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Registration - Research Degrees

** ALL REGISTRATION QUERIES - all queries about registration for postgraduate Law programmes must be sent to Please note that there will be delays in responding should queries be sent to a different address. 


First-time registration for Research Degree candidates

For research degree candidates, there is no specific date for first-time registration. However, those who want their first year to be counted as a full academic year for purposes of calculating the minimum period of registration must register by 01 May.

From 2021, registration will be totally online; students will be required to complete the MOU/Annual Supplement to the MOU and the selection of courses online by the deadline date as specified by the Faculty Office (2020: 12 March 2021).  A system service request will be sent to students in this regard.

Minimum period of registration

For a research masters degree, full-time candidates must be registered for at least one year; part-time candidates must be registered for at least two years.

In the case of a doctoral degree, candidates must be registered for at least two consecutive years, although registration for a year at another university may be accepted as part of that period.

Maximum period of registration

Although no maximum period of time is prescribed for completing a thesis, the University stipulates a 'reasonable time'. For doctoral theses, this period is generally taken to be five years. In any event, if a candidate is not making satisfactory progress, the Faculty's HDC may issue a warning, and, if necessary, may refuse re-registration.

Leave of absence and cancellation

Candidates who find it impossible to continue studies, but nevertheless intend to resume in the following year, must apply for a leave of absence in writing to the Faculty's Higher Degrees Committee before 28 February of the year in which they intend to put their studies on hold. Please refer to UCT Handbook 3: General Rules and Policies for the rules pertaining to Leave of Absence.

Candidates who decide to discontinue studies must formally cancel registration in writing. The letter of cancellation must be sent by registered mail or delivered in person to the Student Fees Office, Kramer Building, Middle Campus. This procedure is important, because, if candidates leave without cancelling their registration, they will continue to be liable for fees. Applications for retrospective cancellation are not accepted.

Renewal of registration

Before the Faculty Board approves re-registration, the supervisor must submit a report on progress.  If the candidate's progress was satisfactory, the report may be brief, indicating what work was completed, what still needs to be done and an estimation of when the thesis will be finished. If progress was not satisfactory, the supervisor must indicate why and how the candidate can improve.

Candidates for both masters and doctoral theses must renew their registration at the Faculty Office before the last Friday in prior to the commencement of term each year.