Types of Postgraduate Degree
The Law Faculty offers five types of postgraduate degrees. Candidates wishing to register for a Masters degree have the choice of:
- LLM/MPhil by coursework. This is administered by the School for Advanced Legal Studies. Further information may be obtained from the SALS Administrative Officer (+27 21 6502997 or email@example.com).
- LLM by dissertation. When the dissertation is dedicated to a topic of exclusively legal interest, it will be administered by the Faculty’s Higher Degrees Committee. Further information may be obtained from the Deputy Faculty Manager (+27 21 6505409 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
- MPhil. In this case, the dissertation will span two or more disciplines. If the topic is predominantly legal, the thesis will be registered in the Law Faculty and will be dealt with by the Faculty’s Higher Degrees Committee. If the topic falls mainly within another discipline, however, registration should be sought in the relevant Faculty.
Candidates wanting to register for a doctoral degree have the choice of:
- PhD, which is the general doctorate, is available for both purely legal and interdisciplinary research.
- LLD, which is a senior doctorate offered only in the Law Faculty. This degree is awarded as a mark of respect to distinguished scholars, who have an established reputation based on their published works. These works must represent an original contribution to or substantial advance on knowledge in the field.
All doctoral degrees are administered partly by the Law Faculty and partly by the University’s Doctoral Degrees Board. The latter body has final say in deciding whether to register candidates and what result is to be awarded for the examination.
Although originality in postgraduate research is always desirable, it is not an exclusive requirement (especially for a Masters degree). Instead, a thesis should constitute a significant advance in knowledge on the subject, of such a standard that publication in a reputable journal would be justified.
Candidates must therefore show that they have:
- a thorough knowledge of the chosen subject
- mastered techniques required for competent research in law
- the capacity for independent thought and sound reasoning
- satisfactorily presented the results of research
An LLM or MPhil dissertation may be either a single treatise on a ‘subject of legal interest' or ‘a series of four sparate treatises on cognate areas of the law’. All of these should be of sufficient quality to be published in a reputable law journal. Whichever form is chosen, the final text must not exceed 40 000 words in length.
A doctoral thesis, on the other hand, must always be a single treatise. It may not exceed 80 000 words in length, unless permission is given by the Dean, in consultation with the supervisor.