A Masters Degree in Science
A candidate entering a Masters programme must generally have a BSc (Honours) degree or four-year undergraduate equivalent (i.e. a four-year degree post NSC equivalent). Departments in the Science Faculty offer three types of Masters degree; the differences are summarised below:
Master of Science: This is a research-based degree in which a dissertation on a selected research topic is completed under the guidance of a supervisor. The majority of students in the Science Faculty complete their Masters degree in this manner. Entrance requirements are an Honours degree or four-year equivalent.
Master of Science (by coursework and dissertation): In this degree a candidate completes 50% of the requirement through coursework, and 50% by way of a dissertation on a piece of supervised research. The dissertation is by definition smaller in scope than one completed where the dissertation counts for the full degree. Entrance requirements are an honours degree or four-year equivalent.
Master of Philosophy (MPhil): This is either a research degree, or a degree obtained by coursework and dissertation, for candidates engaged in cross-faculty research dissertations or where a candidate comes from a non-science academic background. Entrance requirements are an Honours degree or four-year equivalent.
A Doctoral Degree in Science
There are two types of doctoral degrees offered in Science – a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and DSc (Doctor of Science). The former is obtained via research submitted as a thesis and is in practice by far the most common mechanism for obtaining a Doctoral degree. The DSc degree has very rarely been awarded at UCT, and is normally based on a career of high quality publications focused on some or other topic; in this regard it is more relevant to senior researchers late in their careers. The entrance requirement to the PhD is a Masters degree, but it is sometimes possible to upgrade to a PhD after completing the first year of Masters research.