In order to be awarded an Honours degree you are required to undertake Four Systematic Theory Modules. Each of these modules will count towards 20% of you final mark. Subject to approval from the stream convenor, two modules may be taken from other relevant departments at UCT. Students may take up to three of the systematic theory modules in the first semester. Your choice of modules must be formally approved by the head of your stream and written confirmation (signed by the head of stream) must be given to the Honours Convenor (Pippin Anderson) to enable the department to function effectively on your behalf (and to keep track of what you are up to).
You are also required to write a Research Project which will count for 20% of your final mark. This project must be carried out under the supervision of an academic within your research stream. The research project (dissertation) is an integral component of the Honours degree programme and it is not possible to be awarded an Honours degree without passing this component of the course. The research project accounts for 20% of the year total. The topic and research design must be approved by a supervisor before starting work on the project. Suggested project titles will be selected in consultation with a supervisor. The Project provides an introduction to the discipline of research. It should demonstrate an appreciation of research design, be set in a relevant philosophical and theoretical context, use appropriate methodology, analytical procedures and techniques and strive to reach the highest standards of description, discussion, interpretation and presentation.
It is important that the scale of the research undertaken for the project be contained to a level appropriate to the task at hand. Projects should be between 7000 and 10 000 words. In the evaluation of the project, stress is laid upon: The conceptual framework and literature survey, problem formulation and research design, application of theory/concepts in empirical analysis and interpretation, data collection, manipulation and interpretation, and quality and style of dissertation presentation.
Research Proposal: Before embarking on the research project, each student must prepare a project proposal in collaboration with a supervisor and approved by the Honours co-ordinator. The proposal will be presented to a select sub-committee comprising staff and students. The nature of the research project, its aims, objectives, conceptual/theoretical context, and methodology should be outlined. The sub-committee will offer constructive critical comment and the members of staff will provide a mark assessment based on both the verbal and written proposal. To clarify thought on the components of the research project constructive discussion on the proposal should be offered by the audience at this open seminar.
Research Report Back: This forms the second of the two compulsory seminars. The presentation of the research findings from the student project should take up approximately 15 minutes of presentation time. During this period students should strive to establish a focus concerning their research topic, to define their argument clearly, to encapsulate it in relatively few strongly made points and to arrive at a clearly stated conclusion. Use of visual aids is encouraged. Each presentation will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion and questions.
Your progress will be assessed in July, at the end of the first semester, and if you are considered to not be meeting the required standard the department may advise that you do not continue the course. This is not something to be unduly worried about, but may help to focus the mind. Guidelines for academic writing can be found on here. Your head of stream should explain the required standards and your supervisor should be able to help you to meet them.
For more on applications please go to: Honours Applications