Postgraduate Course Information
African Literature at Wits is the only department of its kind in South Africa and has, over the past three decades, produced high calibre graduates who have gone into research, publishing, journalism, creative writing and academic careers. We examine a wide range of African cultural forms, their transmission and their transversal of geographic, cultural, political and disciplinary boundaries. Our students adopt perspectives that take seriously our location in southern Africa while also taking into account the global relevance of African literary practice. Staff members offer courses which explore critical, theoretical, and historical issues, as well as problems of representation in the broadest sense. This kind of approach expands the field of literature to include a wide range of cultural practices from canonical texts of African writing to artefacts of visual and popular culture, revealing the role literature in its broadest sense plays as a form of exchange and expression. Our commitment to high quality is reflected in one of the highest rates of postgraduate student research publication among literature departments in the country.
Our course offerings at the Honours and Masters level include African Popular Media and the Novel; Critical Approaches to African Literature; Memory, Violence and Representation in Africa; Contemporary Trends in African Literature; Narratives of the Indian Ocean; Writing Slavery in the African World; and Feeling, Sentiment and Sensation.
The department will consider Honours applications from students who have scored an average of 65% in a literature or cognate subject for their undergraduate degree. Masters applicants need to have attained at least 65% for their Honours degrees. In exceptional circumstances, and subject to University admission rules, the department may consider applications to the degree of Masters by students who have produced a mini-dissertation of high quality in the course of their undergraduate studies at a non-South African institution. PhD applicants are required to have attained at least 70% for their Masters on the Wits grading scale, the comparable international grade being an upper-second class pass on the UK scale or a grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 on the US scale.
Applicants who do not have the required qualifications in a literature or related subject, but who have demonstrated research interest in African literatures must contact the department before submitting their applications. Such applications shall be reviewed in line with the Wits policy on the Recognition of Prior Leaning (RPL).
The following documents are required for postgraduate applicants to the department:
- Certified copy of degree certificate/s
- Certified copy of academic transcript/s
- SAQA evaluation or proof of application for such evaluation (for international applicants and South African students who have studied abroad)
- Proof of English proficiency (for international applicants, unless medium of instruction was English)
- Concept paper (for MA by dissertation and PhD applicants only)
Applicants may also be required to submit a CV, a sample of written work (an undergraduate term essay, an Honours research essay, or MA dissertation/research report as appropriate), a writing portfolio, and academic references.