Masters Degrees

Characteristics and purpose

Degrees at a Masterate level are normally designed to build on the principal subject(s) of a qualifying degree or qualification that itself contains a significant research component or preparattion at an advanced level of the National Qualifications Framework.  Alternatively, a Masters degree may build on relevant knowledge and skills derived from occupational experience.

Masterate degrees are generally intended to prepare researchers who can contribute to the advancement of knowledge and/or prepare people for advanced and specialised employment.

Typically, Masterate degrees require people to:

  • demonstrate mastery of theoretically sophisticated subject matter
  •  evaluate critically the findings and discussions in the literature
  • to research, analyse and argue from evidence; to apply knowledge to new situations, and
  • engage in rigorous intellectual analysis, criticism and problem-solving.

Masterate degrees must contain a significant element of supervised research. The results of this research would normally be embodied in a thesis, dissertation or substantial research paper, but in some cases be incorporated in a series of papers.  Where a number of papers are involved, the research component must be a minimum of 25% of the credits required for the award of the qualification.

The research component must be at the level of certification.

The research should demonstrate a capacity in the candidate for independent thinking.  Creative work may also contribute to the research output.

A lower qualification may not be awarded for early exit from a Masters degree programme except where exit represents the attainment of another qualification.

Level of certification

Masters degrees shall be awarded at Level 9.

Size of qualification

A minimum of 240 NQF credits at or above Level 9.  A minimum of 25% of these credits must be awarded on the basis of a thesis or creative work.