Academic Programmes

M.Sc. and Ph.D. Degree Programmes

Entry Requirements

Students applying to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. programmes must have a B.Sc. Honours degree (or equivalent) in geology, mathematics, applied mathematics, physics, engineering or computer science.

In general, all students who desire to underdake an M.Sc. or Ph.D. post-graduate studies should carefully consider a possible research topic before applying, and identify a supervisor with whom they wish to study. It is important to make contact with potential mentors. Useful information in this regard can be found on the SoG website

Within the AfricaArray programme, thesis projects will be available covering the wide range of expertise of the academic and honorary staff attached to the Programme. AfricaArray seismic and other geophysical data will be available to students wishing to use these data for thesis research projects (View Scientific Observatories information). Students may wish to bring data sets from their home countries for research projects, and it is anticipated that many industry and government data sets (i.e., gravity, magnetics, MT, seismic reflection, mine seismicity etc) will be made available for student thesis research projects.

It is important to note that initial registration in the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree programme is provisional. Candidates are considered for confirmation (formal acceptance) by the University Graduate Studies Committee only after a period of up to 6 months, by which stage the students should have submitted a research proposal for consideration by the committee.

Application Material

Application forms and other information may be downloaded from the Wits University Postgraduate Website

Degree Requirements

The University of the Witwatersrand specifies formal degree requirements in the Faculty of Science booklet “Rules and Syllabuses”, printed annually. This booklet is available from the Faculty of Science Office in the Gate House and from the SoG Main Office. A short summary of important points is given below.

M.Sc. by Research


Research Proposal

Within the first 6 months after initial registration, each M.Sc. or Ph.D. student must submit a formal Research Proposal for approval by the University Graduate Studies Committee. The proposal is usually reviewed by the supervisor(s) before formal submission. A 1-page summary entitled Guidelines for the Research Proposal may be obtained from the Faculty of Science.


In general, each post-graduate student must have a staff member who serves as primary supervisor for the M.Sc. or Ph.D. degree. Co-supervisors may be appointed, usually by mutual consent between the student and primary supervisor. Co-supervisors may be other staff members at Wits University, individuals from outside the University (e.g. at other South African Universities, Research Councils and/or industry), or from overseas institutions.

In the AfricaArray programme, M.Sc. and Ph.D. students will have a primary supervisor at Wits, and an additional supervisor at an AfricaArray-affiliated institution in the U.S. or Europe, as part of the “sandwich” programme described in the Overview section. For more information see list of AfricaArray-affiliated institutions and faculty at those institutions (View list). Faculty in the U.S. and Europe who are interested in co-supervising AfricaArray students should contact Profs. Nyblade ( or Dirks (

Thesis/Dissertation Examination

Upon completion, a student’s thesis/dissertation will be presented for formal examination to the student’s supervisor(s) and to one or more appointed external examiners. External examination is important to ensure quality control of the research carried out.