Background

Our postgraduate research programme is part of the Social Transformation Focus Area and the focus is on communication in changing contexts. This implies that in the themes of postgraduate studies we focus on addressing communication challenges arising from changes that are predominant in the South African context.
The aim of focused research is to ensure quality supervision. By limiting the scope of research topics, we ensure expertise and quality supervision in the chosen field of study.

Possible themes

We broadly distinguish between studies in Journalism and Media Studies, Corporate Communication and Development Communication. However, sometimes topics can relate to more than one field of study.
 
Currently supervision focuses on the following themes:
 
  • Branding and reputation management (Corporate Communication)
  • Community media (Journalism; Development Communication)
  • Corporate social responsibility communication (Corporate Communication, Development Communication)
  • Election communication (Development Communication, Media Studies)
  • Marketing management and marketing communication (Corporate Communication)
  • Media management (Journalism and Media Studies, Corporate Communication)
  • Nature of communication in development contexts (Development Communication)
  • Nature of communication in internal and external corporate environments (Corporate Communication)
  • News quality (misinformation, news literacy and ethics) (Journalism and Media Studies)
  • News making (news production, news dissemination) (Journalism and Media Studies)
  • Relationship management (Corporate Communication)
  • Social media (Journalism and Media Studies, Corporate Communication, Development Communication)
  • Teaching and learning (Journalism and Media Studies)
If you wish to study with us, the theme of your dissertation should fall within the broad scope of the above-mentioned fields. Please note that we have no course work. A full dissertation is the only option.

What is expected of you?

You are required to attend two formal contact sessions during the first year of your study:
 
  • A two-day workshop focusing on what you can expect from postgraduate study and writing your research proposal is presented in January. You attend this workshop only in your first year of registration.
  • The second contact session is a workshop in July, with the focus on research methods, including the literature study. The workshop is primarily aimed at first-year students, but some senior students are also invited to share their experiences.
Sessions between students and supervisors are negotiated on an individual basis.
Your research proposal (title registration) needs to be completed within six months of registration.

How does the application process work?

  • Formally apply for admission by the end of September in the year before you plan to register. 
  • In November there will be a “paper screening”. (See the relevant section on what should be included in your application.) If your application is successful, you will be granted provisional acceptance and a mentor will be assigned to you.
  • If you are provisionally accepted, you need to start reading in preparation for the January workshop. Your mentor will guide you in this process.
  • You need to successfully present your research proposal to a selection panel in March to be officially admitted to the programme. If you are accepted in the programme you are allowed to register and start finalising your proposal.
 
Requirements for master's degree studies
In addition to General Rule A.4.2 of the University, the following is also applicable:
 
a) To gain admission to this master’s degree, a student must have obtained an honours degree in the relevant field of study with a minimum average of 65%. Alternatively, applicants must have the status of such a qualification granted on request by the Senate by attaining a level of competence which, in the opinion of Senate, on the recommendation of the faculty, is adequate for the purposes of admission as a candidate for the degree. An applicant for registration must give evidence of their attainments and education and complete such preliminary work as the Senate may require, and must satisfy the Senate as to the suitability of their subject of choice. An evaluation certificate as issued by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) must be submitted if a previous qualification was obtained in a foreign country.
b) Admission to programme L801P/M depends on a screening/selection process scheduled for October of the previous year. Information with regard to this process can be obtained from the director of the Social Transformation Research Focus Area.
c) Admission is limited according to capacity available in the School of Communication Studies.
d) Should the programme not yet be filled to capacity, and an applicant does not meet the requirement of 65% but has obtained the degree with an average of 60 to 64%, an application for consideration to be admitted to this programme can be submitted to the relevant school/research director. The application should include a complete academic record and a one-page motivation explaining why the application should be considered. School/entity directors of programmes that are filled to capacity will not consider any applications below 65%.

Requirements for doctoral studies

Apart from the requirements set out in General rule A.5.2 of the University, the following applies:
 
a) A student must have obtained a master’s degree with a minimum average of 65% in the field of study in which the student intends to enrol. Alternatively, applicants must have the status of such a master’s degree granted on request by the Senate by attaining a level of competence that, in the opinion of Senate, on the recommendation of the faculty, is adequate for the purposes of admission as a candidate for the degree. An applicant for registration must give evidence of their attainments and education and complete such preliminary work as the Senate may require, and must satisfy the Senate as to the suitability of their subject. An evaluation certificate as issued by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) must be submitted if a previous qualification was obtained in a foreign country.
b) Admission is limited according to capacity available in the School of Communication Studies.
c) Should the programme not yet be filled to capacity, and an applicant does not meet the requirement of 65% but has obtained the degree with an average of 60 to 64%, an application for consideration to be admitted to this programme can be submitted to the relevant school/research director. The application should include a complete academic record and a one-page motivation explaining why the application should be considered. School/entity directors of programmes that are filled to capacity will not consider any applications below 65%.

What should be included in my application?

  • Academic record
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Short outline of your proposed study (inquire for the template)
  • Letter motivating why you want to enrol for MA studies
  • Examples of academic writing
If you have more questions you can direct them to:
Prof Lynnette Fourie (research programme leader) at Lynnette.Fourie@nwu.ac.za