Department of Economics

Masters and Doctoral studies in Economics

Supervisors and research fields

Staff in the Department of Economics can offer supervision in a broad range of fields. Supervisors currently supervise studies in the following research focus areas:

More information on the different research focus areas, staff research interests and current Masters and Doctoral students is available on our Departmental website under Research.

Current graduate students

The department currently has about 85masters and doctoral students at different stages in the postgraduate programmes. Please click here for more information on our current Masters and Doctoral students.

Prospective students (2024)


Research at postgraduate level is very different from honours level. At Masters and indeed PhD level, the work belongs to the student. We cannot force a topic on a student as this has implications in terms of the student’s interest and capacity to handle the topic. Thus, as with best practices across the world, a student must do the necessary research and develop a viable, relevant proposal. At this level, an applicant who intends to pursue a Masters or Doctoral degree MUST have a good understanding of (i) the area within which he/she is interested, (ii) the current discussions within that area and (iii) be able to at provide a convincing explanation in terms of the viability, applicability and motivation for the study.

It is advised that all prospective applicants go through the department’s website, the research focus areas described above, and the research publications of the supervision team and familiarise yourself with the team’s area of interest/research/publication works. After this, prospective applicants should then work on a viable proposal and contact the appropriate lecturer early on to determine if they (i) they have space on their supervision team (ii) are willing to supervise the topic.

To assist you as you develop a workable proposal, the list of topics that have been supervised and that are under supervision currently should be consulted and interrogated extensively, so that prospective students do not duplicate topics.

Prospective students are required to consult the recommended outline for Masters and Doctoral proposals before applying.

Finally, prospective students can contact the Masters or Doctoral coordinators or individual staff members to discuss their intended research agenda. Please familiarise yourself with the application procedures and timelines detailed on the Unisa postgraduate applications page.

Selection process

Applicants' attention is drawn to section 3.1 of the Procedure for Masters and Doctoral Degrees that states “The minimum qualifications for admission to Master’s and Doctoral studies are set out in the Admissions Policy and are informed by the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (2013). UNISA is, however, not obliged to accept any prospective student who meets the minimum requirement as there may be other factors on the basis of which the prospective student cannot be accepted. Factors that will be considered before admitting the prospective student to register include, but are not limited to, the following: the prospective student’s academic record, the topic he or she wishes to research, the capacity and expertise to supervise the prospective student and possible limitations imposed by enrolment planning. Such factors will be indicated on the college websites”.

Please note that the department only has space for a maximum of 35 new postgraduate students in our 2023 programme, which means that the competition to undertake a Masters and Doctoral degree is very high and the selection criteria is stringent. This also implies that unfortunately not all applicants who meet the minimum requirements can be accommodated.

Assessment of proposals

All applicants accepted into the programme will be expected to produce a viable proposal within a year as stipulated in the Procedure for Masters and Doctoral Degrees. Moreover, all successful applicants will be required to present their proposals at the scheduled Departmental M&D Colloquiums, which will be organised during the year. Successful proposal presentation is a pre-requisite to continuing in the programme. Admission of students into the programme is an opportunity to work on a proposal and is not an automatic guarantee that students will continue to the dissertation/ thesis phase.

Funding opportunities

Unisa M&D bursaries for 2023

Unisa provides funding opportunities for Masters and Doctoral students for the dissertation and thesis phase of the degree. Bursary applications open in November of every year and closes at the end of March. Details on the bursary information, requirements and motivation form can be accessed here.

NRF Postgraduate student funding for 2023

Information on the funding opportunities provided by the NRF can be accessed here.

Last modified: 2023/09/21