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Application & Admission

Application and admission to UCT's School for Advanced Legal Studies

The School for Advanced Legal Studies offers both coursework and research programmes.  The application requirements and processes are slightly different depending on whether one's focus is coursework or research.


Applications for research degrees closed 31 August 2020. Applications re-open 1 April 2021.

Applications for coursework-based programmes close 30 September 2020.

Admission Requirements

Do you satisfy the admission requirements for the postgraduate Law programme you want to apply for? Have a look at the Faculty Handbook before you apply for one of our postgraduate diploma programmes, or any of our LLM, MPhil and PhD programmes. If you meet the admission requirements, you can apply online here.

UCT has a detailed information booklet on how to apply to UCT for postgraduate study, and there is also specialised information on applying to do your PhD at UCT - so, if a PhD is your goal, read this information carefully.

Please note: UCT Law does not have a formal second semester intake, so all coursework programme applicants must apply by 30 September. If you have any queries in this regard please direct them to

Are you an International applicant?

There are particular requirements for international applicants and prospective students. You would need to obtain an international student study permit from the South African Embassy/High Commission or Consulate in your home country which will allow you to enter South Africa for study purposes.

International applicants are therefore encouraged to apply by no later than 31 August to enhance the chances of receiving visas in time for registration. Please note there are often significant delays in processing visa applications.       

Required application documents

PG Dip - LLM - MPhil: Coursework programme applications

Applicants must apply online and supply the following supporting documents:

  1. Certified copies of full academic transcripts, including a grading legend from your institution explaining the local marking system
  2. Full CV
  3. 500 word motivation for proposed study
  4. Names and contact details of two referees (at least one of which is academic)
  5. Proof of English proficiency (if necessary)

For further information on requirements for coursework programmes, contact Clare Richfield in the Faculty Office. 

PhD and Research Masters applications

Applicants/ candidates must apply online through UCT's Central Admissions Office. The following documents are required for online research programme application:

  • A brief CV
  • Official transcript (unless the applicant is a UCT graduate)
  • Contact details of two academic referees
  • A 3-4 page (1500 words) research statement (the statement of interest form can be found here).

Once your application for a research degree programme (PhD, LLM and MPhil research degrees) has been submitted, the Higher Degrees Committee (HDC) may refer the application to a possible supervisor to assess the viability of the subject. The proposal, together with the supervisor’s report, is then submitted to the HDC.

The HDC may approve full registration or it may recommend provisional registration for a period of up to six months, during which time the applicant will be required to improve the thesis proposal with the assistance of a prospective supervisor. In addition, the applicant may be asked to fulfil one or more of the following requirements:

  • attend certain courses, including regular attendance at the Writing Centre
  • present a seminar on the research topic
  • undergo an oral examination
  • submit a piece of work written for another university, such as an assignment or minor dissertation
  • comply with any other conditions considered necessary.

Where required, application must be made for ethics approval of a research project.

At the end of a period of provisional registration, the HDC may recommend:

  • registration for LLM/MPhil
  • registration for LLM/MPhil, with the possibility of upgrading to PhD
  • registration for a PhD.

For further information on requirements for research degree applications, contact Patricia Phillips in the Faculty Office.