The Department of Psychology offers three research-related MA degrees:
Our degrees offer a good fit for people who:
A career in research offers a wide array of employment opportunities in the academic, public and private sectors. With a focus on teaching advanced research skills as well as content, graduates are well equipped to pursue a research career. However, please note that only one of our degrees (MA in the field of Social and Psychological Research by Coursework and Research Report) leads to registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Research Psychologist.
Information about the programmes and modules is available below, and in the downloadable Application Booklet.
Supervision of research projects may be provided by any member of staff in the Department of Psychology and it is a good idea to look at staff profiles on the web to explore synergies with your research interests. Links to staff profiles can be found here.
Please note that the application deadline for January 2016 enrollment is 30 September 2015 (see section on application procedures below).
MA in Psychology by Research (Dissertation)
The MA by dissertation only is the most flexible form of advanced study as it enables students to focus entirely on completing a research dissertation, under the supervision of a staff member in the Department, on a topic of interest to the student and staff member. This degree is thus usually selected by students who enjoy working independently and wish to pursue their interest in a particular topic. There is a wide range of expertise and interests among staff in the Department of Psychology, and prospective applicants are encouraged to read about staff members’ research interests in advance of applying. The MA by Dissertation is also an excellent route to follow for students who wish to continue on to PhD studies, offering a possible fast-track to a PhD by upgrade for exceptional quality MA projects. While this route may also lead to work in organisations or in the public sector, it is particularly appropriate for those wishing to pursue an academic career or specialist research work in a particular field.The MA by Dissertation may be done either as a full-time or part-time degree. Students are expected to complete the degree within one year full-time, or two years part-time.
*PLEASE NOTE that prospective applicants should contact the Course Coordinator, Prof. Jill Bradbury (email@example.com), prior to submitting an application, in order to establish whether a suitable potential supervisor is available.
MA in the field of Psychology by Coursework and Research Report
This degree focuses on developing advanced conceptual and research expertise in a particular field of Psychology, with two primary clusters of cognate courses on offer: A) Psychosocial Studies and B) Cognitive Science. Students may also substitute one methods module from the MA in Social and Psychological Research programme for one of these modules.
This degree enables students to develop advanced theoretical knowledge and generate independent research in a particular field of interest. This is a good base for future work in the NGO or government sectors, CSI programmes in the corporate world, academia and research institutes.The MA in Psychology by Coursework and Research Report may be done as a full-time or part-time degree. Students are expected to complete the degree in one year if registered full-time, and in two years if doing the course part-time.
Three coursework modules must be completed (together accounting for 50% of the toal credit for the degree, with the Research Report accounting for the remaining 50%). The available modules are organized around two distinct clusters:
Cluster A: Psychosocial Studies
This area of study explores critical theory and empirical research focused on the interplay between what are typically understood as external social and internal psychic formations, thereby questioning the traditional division of the personal and the social, undermining notions of separate and distinct inner realities (the psyche) and outer realities (the social and/or political) and arguing instead for a psychosocial zone. This approach recognises that social and psychological processes of life are always simultaneously and actively engaged, effecting ongoing mutual (re)construction. The academics who teach on this programme share an interest in analyzing, thinking about and challenging current unequal and unjust social relations, and imagining possibilities for healthy, creative and interesting individual and collective life. We are interested in questions such as:
There are three courses on offer in this cluster in 2016:
Cluster B: Cognitive Science
Cognitive Science is a growing field of study which has its roots in many different disciplines that explore the relationships between mind, brain and behaviour. Disciplines such as neurology, neuropsychology and neurophysiology focus on the anatomy of brain structures and their influence on behaviour, whereas disciplines such as cognitive and developmental psychology, linguistics and philosophy focus on the functions of the brain and the mind. Recent advances in brain imaging techniques have prompted much research into the structures and functions of the brain and their effects on behaviour so that these are now being studied in a more integrated manner by Cognitive Scientists.In 2016, there will be two courses on offer in the MA programme that address questions within this broad field:
In these modules, selected areas of human behaviour will be studied from an integrated perspective that unites several disciplines and methods.
A minimum of two courses must be chosen from the above lists but students may choose to substitute the third module with one of the following methods modules from the MA in Social and Psychological Research programme:
MA in the field of Social and Psychological Research by Coursework and Research Report
This degree focuses on developing practical research expertise in quantitative, qualitative and applied research methods. The degree equips students to be multi-skilled social science researchers, and can serve as a basis for an academic career. This is the only degree offered by the Department that leads to registration as a Research Psychologist with the HPCSA (and only if followed by an accredited one year internship). However, the degree is also suitable for students from related social science disciplines who wish to pursue research careers, but are not eligible for registration with the HPCSA.The MA in Social and Psychological Research by Coursework and Research Report may be done as a full-time or part-time degree. Students are expected to complete the degree in one year if doing the course full-time, and in two years if doing the course part-time.
Three coursework modules must be completed (together accounting for 50% of the total credit for the degree, with the Research Report accounting for the remaining 50%). There are no elective modules for this programme, with all students being required to complete all of the following three modules:
In order to apply for one of these programmes, the following must be submitted by 30 September 2015:
These documents can be submitted (electronically, as hard copies, or by fax) to:
Ms. Lauryne Lokothwayo
Telephone number: 011 717 4541
PLEASE NOTE that applicants who have obtained their previous degrees from a non-South African university need to apply to SAQA for accreditation before submitting an application.
Frequently Asked Questions:
If you cannot find the answer to your question here, you may email the co-ordinators:
Prof. Brett Bowman (Brett.Bowman@wits.ac.za; MA in Social and Psychological Research)
Prof. Jill Bradbury (Jill.Bradbury@wits.ac.za; MA by Dissertation and MA in Psychology).
Before sending an email query, please make sure that you have carefully read all information provided here first!