1 DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY INFORMATION REGARDING POSTGRADUATE STUDIES BA HONOURS MA DLitt et Phil Thank you for your interest in the postgraduate degrees offered by UNISA s Department of History. This booklet provides preliminary information concerning admission and other requirements. More detailed and specialised information on the three degrees is available from the Department and needs to be studied carefully before any registration. PLEASE CONTACT Prof. Russel Viljoen, Chair of the Department Mrs Anita Theron, Administrative Officer Phone: Postal: P O Box 392, UNISA, 0003 Fax: th Floor, Room 186, Theo Van Wijk Building UNISA, Muckleneuk Campus, Preller Street, Pretoria
2 ii UNISA S NEW APPLICATION AND REGISTRATION PHASES APPLICATION PHASE First-time students at UNISA must apply for admission on the prescribed form which is to be submitted together with the correct application fees, as well as the documents required for registration. Apply on-line: Content&ContentID=16832 or contact the UNISA Contact Centre at / Once the data has been recorded the system will allocate a student number which will be confirmed via , sms or mail depending on the contact details indicated on your application form. A registration package containing the relevant information brochure(s) and registration form will be mailed to you. Students who already have a UNISA student number proceed directly to the registration phase. REGISTRATION PHASE Once a student number has been allocated to an individual, this student number will remain his/her student number at UNISA for all formal qualifications Honours students may apply on-line for registration after the registration period for the particular academic year has opened. However, master s and doctoral students cannot apply on-line and are advised to submit their applications directly to UNISA Muckleneuk Campus, P O Box 392, UNISA, Regional
3 iii offices can only forward master s and doctoral applications to the Muckleneuk Campus. The registration form together with the minimum instalment required for registration must be submitted before the relevant closing date. Students must please take note that certain degrees are by selection and have earlier closing dates than the normal registration closing dates. Any documents required for registration submitted must be included here, if not previously submitted. Kindly note that only certified copies of academic records issued by the Registrar of the University/Institution concerned are accepted for registration purposes. Degree certificates should not be submitted. All applications for master s and doctoral degrees will be referred to the Section: Postgraduate Qualifications where they will be assessed before being referred to the relevant academic department where the Executive Committee will rule on admission. If approved, students who have submitted their complete application (i.e. all required documents and minimum fees) will automatically be registered after admission has been approved. Other students will be informed of any remaining conditions to be complied with in order to finalise their registration. All other students will be informed of the outcome of their applications and, where applicable, the minimum study fees paid will be refunded. The process outlined above may be time consuming in some cases, especially when we approach the various closing dates when most applications are invariably submitted. It is, therefore, essential that prospective students apply well in advance, especially where deadlines set by employers and sponsors have to be met.
4 iv INDEX Honours degree in History (BA Hons) 1 Objectives of the Honours degree 1 Admission 1 Concurrent registration for undergraduate module(s) for non-degree purposes 2 Offering of an honours paper in another subject 2 Duration of the degree 3 Examinations 3 Method of tuition 3 Prescribed and recommended books 4 Staff and personal contact 4 Curriculum 5 Master s degree (MA) 6 Registration 7 What is expected from an MA? 8 Selecting a field of study and choosing a topic 9 The research proposal 9 Method of instruction 10 The examination process 11 Doctor s degree (DLitt et Phil) 12 Who should study for this degree? 12 What does the degree comprise? 12 Academic requirements 13 The application process and research proposal 13 Method of instruction 15 Examination 15 Postgraduate Bursaries (research Master s and Doctoral only) 17
5 1 HONOURS DEGREE IN HISTORY (BA HONS) (Degree code: 04197) Objectives of the Honours degree This higher degree offers conspicuous academic advantages: it is the initial training ground for aspiring historians and for those who wish to conduct individual research it offers in-depth knowledge to teachers and others who wish to investigate certain themes in detail in order to improve their mastery of the subject students with a general interest in history will be guided into challenging and interesting topics of their choice. the wide diversity of topics on international, African and South African themes will appeal to a variety of people keen to learn about the ways in which our local and international socio-political environment came into being. Admission Because of the demanding nature of this degree, the following requirements are needed for admission: A recognised Bachelor s degree. Students are admitted to the Honours degree on merit. Admission is based on a student s undergraduate record, whether at UNISA or another university. Although exceptions can be made, the usual minimum requirement is an average of 60% (preferably higher) for the papers or modules completed in History III.
6 2 contains the general rules for admission to postgraduate studies, and also lists the documents which must accompany any application for admission. Details of the registration dates also appear in Postgraduate. This information can also be obtained on the University s website Each application is carefully considered by the History Department. Please contact the Chair of Department or the Honours degree co-ordinator if you are unsure of the regulations or need individual advice. Concurrent registration for undergraduate module(s) for nondegree purposes Students may only with the special permission of Senate register for not more than two undergraduate modules on the same level for non-degree purposes (NDP) concurrently with an honours course, and provided that the NDP module(s) has a bearing on their honours studies, or they submit a written justification which is acceptable to the University. Please note that students must apply before the closing date for registration for the undergraduate module(s) for permission for concurrent registration. Please refer to the Brochure with regards to the relevant registration dates. Offering of an honours paper in another subject In the College of Human Sciences students may replace one of the papers of their honours degree by an honours paper in another subject, if the Departmental Heads concerned are of the opinion that the students have sufficient background knowledge to be able to offer that paper and it is in the best interest of the students.
7 Duration of the degree 3 In general you are expected to devote at least two years of study for the Honours degree. Normally we recommend that students complete Paper 1 and two other papers in the first year of registration and two papers (one of which is Paper 2) in the second. If prospective students have individual requirements and suggestions for the period of study or papers to be taken, please contact the Department of History. If you are studying full-time, however, it is possible to complete the degree in one year. In order not to overstretch yourself and also to get the maximum benefit from this degree, please ask the Department of History for advice in this regard. The Department needs to give permission for you to register for all five papers in one year. In order to obtain the Honours degree, you have to pass all five papers.. Examinations These take place only in the January/February examination period. There is one three-hour examination in Papers 3, 4 and 5. There is no supplementary examination. Papers 1 and 2 do not have examinations, but are assessed through assignments and portfolio work. Method of tuition Study guides or tutorial letters are supplied. Depending on the availability of suitable prescribed books and journal articles, some
8 4 are more detailed than others. A number of papers use only tutorial letters, relying on the student to read widely and carefully. At least three assignments should be submitted in each paper. Lecturers provide detailed feedback on students assignments and we welcome discussion and debate. Discussion classes may be held in Pretoria if there is sufficient interest. Please note that while study material for this course is offered in English, students are welcome to submit assignments in Afrikaans. Examinations will be set in both English and Afrikaans and answers in either language are accepted. Prescribed and recommended books This degree is based on wide reading and you should be aware of this before you begin your studies. In some papers, one or more prescribed books must be purchased. Recommended books are available from the UNISA library. Journal articles are extensively used, and copies of these will be provided to all registered students in the respective papers. Staff and personal contact Most History Department staff members are involved in the papers offered for the Honours degree. Many of them teach an honours paper which is their particular field of expertise and you will consequently benefit greatly from their knowledge and experience. Lecturers are available for advice and discussion throughout the year.
9 5 A list will be sent to you early in the year of the various lecturers who are responsible for each of the courses we offer. If you have any enquiries prior to registration, please contact the Administrator of the History Department who will put you in touch with someone who can assist you. Curriculum The following is a list of the papers we offer. More detail about each of them is available in a separate brochure which is available on request from the History Department. Paper 1: Research methodology in history (HSY4801) Paper 2: Research report in history (HRHSY82) Paper 3: Forging southern African identities (HSY4803) Paper 4: Themes from modern South African history (HSY4804) Paper 5: Themes from the history of Africa (HSY4805) Prospective students should contact the Honours Co-ordinator: Mr Nicholas Southey Department of History P O Box 392 UNISA Tel HONOURS ENQUIRIES: Telephone: International: Fax:
10 6 THE MASTER OF ARTS DEGREE IN HISTORY CURRENT STUDENTS (Degree code: 06203) (Study unit: DIS620L) NEW STUDENTS (2010) (Degree code: 98542) (Study unit: MPCHS92 (research proposal module) (DFHST95 (dissertation)) UNISA s History Department offers a Master s degree by research. There is no coursework or taught MA. Being engaged in individual research marks an advanced phase in academic studies. There is no set curriculum and students decide on their own subject matter, set their own programme, do their own time management and meet their own academic and other goals. As guidance, a supervisor and co-supervisor appointed by the History Department are part of the student s MA team, with responsibility to facilitate the project and to work with the candidate in order to produce the highest standard of work possible. The final outcome of a Master s degree is an original work (a dissertation) of about pages that exhaustively and logically investigates a topic, is presented in fluent and competent language and contains the appropriate professional referencing apparatus. Because this is a demanding process and because each MA dissertation is different it is important that prospective students contact the Department if they are interested in achieving this degree. Further information is needed prior to registration and the Department has detailed guidelines and other advice that can be provided.
11 7 From January 2010 all master's and doctoral students are required to register for and complete a research module before registration for the dissertation/thesis can be finalised. What follows is a brief summary of various aspects of the process. The rewards of an MA include: personal growth and intellectual development great fun as you research a topic you are passionate about possible publication of research results an academically significant higher degree The challenges of an MA include: locating sources and taking notes writing and organising material managing a process that demands patience, tenacity and diligence the expense of fees, getting to archives, the employment of a professional editor From January 2010 all master's and doctoral students are required to register for and complete a research module before registration for the dissertation/thesis can be finalised. Registration Registration is not automatic. You must have obtained a pass mark of at least 60% for the honours bachelor s degree in History or related disciplines (or an equivalent qualification). If you have less than this as an average, it is unlikely that you will be able to cope with the demanding requirements of the degree and you will not be allowed to register.
12 8 Second, you will need to have a research subject in mind. The Department does not provide topics (although we can help to suggest one in discussion with you). Registration is dependent on the submission of a research proposal of high quality. Students need to take part of the first year of registration or use the year before registration writing the proposal so that the process thereafter is clear and straightforward. Only when the proposal is approved can a student register and once this is done, a provisional title is agreed on for the dissertation and a member of staff is appointed to supervise. While preparing your proposal if you are not yet registered, you may be allowed access to the library for a period of six months (there is a charge for this service). Once registration has been finalised you will be required to sign a contract so that the respective duties and responsibilities of supervisor and student are clearly understood. Your Master s degree will take at least three years to complete and you will have to re-register each year. If there is no indication of research or writing by the end of the first year and completion over the next two years does not look promising, registration will be ended. What is expected from an MA? A Master s degree is a recognised qualification in the South African education system and it therefore has to meet certain criteria. These criteria are set by SAQA (South African Quality Assurance) and include the following: The student should have the skills to: use a variety of sources take responsibility for his/her progress communicate ideas in sophisticated language in a sustained, coherent and logical discourse
13 self-organise study plans and manage time effectively 9 The outcomes of an MA include: the identification, research and analysis of complex and abstract problems demonstration of theoretical skills the collection, analysis, organisation and critical evaluation of information at an advanced and specialised level the effective communication and evaluation of ideas lucidly and coherently, providing supporting evidence in a sustained manner Selecting a field of study and choosing a topic Because a Master s degree demands a great deal of time and effort the chosen topic must be sufficiently interesting to hold your attention over at least three years. Once you have decided upon a broad field of research, you will need to refine your topic into one that is suitable for an MA dissertation. The topic chosen must be viable, practical, interesting and one that is appropriate in terms of length and sources. Once this has been done, you will have to carefully consider the research question and write a proposal. The research proposal In the research proposal you consider what you wish to research and how you should go about it. It also embodies your thinking about the topic. The research proposal also forms the basis for the working relationship between you, the student, and your supervisor. The proposal is an agreement between the student and the supervisor(s). You agree to undertake the proposed study along the lines outlined and discussed in the proposal and the supervisor agrees to provide you with the necessary guidance and
14 10 supervision so that you can achieve your goal. The formulation of a well-written research proposal will serve as a foundation for the research and completion of the Master s degree. The Master s proposal must include the following: short title Background and outline of the research problem Literature survey and the reasons for choosing the topic Research problem and objectives, which should include the main questions that will be addressed as well as the broader issues that will be investigated Structure of the dissertation References (published and unpublished, including manuscripts or oral sources Schedule of work and timeframes You have twelve months from the date of registration to finalise your proposal. After the final approval of your proposal by the History Department s Higher Degrees Committee you may proceed with your dissertation. Method of instruction There are no residential requirements for studying at UNISA, which means that students are not expected to attend seminars or personal meetings with supervisors. All communication can be conducted via correspondence or the electronic media. Students are of course welcome to visit their supervisor personally if they have the opportunity. The tuition procedure entails the submission of completed work by the student, usually chapter by chapter. The supervisor comments on each chapter and sends it back to the student with suggestions for improvement.
15 The examination process 11 Each dissertation is examined by a panel whose task it is to take into consideration the scientific and academic standard of individual research bearing in mind the research procedures and techniques, methodology, demarcation and scope of research, theoretical substantiation, exploration of the literature and grasp of the field. Moreover, the quality of language and editing must be of a high standard and the technical presentation and layout uniform and acceptable. * * * Prospective students should contact the MA co-ordinator: Prof Alex Mouton Department of History P O Box 392 UNISA 0003 SOUTH AFRICA or Tel MASTER S AND DOCTORAL ENQUIRIES: Telephone: International: Fax:
16 12 DOCTOR S DEGREE (DLitt et Phil) CURRENT STUDENTS (Degree code: 08192) (Study unit: DIS8193) NEW STUDENTS (2010) (Degree code: 98525) (Study unit: DPCHS92 (research proposal module) (TFHST05 (thesis)) Who should study for this degree? The doctorate is the highest academic achievement and is intended for candidates who have completed an MA degree with high marks and who wish to write an extended and original thesis on a research topic of their choice. A high level of complexity is required in the research topic and analytically the thesis is expected to be more sophisticated than an MA dissertation. Thorough research, data evaluation and the opening of new perspectives will be taken into account. What does the degree comprise? The degree is awarded on the basis of a page academic thesis on an approved and original topic (generally, but not necessarily, on South African history) based on primary sources. In order to obtain this degree, you will need to demonstrate: originality in thinking and approach capacity to undertake primary and secondary research ability to locate and evaluate sources professional academic literary and technical presentation
17 13 competence to assess, analyse and compare data skills of communication and articulation in developing a sustained and sophisticated argument. From January 2010 all master's and doctoral students are required to register for and complete a research module before registration for the dissertation/thesis can be finalised. From January 2010 all master's and doctoral students are required to register for and complete a research module before registration for the dissertation/thesis can be finalised. Academic requirements A Master s degree (at least 60%, preferably more) in History or related disciplines from an acknowledged academic institution. The application process and research proposal Prospective students need first to approach the History Department to discuss their proposed work before applying formally for registration. The department will consider the following: A viable topic: At doctoral level it is expected from a prospective student to submit a topic of his/her choice, which must be substantiated by a detailed research proposal. Research proposal: A research proposal should be typed pages long. It is an integral part of the degree, and will be assessed with the thesis. You have twelve months from the date of registration to
18 14 finalise your proposal. The Higher Degrees Committee of the Department of History must approve your proposal before you may proceed with your thesis. It should contain the following elements: - An outline of the issue to be researched. - A motivation for the proposed topic (what you want to prove; what contribution to knowledge about the topic you intend to offer). This should include a historiographical survey of what has been written on the topic. - An indication of the different kinds of sources you intend consulting during your research (primary as well as secondary material). - A provisional division of your thesis into proposed chapters. - A research schedule, which provides a work plan and time-frame. Prospective students should send their research proposals in the form described above to the convenor of the Doctoral Programme: If the proposal is acceptable, the Department will recommend to the Department of Postgraduate Studies that you register as a doctoral student. A duly completed registration form together with a transcript of your complete academic record will then be required by the Department of Student Admissions and Registrations at UNISA. Accreditation of a student's academic qualifications is decided by this department and it handles all administrative enquiries.
19 Method of instruction 15 There are no residential requirements for studying at UNISA, which means that doctoral students are not expected to attend seminars or personal meetings with supervisors. All communication may be conducted via correspondence or electronic media. Students are, however, strongly encouraged to present and attend seminars, and to visit supervisors personally, if they are in a position to do so. When a research proposal has been approved and the student registered, direct contact with the supervisor can be made. The procedure entails the submission of completed work by the student, usually chapter by chapter. The supervisor comments on each chapter and sends it back to the student with suggestions for improvement. Whenever possible, a co-supervisor is also appointed to assist the supervisor. Examination Once your thesis has been completed, you will need to obtain permission to submit it for examination. You are refered to the brochure: General Information: Master s and Doctor s degrees for the correct procedures and more information. Permission is usually granted only if your supervisor considers that the thesis is of a high standard and that you have a reasonable chance of passing. You will need to inform your supervisor in good time so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. External examiners are appointed by the supervisor with the agreement of the Chair of Department of History and the University authorities.
20 16 Some of the criteria for examination are that the thesis: constitutes a substantial contribution to knowledge in the chosen field is original and independent work, showing insight and enhancing the literature demonstrates a high standard of research using a wide variety or complexity of sources shows the candidate s ability to handle methodological and analytical challenges of a sort commonly encountered in history demonstrates ability to present a large body of research results in a sustained and coherent scholarly analysis contains correct, coherent technical presentation of source referencing is satisfactory in terms of writing style and language. Once the examination process is over and any necessary corrections have been made, three copies (2 bound and 1 unbound) of the thesis and one copy in electronic format must be submitted to the University. Other institutions, such as the National Archives, may also require a copy. * * *
21 17 Prospective students should contact the doctoral co-ordinator: Prof JT du Bruyn Department of History P O Box 392 UNISA 0003 SOUTH AFRICA Tel: The Registrar Directorate: Student Admissions and Registrations) P O Box 392 UNISA 0003 MASTER S AND DOCTORAL ENQUIRIES: Telephone: International: Fax: POSTGRADUATE BURSARIES (research Master s and Doctoral only) Students are advised to contact the Directorate Student Funding should they wish to apply for funding or Tel. (012) ]. UNISA
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