Learn to use statistical methods to conduct data-driven research in the Humanities and improve your understanding of Data Science.


This MA programme aims to train postgraduate students in the use of statistical methods to conduct data-driven research in the social sciences and humanities and will create opportunities for students to develop an interdisciplinary perspective on the emerging fields of Data Science.

The curriculum prepares candidates in Social Sciences and Humanities for the growing areas of data science. This contributes to national priorities such as improving service delivery and developing a competitive knowledge economy, and it creates opportunities for graduates as professional researchers in academia and the public and private sectors.

The programme forms part of the DSI-funded National e-Science Postgraduate Teaching and Training Platform (NEPTTP). Students will register with their Home Institution but will attend the coursework component at Wits University in Johannesburg, Gauteng, in the first year. On completion of the coursework modules, students will move back to their Home Institutions for their second year of study.

The programme comprises compulsory and elective modules. Cross-disciplinary data-driven projects are offered both within the University and from a wide range of industry partners. A candidate must undertake modules to the value of 180 credits and must successfully complete the following courses:

Compulsory Coursework Modules (Year 1 at Wits University)

  • Research Methods and Capstone Project in Data Science (15 credits)
  • Data Privacy and Ethics (15 credits)
  • Statistical Computing and Inference for the Social Sciences and Humanities (30 credits)
  • Statistical Modelling for the Social Sciences and Humanities (15 credits) 
  • Applied Data Science for the Social Sciences and Humanities (15 credits)

Research Report (Year 2 at Home Institution)

  • Research Report: Data Science (90 credits) 


Graduates of the programme can find data-oriented roles within academic institutions, social and policy research organisations (governmental and non-governmental), and the private sector (technology, healthcare companies and the finance sector).


Competitive DSI-NICIS bursaries, covering tuition, accommodation and stipend, are made available by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) to qualifying offer holders with a record of excellent academic achievement. Priority for bursaries will be given to South African Citizens and Permanent Residents.

Click here for more information.

Entry Requirements

  • A bachelors degree with honours from Wits or another university with a 65% total mark aggregate.


Applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree with Honours (NQF level 8 qualification) from a relevant discipline or field in the social sciences or humanities. Along with strong substantive knowledge in a relevant discipline or field, they must have a demonstrable knowledge of basic principles of quantitative social research (but need not have a previous specialisation in statistics or statistical computing).

Applicants require a minimum of 65 percent in their NQF level 8 qualification to be considered, and they must fulfil any additional institutional application requirements of the institution through which they are applying, and must be co-approved by the Consortium.

University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at www.wits.ac.za/askwits.

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.