
    • Political Economy of Development
    • Advanced Macroeconomics for Policy
    • Microeconomics and Industrial and Trade Policy

Applications for Honours and Masters in Applied Development Economics are open. Course information will follow shortly.

Masters of Commerce in Economics/Economic Science

  • This Masters comprises six courses – two compulsory and four electives – as well as a research paper of 20 000 words. The MCom Economic Science includes an additional compulsory course either in Applied Econometrics or Time Series Econometrics. Course information

Masters of Commerce in Finance

  • Students combine two electives with two compulsory courses to make up the four-course programme, and are required to submit a research paper of 40 000 words. This degree comprises 50% coursework and 50% research.
    Course information

Masters of Commerce in Information Systems

  • The course has both research and coursework components. Through coursework in the first year, candidates learn about the latest trends in the information systems environment, issues in Information Systems management and advances in Information Systems research. Students are introduced to the research process in the early stages of the course in order to formulate a research topic, and the second year of the course entails the student completing a 50% research report under faculty supervision. Course information

Masters of Commerce in Marketing

  • Applications for Masters in Marketing for 2019 are closed until further notice.

Research Masters Programme

Masters of Commerce by Research

  • This is a supervised Masters dissertation on an approved topic within the areas of Economics, Information Systems, Management, Human Resource Management, Finance, Insurance and Risk Management, Industrial Organisation, Managerial Economics and more. Course information
  • Applications for Masters in Marketing for 2019 are closed until further notice.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

  • The degree of Doctorate of Philosophy in Economic or Business Sciences is the School’s highest degree and is only offered through supervised research, to be conducted on an approved topic. A supervisor from the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management must be identified and approached prior to application.
  • Applications for PhD in Marketing for 2019 are closed until further notice.
  • Applications for PhD in Management and Human Resource Management for 2019 are closed until further notice.

Collaborative PhD programme

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

  • This programme, supported by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), combines the traditional PhD structure in the School of Economics and Business Sciences (SEBS) and a partnership with other universities in Africa. It offers a rigorous and competitive training leading to the award of a doctoral degree in economics at the University of Witwatersrand.


There are two Masters Courses offered:

  • Master of Arts by Coursework and Research
  • Master of Arts by Research

The Development Studies Masters by Coursework and Research has two compulsory courses, one elective, and one research report.

Full-time vs. Part-time

  • The full-time Masters programme is one year, with all courses completed in within that year.
  • The part-time Masters programme is two years, with the courses split between the period of two years.

Please note: All classes are during the day on weekdays. Part-time applicants must make provision for time away from the office and travel time.

Application Requirements

  • 68% and above average for your Honours. (Masters by Coursework and Research)
  • 70% and above average for your Honours. (Masters by Research)
  • Social Sciences background is an advantage
  • NQF of 8 on SAQA ( Only for International Students)
  • Work or Volunteer experience in the Development field an added advantage

Supporting documents required with your application (International & Non-Wits Applicants):

  • CV
  • Certified copies of your ACADEMIC RECORD /STATEMENT OF RESULTS
  • Certified copy of Certificate of Evaluation from the South African Qualifications Authority. Details of how to apply for the certificate are on their website: www.saqa.org.za (Only for International Students.
  • Letter of Motivation as to why you wish to pursue this line of study
  • Sample of Work (may be a marked essay or a chapter from previous research conducted, etc.)
  • A 3 – 5 page Research Proposal outlining your research interest. (Masters by Coursework and Research)
  • A 5 page Research Proposal outlining your research interest. (Masters by Research)
  • In terms of the University rules, an applicant who has not used English in his/her academic education up to this point will be required to supply proof of proficiency in English at the time of application. A British Council test is recommended and they can be contacted at (011) 718 4300 or email IELTS@britishcouncil.org.za
  • Non-refundable Application Fee of R200.00

Supporting documents required with your application (Wits Applicants):

  • CV
  • Letter of Motivation as to why you wish to pursue this line of study
  • A 3 – 5 page Research Proposal outlining your research interest. (Masters by Coursework and Research Report)
  • A 5 page Research Proposal outlining your research interest. (Masters by Research)
  • Sample of Work (may be a marked essay or a chapter from previous research conducted, etc.)


  • Students should choose their optional courses according to the kinds of issues they wish to cover in their Research Report.
  • Many optional courses are offered at both the Honours and the MA levels. Students will sit in the same class, but requirements of the course will differ depending on the level at which it is taken.
  • NB: If you have taken a course at Honours level you may not take it again at the MA level.

Master of Arts by Coursework and Research

SOSS 7040A: Advanced Research Methods (Semester 1)The aim of this course is to facilitate the work you do with your MA Research Report supervisor. The examination for this course is the presentation of your MA Research Report proposal. The course is practically oriented in order to achieve this, but not without critical theoretical and methodological issues and perspectives being addressed at each stage of the process in formulating a research question and preparing a research report proposal.SOSS 7044A: Economics and Sociology of Development (Semester 1)This course focuses on different approaches to economic growth and their implications for conceptions of development and underdevelopment, the nature of poverty and the role of the state in the development process. The syllabus is designed to provide an overview of the elements of theory and policy that are especially relevant to the study and practice of development. The first half of the course covers essential theoretical and historical elements in economic thinking about development through the examination of different theoretical approaches and the policy outcomes which follow. The second half of the course focuses upon specific issues currently debated in the political economy of development using examples and drawing on contributions from Africa, but also other parts of the world. Issues covered include the role of the state, agriculture and land reform, gender and labour markets. This course adopts an inductive approach to development economics and draws on contributions from other social sciences. It is offered as a core course across two Masters: Development Theory and Policy (Economics) and Development Studies (inter-faculty programme). While the course does not require quantitative skills, students will be expected to engage with a wide range of material, and to write essays reflecting their critical interrogation of academic, policy and empirical literature. By the end of the course students should be (1) familiar with key economic concepts, perspectives and debates relating to the study of development; and (2) able to assess critically policies related to economic development.One Elective Course

Political Studies Masters Degree by Coursework and Research


Applicants to Masters should normally have an Honours mark of 70%; however students with an Honours mark above 67% will be considered.


The MA programme in the Department of Political Studies lasts at least 12 months.


The programme consists of three semester-length taught units, which should normally be completed within the Department, and a research report, which students are expected to work on throughout the year. Two of the units, in the first semester, will be taken simultaneously. Students may apply for a maximum of six months extension on the research report. In each unit, students will ordinarily be expected to submit weekly written work.

Students may select any unit from the range offered in this booklet, including, subject to the approval of the Co-ordinator of the Masters programme, a unit taught in another discipline.  Ordinarily a minimum enrolment of five students is expected in a unit before teaching it.


Students will write an exam on each of the three units taken.


Unitwork submitted during the year will count 25% towards the final mark and examinations 25%.  The research report counts 50% towards the final mark.

Research Report

All MA students have to submit for examination a research report on a topic of their choice. Students are expected to work on their research report throughout the year, and especially in the July and December vacations.

There is no stipulated format or prescribed methodological framework for the research report. Students may choose to combine “empirical” and “theoretical” material; perhaps linking a survey which they have conducted to a review of available literature on the topic of their choice. Other students may choose to write purely library-based dissertations.

All dissertations must be typed, and should be between 25 000 and 30 000 words in length.

In order to facilitate a constructive working relationship between students and supervisors, the Department insists that students choose a topic early in the year. This will allow the department to assign each student a supervisor as soon as it is possible to do so.

MA students will be expected to present a fully developed proposal, which includes aims and objectives and a research question, background and rationale, chapter outline and bibliography,  to members of the Department before the mid-term vacation.