Wits offers wide range of postgraduate degrees to give you the competitive edge

The University of the Witwatersrand offers hundreds of postgraduate programmes, across many disciplines

The University of the Witwatersrand offers hundreds of postgraduate programmes, across many disciplines

The University of the Witwatersrand places in the top 1% in the world in several rankings, and offers a range of postgraduate programmes across five faculties.

“Our postgraduate students are able to engage in locally relevant and globally competitive research,” says Professor Mary Scholes, director of postgraduate affairs. “However, postgraduate success is dependent on commitment from students and academics, as well as university support.

“At Wits, we have grown postgraduate support to R240-million through leveraging funding opportunities. Student support includes opportunities to attend over 50 workshops, writing retreats and a postgraduate symposium. The workshop topics include research proposal writing, experimental design, data analysis and project management.”

New world-class qualifications

More careers are becoming multidisciplinary and demand the acquisition of skills to match these roles. At Wits more areas of postgraduate study are becoming transdisciplinary; hundreds of postgraduate qualifications are offered, including these latest programmes:

Humanities Honours/Master’s in Organisational and Institutional Studies

Organisational and Institutional Studies internationally provide impetus for innovative research on the state of disciplines including economics, anthropology, history, sociology, and political science. In South Africa, Organisational and Institutional Studies provide insights into the form of the South African state, the organisation of governments, and the way that government departments and agencies work. Students will graduate with theoretically grounded perspectives on actual organisations and institutions, thus creating a new career trajectory of public service advisers and consultants.

Master’s in Health Demography

Health Demography is increasingly popular globally. This interdisciplinary degree — unique to Wits — offers specialised skills in health demography and appeals to those interested in health and the social sciences. Students learn demographic research (a scarce skill), contemporary health issues in Africa, and demographic consequences of development.

Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Drama and Theatre Studies

This diploma equips those wishing to engage in the arts for social justice and healing. It educates, trains and professionalises theatre facilitators, theatre-makers and performers so they can lead in the field of arts for social transformation.

Honours/Master’s in Diversity Studies

South Africa is still grappling with the emergence of diverse and transformational post-apartheid processes and many remain poorly addressed. The Honours and Master’s in Diversity Studies challenges students to deepen their theoretical understanding of how diversity issues play out in society. It aims to enhance analytical and interpretive abilities to understand the dynamics of power acting upon various axes of difference; how formations of difference intersect and are constructed, promoted, resisted, subverted, and reframed. It develops critical diversity literacy and the skills to apply theory to transformational practice.


New programmes in the Faculty of Science include BSc Honours in Big Data Analytics; BSc Honours in Applied Bioinformatics; and MSc programmes in Hydrogeology and Economic Geology. A Postgraduate Diploma in Science (Enterprise Risk Management) is available from 2018.

The Big Data Analytics Honours programme aims to tackle industry challenges related to scarce skills in the data sciences. It includes big data infrastructure, machine learning, and visual analytics. Career prospects for graduates in this field are exponential.

Engineering and the Built Environment

From 2017 the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering will offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Oil and Gas Engineering, which will lead to a master’s degree in this field. These are fields in which there is a global shortage of skills.

A Postgraduate Diploma in Welding Engineering, which leads to an MSc degree in Welding Engineering or a professional MEng degree in Welding Engineering, is also on the cards.

An updated MSc in Chemical Engineering will be presented in 2017, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Metallurgical Engineering. This diploma will lead to an MSc in Metallurgical Engineering, with specialisation options in physical metallurgy, minerals processing and extractive metallurgy, pyro-metallurgy, and coal science and technology. Two master’s qualifications with specialisations in Mining Planning and Optimisation, and Mineral Asset Valuation as well as an MSc in Systems Engineering are available.

The Master’s in Aeronautical Engineering, Africa’s first internationally recognised postgraduate programme in this field, enables students to graduate from Wits and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the US. It will allow South African aeronautical engineers to participate fully in the global supply chain for the aeronautical industry and in global projects that require advanced skills. This degree will allow the country’s engineers to become more competitive in the aeronautical industry, enabling rapid industry growth and sustainability.

Commerce, Law and Management

The Wits School of Lawin partnership with the International Institute of Social Studies offers a joint PhD programme, which enables students to complete a doctorate awarded jointly by Wits and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Candidates research areas related to international law, society and development, including critical development-oriented aspects of trade and investment, socioeconomic deprivation, human rights and humanitarian law, gender, health and the environment.

Technological change, science and technology-intensive innovation is driving long-term economic growth. From 2017, the Wits Business School is offering a new Master’s of Management in Innovation Studies. This interdisciplinary and specialist programme investigates innovation, its impact on profitability and economic growth, and how innovation can be shaped to achieve societal goals.

The programme draws on disciplinary traditions in management, economics, public policy, humanities, social science and natural sciences, and provides the essential breadth of knowledge that will enable graduates to skilfully engage in shaping innovation for increased competitiveness and for socioeconomic development.

By linking innovation and its impact on economic development and competitiveness in countries of the Global South, this programme is a unique offering of its kind in Africa.

Many local and international companies have their sights on Africa as a prosperous place to do business. These companies require leaders that understand the complexities of doing business in Africa. However, critics state that many businesses lack leaders sufficiently rooted in the African context to effectively oversee growth and development. The Wits MBA is designed to ensure relevance and adaptability while addressing multiple competencies to thrive in the modern economy. Cutting-edge research, evidence-based practice tools, case studies, study tours and diverse teaching methods are all part of the MBA journey at the Wits Business School.

The school delivers a first-class, global-facing, Africa-centric, critical-thinking journey, ensuring that students graduate with the technical and critical thinking skills and the drive to be part of something bigger as leaders in African business and society.

Wits will host a Postgraduate Recruitment Fair on August 16 2016. For details, visit: www.wits.ac.za/postgraduate

Professor Mary Scholes is the director of postgraduate affairs at the University of the Witwatersrand