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Admission requirements

  • An appropriate Honours degree (the first postgraduate degree after a Bachelor’s degree) or a four-year Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, economics, accounting or commerce; OR
  • A three-year Bachelor’s degree and a postgraduate diploma (120 SAQA credits) from a university or a university of technology in business, finance, economics, accounting or commerce; OR
  • A postgraduate degree in any discipline and appropriate experience in the area of development economics and/or finance; AND
  • A sound understanding of quantitative analysis – a good pass/grade for school-leaving mathematics is an advantage.

IMPORTANT: The Bachelor’s or Honours degree must be on a level that is equivalent to the South African qualification. Local and foreign academic qualifications have to be at the NQF 7 level (old) or NQF 8 level (new). This implies that the qualification includes a module in Research Methodology and an individual research paper.

Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning

USB provides wider access to its programmes through its Assessment and Recognition of Prior Learning (ARPL) process. In line with the requirements of the Council for Higher Education (CHE), USB may admit up to 10% of its student body under ARPL.

In order to be admitted to a Master's programme at USB, candidates should be in possession of a relevant NQF 8 qualification, such as an Honours degree, 4-year in-depth Bachelor's degree or a postgraduate diploma.​

Candidates who wish to be admitted under the ARPL policy will firstly have to submit all the documentation and tests as required for all prospective students. In addition, prospective students applying for a Master's degree at USB have to adhere to the following:

  1. Have at least an NQF 6 qualification.
  2. Have at least SIX years of working experience after obtaining the qualification mentioned in 1, of which at least THREE years should have been in a management or related professional position.
  3. Submit a comprehensive CV, indicating detailed areas of responsibility as well as information on activities outside the work environment.
  4. Write an assignment of 10 to 15 pages (11-point font size with 1.5 spacing) on a topic supplied by the programme head. The assignment must contain a signed declaration of own work.
  5. Provide USB with at least two references (typically current or former line heads) who can testify about the candidate's managerial or related professional abilities. These references will be required to give a detailed personal reference about the candidate on forms provided by USB.
  6. Next, USB's Admissions Committee (head of the programme and another academic) will conduct an in-depth interview with the candidate.
  7. If the Committee is of the opinion that the candidate has the abilities to cope with the demands of the MDevF programme, he/she may be admitted.
  8. A recommendation of admission is sent via USB's Academic Planning Committee to the Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences for notification. 

9.       Note that ARPL candidates need to apply by 30 October each year to allow sufficient time for the assessment process.


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