South Africa is a country with eleven official languages. However, it is not possible for the majority of South Africans to conduct their lives exclusively in their first language. English has acquired the unofficial status of a lingua franca and is moreover the language of international contact, although it is the first language of only approximately 8% of all South Africans. This means that English is a second language for the majority of South Africans who need it for their education and their work. The other South African languages are likewise important second languages for a considerable number of South Africans. In a very real sense, then, South Africa is a country of second languages.
The educational, economic and socio-political development of South Africa is significantly influenced by the proficiency with which large numbers of the population acquire second languages. In particular, proficiency in the use of English as a second language is a condition for the educational and economic empowerment of millions of South Africans.
Clearly, there is a great need for postgraduate linguistics programmes in which the phenomenon of second languages is studied from various disciplinary perspectives. The Department offers two such programmes: (i) a Postgraduate diploma (PGDip) in Second Language Studies, and (ii) an MA in Second Language Studies. Both programmes have been designed to address the need for a sound understanding of the phenomenon of second languages as it is experienced by language teachers, lecturers and other educators, speech-language therapists, translators, interpreters, publishers and language advisors. Graduates of these programmes are able to practise their (intended) profes sions with greater expertise and satisfaction. For more information about these programmes, see the link to the prospectus below.
Application for admission to either the Postgraduate Diploma programme or the MA programme in Second Language Studies must be made on a prescribed application form obtainable from the Registrar. Application for admission can also be made using the University's electronic application system (see link below). An application can be considered only if it is accompanied by a complete study record showing exam marks for all subjects taken, both at undergraduate and at postgraduate level. If you do not have a copy of your study record, you should request one from the Registrar of each university at which you studied.
As there is a limit to the number of PGDip and MA students that can be taught and supervised effectively in any one year, a selection has to be made from the applications received. Students are selected on the basis of their previous study record as well as their written responses to diagnostic test questions which all applicants are required to answer as part of their application. This diagnostic test is used to appraise a candidate's ability to read an academic text critically and to respond to questions in a clear and coherent way. The diagnostic test is available from the Department, or it can be downloaded as a pdf file (see link below).
Students who wish to apply for admission to the programme must submit the completed application form online, and provide a complete study record and pay the required application fee. Postal applications should be sent to:
Private Bag X1
The closing date for applications is 30 November, for RSA citizens, or 30 August, for International applicants, of the year preceding the year for which admission is sought.