Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Masters in Philosophy (MA)

The programme entails the focusing, intensification and deepening of advanced training in the study and practise of Philosophy, with an eye towards independent research.  A strong Honours degree in Philosophy, or a qualification judged to be equivalent by the Senate, is the usual prerequisite for admission into the MA Programme. The Department evaluates each application on its own merit, taking into account the full academic profile of the applicant.  We also take into account whether the Department possesses the necessary expertise to supervise the student on his or her topic of choice.

There are two ways to do the Master's degree: (i) the thesis only option (code 879: 12818) and (ii) the structured option (code 889: 10764 and 12818).

(i) The thesis only option, where the thesis counts 100% (or 180 credits) of the degree, is ideal for students who have a clear idea of the topic that they wish to pursue, and of the research question that they want to explore through independent research. Along with the identification of the topic, the early identification and procurement of an appropriate supervisor from within the ranks of the staff of the Department, is crucial. 

(ii) The structured option consists of five modules, namely a thesis which counts 50% (or 90 credits) of the degree and four 'tentamens', or smaller modules for which the student completes four different assessments that collectively make up the other 50% of the degree. This option is ideal for students who are interested in a broader orientation within the field of Philosophy at Master's level. Each of the smaller modules will be supervised by a different staff member, and the contents, scope and assessment of each module are all designed by the relevant staff member in consultation with the student. The content of these 'tentamens' should be closely related to every staff member's field of expertise. For an idea of what the fields of research expertise in the Department entail, please consult our staff profiles.  In keeping with existing agreements with foreign universities, students doing the structured option are allowed to follow substitute modules at other universities, while remaining enrolled at Stellenbosch on a full-time basis, with the proviso that substitute components followed in other countries can receive full recognition instead of module 10764 Self Study (Philosophy) 872. In the case of the structured option, module 10764 Self Study (Philosophy) 872 is assessed internally by written examination and/or orally. Students following the structured option should look carefully at how they enrol for the different components in any given year, in order to ensure they complete them in the year when they are paid for. The order in which the thesis and 'tentamens' are completed, should be decided in consultation with the thesis supervisor.   

The thesis component (90 credits or 180 credits) is in each case assessed according to the existing regulations for the examination of postgraduate qualifications.

Please contact Prof. Du Tout ( if you have any further questions.

Please consult the faculty yearbook for information about academic credits, etc. ​Click on the following link to view the yearbook: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 2016