Stakeholder needs are varied and include areas such as agriculture, natural science and conservation. In the Province of Mpumalanga, and the country as a whole, it is becoming increasingly important to address the competing demands for land, being demands from people for land for settlement, for agriculture, for conservation and for mining. This pressure on the available land is further exacerbated by climate change. The decisions and choices that must be made must be evidence-based and the evidence will come from original research. The Master of Science is designed to contribute to the provision of skilled postgraduates with a deep understanding of the natural and environmental sciences, and the ability to undertake original and independent research that will provide some of the answers to the challenges that face society.
The fundamental purpose of the Master of Science is to provide students with an opportunity to undertake independent and original primary research under supervision and contribute to the development of knowledge at an advanced level. Whilst undertaking the research project, students will gain first-hand experience of all aspects of the research process. On completion of the Master of Science, students will be able to undertake further independent research and contribute to the generation of new knowledge.
Students registered for the Master of Science will undertake independent research and report on this to reflect independent thinking, originality, critical analysis, ability to defend findings, and advanced insight into the chosen field of research. The field of research must be in a discipline within the Life Sciences (CESM category 13).
The Master of Science is by research under supervision which will be provided through direct contact between the student and supervisor. All of the time will be spent on self-directed, but supervised, research. As such, Master of Science students will not attend lectures or tutorials, nor will they work in syndicate groups. Although the work will be independent, it will not include independent study of standard texts and references, nor will it include independent study of specially prepared materials.
The learning activities are all those that are associated with self-directed, independent, but supervised research. These include but are not limited to:
- The development of a research question;
- Preparation of a literature review in support of the research question and project proposal;
- Preparation of a project proposal with time frames;
- Selection of appropriate methodology for data collection and statistical analysis;
- Field/laboratory work and data collection;
- Collation, synthesis and analysis of data;
- Integration of results with the canon of knowledge in the area;
- Dissertation preparation;
- Communication in writing and the spoken word;
- Where necessary, and on a student-by-student basis, Master of Science students will attend one or more of a range of workshops to address needs identified by the student and supervisor.
The minimum requirements for admission are:
- A BSc Honours (NQSF level 8) qualification, or a 4-year first degree with exit at level 8 in the sciences, or a Postgraduate Diploma in an appropriate field, with a pass of at least 60%.
Students will be considered on a monthly basis and students who meet or exceed the minimum entrance requirements will be offered places.
The Master of Science is at exit level 9 on the HEQSF, with a requirement of 180 credits as a minimum. The Master of Science is offered over 2 years, full time.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CAT)
The University accepts Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as an integral part of education and academic practice. It is acknowledged that all learning has value and the University accepts the challenge to assess prior learning that is aligned to programmes and award credit (through CAT) to promote lifelong learning. The purpose of the University of Mpumalanga’s RPL and CAT policy, is to recognize prior learning in order to provide for admission to programmes, grant advanced placement in programmes and grant credits for modules using the principles and processes that serve as basis for RPL practices.
Graduates from the Master of Science will be able to continue into a PhD programme in the appropriate field of study.