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Doctoral and Research Master’s Applications

Apply for Doctoral and Master's research-based programmes in the Law Faculty for 2020

The Faculty of Law invites applications for admission to PhD and Master’s programmes in the departments of Public, Commercial and Private Law.

Master of Laws by dissertation

Candidates for the LLM may qualify for admission provided that they have:

  • a law degree of the University or equivalent degrees from another university recognised by Senate for this purpose, or
  • in any other manner attained a level of competence which, in the opinion of Senate (which acts on recommendation by the Law Faculty), is adequate for purposes of admission.

The same rules apply to the MPhil, with the exception that candidates may qualify if they have an honours degree from UCT or another university recognised by Senate.

Doctoral degrees

Candidates for the PhD may qualify for admission if they have:

  • a masters degree
  • an honours degree, or a four-year bachelor's degree, plus at least one year's registration for a masters degree
  • a three-year bachelor's degree plus at least two years registration for a masters degree
  • an LLB or BProc degree (or any qualification recognised as being the equivalent)
  • in special circumstances, an approved bachelor's degree or qualification recognised as equivalent.

Candidates for the LLD may qualify for admission if they have produced a substantial and original body of work that has already been published. The work must be of such a quality as to establish the candidate as the leading authority in the field.

The focus areas for each department are as follows:

Public Law

Administrative Justice; Constitutionalism and the rule of Law in Africa; Criminal Justice; Criminology and Governance of Security; Democratisation; Environmental Law; Evidence; International and Regional Human Rights Law and Practice; Law and Society; Land and Policy; Legal Pluralism and Human Rights; Traditional Leaders; Public International Law; International Criminal Law; Constitutional Law; Public Accountability; Forced Migration ( including Refugee law, Statelessness and Internal Displacement); Children’s Rights; and Women’s Rights.

Commercial Law

Company Law; Commercial Regulation; Comparative Law in Africa; Intellectual Property Law; International Taxation; Labour Law; Law and Development in Africa; Tax Law;  Contracts and Specific Contracts.

Private Law

African Customary Law; Civil Procedure; Conflict of Laws; Contract/Consumer Protection; Delict; Family Law (including Women and Children’s Law);  Jurisprudence and Legal Theory; Legal Education; Mineral Law and Expropriation Law; Private Law and Human Rights; Property Law (in particular related to Land and Natural/Mineral/Fuel Resources); Rhetoric Studies; and Succession.

Online applications supported by the following documentation will be accepted here:

Successful applicants will be given probationary registration for a period of six months, during which they will be required to finalise their thesis/dissertation proposals under the guidance of their supervisors. In addition, they will be required to participate in a week-long preparatory course at the end of January 2019, and thereafter a course on language and legal reasoning with weekly meetings over a ten-week period.

At the end of the period of probationary registration, final thesis/dissertation proposals must be submitted for consideration by the Faculty’s Higher Degrees Committee, which may then recommend entry into a doctoral or master’s programme or a postgraduate diploma.


A limited number of scholarships are offered to address historic disadvantage, with particular (but not exclusive) focus on black South African students.

The faculty may also offer scholarships to cover tuition fees only to up to ten applicants for a period of one year for Master's studens and up to three years for PhD students, subject to satisfactory progress. A limited number of NRF grantholder-linked scholarships is available for candidates in African Customary Law and Criminal Justice. Only South African citizens and permanent residents are eligible for these NRF scholarships.

The final date for all research degree applications in the Law Faculty is 31 August 2019. For further information click here or contact Patricia Phillips at patricia.phillips@uct.ac.za

UCT is committed to the pursuit of excellence, diversity and redress in achieving its equity targets. For these programmes we seek particularly to attract black South African candidates.

Patricia Phillips | Postgraduate Manager, Faculty of Law

Patricia.phillips@uct.ac.za | Tel (021) 650 5409