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Faculty of Science

The programmes are grouped according to their home faculty. UCT supports interdisciplinary study. Students may apply for whichever programme that interests them, regardless of their academic background, provided they meet the minimum entry requirements for the programme. Therefore students are encouraged to search through this list of programmes and other faculties' programmes.

For example the Master of Philosophy in Development Policy and Practice [CM033DPP01] is listed under Commerce (its home faculty) but only requires that a student holds an honours degree to enrol for it. Many such opportunities exist in different faculties and students are encouraged to look for them.

Similarly students are encouraged to select courses from different faculties. There are many courses listed on this website that allow students from different academic backgrounds to enrol for them. Students are encouraged to select such courses to enrich their learning experience.

Master of Science specialising in Computer Science (SM004/5CSC05 or SM001/2CSC05) or Information Systems (SM004/5CSC06)

Currently there is no named masters in Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D). However both the generic masters in Information Systems (IS) and Computer Science (CS) allow for students to do their research specifically in ICT4D. In fact this is actively encouraged. Half of the postgraduate students in CS do research in ICT4D: working with low-income and rural populations all over Africa, or working on neglected languages and cultural heritage preservation. There is no necessarily required coursework for students but in previous years a postgraduate module on ICT4D was offered to give our students grounding in development theory and specifically in technology and poverty. The module is often difficult for students outside the department to attend, since the schedule can be a bit irregular, and there's no mechanism for giving students "credit" for attending the course. The Department of Computer Science would like for its students to take courses in other departments on development. However this is still being discussed.

For more information please have a look at the masters programmes from the School of Computer Science in the Faculty of Science handbook. Depending on academic history, candidate may exit with an MSc specialising in Information Systems or Computer Science OR an MPhil specialising in Information Systems or Computer Science.

Master’s in Environment, Society and Sustainability [EGS5008H & EGS5009W]

This interdisciplinary MPhil course is designed for students with diverse backgrounds who have an interest in the issues pertaining to the environment, society and sustainability.

Qualification name: MSc or MPhil depending on the academic background of the student.
Delivery Mode and Duration: Students will enrol (and pay fees) for both courses EGS5008H and EGS5009W in their first year of registration; where the minor dissertation is not submitted by the February deadline of the subsequent year, the student will be required to enrol (and pay fees) for the minor dissertation component in the subsequent year/s.
The coursework component starts with registration in January.

General Entry requirements

  • An Honours degree (or equivalent). In special circumstances graduates who have shown by examination, or publication, or a record of appropriate training, that they have reached a level equivalent to an Honours degree may be admitted.
  • Prospective students are advised that, because there is a limit of 12 places in the Environment, Society and Sustainability course, only selected students are admitted.
  • Selection will be at the discretion of the Head of the Department, based on quality of qualification, experiential learning and/or referee reports. It is therefore imperative that intending applicants, in addition to submitting an application to the University, complete the application form available from the Department and submit this before the annual deadline - the date is displayed on the departmental website - see www.egs.uct.ac.za.

Convener: Dr P Anderson, BSc Hons PhD Cape Town

Prescribed curriculum

Coursework (EGS5008H): 90 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9 Convener: Dr P Anderson

Students select four coursework modules in, for example:

  • Theory & Practice of Environmental Management
  • Capital Politics & Nature
  • Geography of Development & Environment
  • Living with Environmental Change
  • Urban Food Security
  • Cultural Geographies
  • Managing Complex Human-Ecological Systems
  • or Geomorphology

Minor Dissertation (EGS5009W): 90 NQF credits at HEQSF level 9

Students will be required to register for this course in the second semester of the first year and complete a suitable research proposal in consultation with an appropriate supervisor. After approval of the proposal, students will undertake a research project demonstrating the application of theory to practical issues in the research area of environment, society and sustainability. The work must be submitted in the form of a minor dissertation early in the second year.

Master’s specialising in Climate Change and Sustainable Development [SM005EGS06/EGS5012W]

This full time one-year taught Master’s course provides interdisciplinary training in climate change and sustainable development, with a focus on the issues of relevance to African development. It is convened by UCT’s African Climate and Development Initiative, a UCT Signature Theme comprising academics and research units from across the University with a shared interest in interdisciplinary research and solutions to the climate change problem. The course is designed for both recent graduates and those with several years’ experience who wish to gain a broad understanding of the issues involved in climate change and sustainable development from an African and developing world perspective.

“I currently provide Research assistance and project management, keep communications running between researchers and project partners, help plan projects and I edit manuscripts. I also run non-profit projects, advocating for veganism (Vegilicious UCT, the Cape Town Vegan Challenge, and the food at TEDxCapeTown 2014 headline event (vegan of course).”

- Muriel Argent, African Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI)

Qualification name: MSc / MPhil
Delivery Mode and Duration

FM4: A candidate for the degree shall register for not less than one academic year. Except by permission of Senate, full-time students are required to complete the requirements for the degree within two years. In exercising its discretion, Senate may take into account the nature of the research project undertaken.

FM5: On the recommendation of the Head of Department, Senate may permit a candidate who is unable to complete the course within the minimum period, to complete the course part-time over a period of at least two years or more.

General Entry requirements:

  • A relevant Honours degree (or equivalent).
  • Students with backgrounds in scientific, planning, engineering, economic, educational, social and legal disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Convener: Dr M-A Baudoin, MSc PhD Brussels

Prescribed curriculum:

NOTE: SM001/SM002 refers to the MSc/MPhil by full research dissertation. SM004/SM005 refers to the MSc/MPhil by coursework and minor dissertation. Students undertaking any Master’s degree by coursework and minor dissertation will register for a 90 NQF credit coursework component followed by a 90 NQF credit minor dissertation component.

The only exception is the interdisciplinary Master’s course offered by the African Climate & Development Initiative (ACDI), which has the following curriculum structure:

The curriculum comprises two core courses, at least two elective courses and a minor dissertation.

Core courses:

Course Code

Title

NQF Credits

HEQSF Level

EGS5031F

Introduction to Climate Change & Sustainable Development

23

9

EGS5032F

Climate Change Adaptation & Mitigation

23

9

Elective courses: Students will choose at least two elective courses, totalling a minimum of 45 NQF credits, chosen from a range of courses which offer the student the opportunity to explore new areas, or look at climate and development through existing disciplinary backgrounds. A partial list includes:

AXL5408F

Tradition, Science and Environment

24

9

BIO5003Z

Biodiversity and climate change

15

9

ECO4025S

Environmental Economics

20

9

EGS4016F

Capital, Politics and Nature

32

8

EGS4023F

Research Methods for Natural Scientists

32

8

EGS4024S

Climate Modelling

32

9

EGS4039F

Urban Food Security

30

8

EGS4040F

Urban Ecology

30

8

EGS4043F

Living with Environmental Change

24

8

EGS4045F

Geomorphology

30

8

EGS4046F

Water Resource Management

30

8

EGS5024F

Managing Complex Human Ecosystems

23

9

EGS5038F

Climate Predictability and Climate Variability

24

9

END5042Z

Sustainable Urban Systems

20

9

MEC5075Z

New and Renewable Technologies

20

9

MEC5088Z

Energy, Poverty & Development

20

9

PBL5045S

Environmental Law for Non-Lawyers

15

9

PBL5046S

Climate, Law and Governance

15

9

The minor dissertation component (90 NQF credits) is based on a three- to six-month research project, to be submitted at the end of January, with the possibility of extension to June.

The choice of project and electives will be determined by prior qualification. Students may register for a minor dissertation in a range of Departments across the University, including Biological Sciences, Environmental & Geographical Science, Geological Sciences, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Economics, Sociology, Law [Refer to relevant Faculty Handbooks].Students registering for the dissertation component in a Faculty other than the host Faculty (which administers the course) will be subject to the examination criteria of that Faculty. Minor dissertation options:

BIO5011H

Minor Dissertation (Science)

90

9

EGS5029H

Minor Dissertation (Science)

90

9

GEO5005H

Minor Dissertation (Science)

90

9

END5069W

Minor Dissertation (Engineering & Built Environment)

90

9

PBL5047H

Minor Dissertation (Law)

60

9