​​​​​Department of Psychiatry

Postgraduate Education

Subspecialty Programmes 


MPhil Mindfulness (Research)

Course Convenor: Dr Debbie Alexander

Academic Committee: Dr. Debbie Alexander (Convenor)

                                     Prof. Soraya Seedat (HoD, Dept Psychiatry)

                                     Prof. Bob Mash (HoD, Div.​ Family Medicine & Primary Care)

                                     Dr. Simon Whitesman (Director, Institute for Mindfulness South Africa)


We welcome applications towards the study of a MPhil degree in Mindfulness Research through the Faculty of Medicine & Health Science at Stellenbosch University.


The field of mindfulness-based research has grown exponentially in the last 15 years. There is, however, little research arising out of the unique constellation of issues in South Africa and beyond these borders into Africa. Along with the two-year training in mindfulness-based interventions, also based at Stellenbosch University, this Masters degree is intended to expand the research base of mindfulness interventions and approaches within the African context. This will contribute to not only a growing understanding of local issues affecting uptake, adaptation and contextual dynamics, but will also contribute to the global expansion of the field of mindfulness research.


The value of taking a deep-dive exploration of your mindfulness-based work in the world through either qualitative or quantitative research will enrich and refine your own understanding of mindfulness and its application in the world. It is also an opportunity to bring creativity, passion and rigour together through your research work.


If you wish to discuss or explore a research project​, you can contact either Debbie Alexander (debalex@sun.ac.za) or Simon Whitesman (simonw@lantic.net​) for an initial exploratory conversation.

Minimum entry requirements for this programme:
  • Bachelor's Degree in health, education, business or social sciences, e.g. nursing, social work, psychology, medicine, occupational therapy, Level 8. 


  • Bachelor's Honours Degree in health, education, business or social sciences, e.g. nursing, social work, psychology, medicine, occupational therapy, Level 8. 


  • Postgraduate Diploma in health, education, business or social sciences, e.g. nursing, social work, psychology, medicine, occupational therapy, Level 8. 


  • An equivalent mindfulness qualification at Level 8. 

Course module and credits:

Research project (at Level 9) - 180 credits.

Programme Outcomes and Assessment Criteria:

  1. Demonstrate a sound knowledge of research practice within the field of mindfulness-based interventions. 

  2. Perform research independently and make sound judgements using the data and information at their disposal. 

  3. ​Communicate findings effectively. ​​

Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1: 
  • Define a research topic dealing with a significant issue relevant to mindfulness-based interventions. 

  • Systematically review and summarise the literature pertaining to the topic. 

Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2: 
  • Phrase a clear research question(s) and aims relevant to the field of Mindfulness. 

  • Appropriately use methods to conduct the enquiry. 

  • Perform statistical analytic procedures for handling data as well as qualitative research. 

  • Interpret the results and discuss it in relation to the aims of the study in the context of previous literature. 

  • Demonstrate independent and critical judgement. 

  • Demonstrate appropriate computer skills, including conducting a literature search, using data management software, word processing and presentation software. 

  • Demonstrate that the thesis contributes to existing knowledge within the field of mindfulness. 

Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3: 
  • Draw conclusions. 

  • Make recommendations. 

  • ​Write up findings in a manuscript format acceptable for submission to a peer reviewed scientific, academic or professional journal accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). 

Integrated Assessment: 
  • ​​Formative Assessment during supervision sessions and monitoring of research progress. Learner progress will be regularly monitored and via feedback, learners will be helped to identify and build on their strengths, while working on identified weaknesses. 

  • Summative Assessment will be via assessment of the final thesis and will be done by two independent examiners, one of whom will be an external examiner. 

Further information for application into this programme can be accessed below:

  1. Application form here.

  2. ​Standard procedure for applying to the University here.


Kindly note that for those who do not meet the academic entrance requirements, the committee has the prerogative to support your application taking all factors into account.​