For the Masters by Coursework and Dissertation, applications open April  and close on 30 September. Applications for the Masters by Dissertation do not have a closing date. Please see below for instructions on how to apply.

The Masters programmes in Computers Science involve two years of full-time study undertaken after completion of an Honours degree in Computer Science. Admission is competitive, not guaranteed, and is primarily on the basis of academic results. It is designed to provide students with the professional basis for a career path in the computer industry, and/or to enable them to embark upon a research programme at Doctoral level.

There are two possibilities:

  • The Masters by Coursework and Dissertation involves a first year of coursework and a second year during which a mini-dissertation is completed. It is a full-time degree with no part-time options offered. Find out more about the courses.
  • The Masters by Dissertation involves two years of research during which a dissertation is completed. To be accepted for this programme, the student must already have identified a supervisor who is willing and able to take them on as a student.

Information about funding opportunities can be found here.

More detailed information about the masters programme can be found in the current masters handbook.

If you need information in addition to the information contained on this page, please contact the Postgraduate Coordinator (pgcoordinator at cs dot uct dot ac dot za).

  • Masters by Coursework and Dissertation

    In the first year of study, a student completes coursework totalling 90 credits, comprising a compulsory course in Research Methods (18 credits) and six elective courses (12 credits each). The coursework year is a year of full-time intensive work and it is impossible to combine it with outside work. At the beginning of the second year of study, once they have passed the required coursework, a student enrols for the mini-dissertation component. The degree has been completed once a student has passed both the coursework and the mini-dissertation component.

    The coursework aims to provide students with an overview of those fields of Computer Science in which the department conducts research:

    • Research Methods (compulsory)
    • Databases for Data Scientists
    • Distributed Scientific Computing
    • Evolutionary Computation
    • Human Computer Interaction
    • Information Retrieval
    • Intelligent Systems
    • Introduction to ICT for Development
    • Introduction to Image Processing and Computer Vision
    • Logics for Artificial Intelligence
    • Machine Learning
    • Multi-Dimensional Data Visualization
    • Natural Language Processing
    • Natural Language Generation
    • Networks and Internet Systems
    • Ontology Engineering

    Upon successful completion of the coursework component, students will be required to register for the mini-dissertation component and complete a suitable research project under supervision of an appropriate computer science academic staff member. The research component will expose the student to research methodology, experimental design, data analysis techniques, and dissertation writing skills. Students should be in a position to submit the final dissertation before the end of the second year.

    More details can be found in the Science Faculty Handbook.

    How to apply:

    Apply on the University of Cape Town's central applications system for the appropriate degree:

    • Level of Qualification: Masters
    • Faculty: Science
    • Academic Qualification: Master of Science (by coursework & dissertation)(90 Crsewrk/90 diss)
    • Specialisation or Major: Computer Science (do NOT choose Information Technology)
    • Note that your application will need to include full academic transcripts and a research proposal

    Applications for 2025 are now open and will close on 30 September 2024. You will be notified of the outcome of your application about a month after that.

  • Masters by Dissertation

    This degree comprises an investigation of an approved topic chosen for intensive study by the student, culminating in the submission of a dissertation. The dissertation will demonstrate the successful completion of a programme of training in research methods, a thorough understanding of the scientific principles underlying the research and an appropriate acquaintance with the relevant literature. It must be clearly presented and conform to the standards of the department and faculty. The dissertation will usually consist of a report detailing the conduct, and analysis of the results of, research performed under the close guidance of a suitably qualified supervisor(s).

    The dissertation should be well­-conceived and acknowledge earlier research in the field. It should demonstrate the ability to undertake a substantial and informed piece of research, and to collect, organise and analyse material.

    How to apply

    In order to be accepted for a Masters by Dissertation in Computer Science at the University of Cape Town, you must first identify a supervisor who is willing to take you on.

    Please look at the list of academic staff members in Computer Science and contact individuals in your area of interest. Please, only contact staff if you are interested in working in their research area. Blanket emails across the entire department are ignored and deleted.

    Once you have identified a potential supervisor who is willing to supervise you, please complete the following steps:

    Apply on the University of Cape Town's central applications system for the appropriate degree:

    • Level of Qualification: Masters
    • Faculty: Science
    • Academic Qualification: Master of Science (by dissertation)
    • Specialisation or Major: Computer Science
    • As part of your application your will need to include a research proposal. This should clearly state under the title the name of your supervisor.

    There are no opening or closing dates for applications. You can apply at any stage. You will be notified of the outcome of your application soon after you have completed the application process.