Postgraduate programmes

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Emergency Medicine

South Africa faces many healthcare challenges. Our Healthcare system is seriously overburdened. The quadruple burden of disease means that a large amount of time, resources and skills are spent managing acute emergencies. Emergency Medicine is a relatively new speciality and while specialist services are always required, there is a need to upgrade the knowledge and skills of all individuals working in Emergency Care environments. 

Graduates will have an understanding of the principles of research methodology, clinical epidemiology and biostatistics. The research component will develop a foundation to promote and foster Emergency Care research in South Africa, encourage evidence-based practice and develop locally appropriate policies.

Please note: The MPhil in Emergency Medicine is not regarded as a basis for registration as a specialist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, but is a fully fledged Masters that may be registered as an additional qualification. Our MMed program caters to specialisation.

The MPhil in EM now offers 4 different streams to cater to individual interests and needs:.

  • Clinical Emergency Care
  • Global Emergency Care  (newly revamped stream running for the first time since 2014 in 2021)
  • Patient Safety (with either a 60- or 90-credit dissertation)
  • Disaster Medicine

The MPhil is offered as a combination of coursework and a minor dissertation. In all streams, if taken over two years, it equates to a workload of 16-20 hours per week towards the programme. For most people who are fully employed this is a tall order! So some candidates have now chosen to take a few modules before enrolling and to then join the programme and ask for credits and exemption (C&E) at a later stage, if they achieved a pass mark over 60%. Most of the material will be covered via an online portal, though each module has two contact sessions per semester, clustered together for those coming in from out of town. Candidates also have to be in Cape Town to write the examinations at the end of each semester.

Eligible candidates must hold a minimum of a NQF L8 degree (Honours or Professional Bachelors of >= 4 years study), and hold professional registration with either the HPCSA or the SANC (or equivalent if not from SA) - ie. medical doctors, paramedics or nurses.

This course is offered through a blended learning platform - the majority of the teaching and learning will be done online, but it will be supplemented by contact days at UCT. Not all of the contact days are compulsory, and some you can attend remotely. But you will need to write 6 monthly exams in Cape Town - so please calculate on a minimum of 3-4 trips to Cape Town every year.


MPhil (EM) applications for the full degree to start in Feb 2021 will close strictly on 30 September 2020 -

This is a competitive process and since our program is now well established, we have to turn away some students. We have  a rigorous review process and we will review each applicant, considering the qualifications, experience, workplace and motivation. In some cases following your application, we may ask you to complete a computer literacy test online.

For your application for the full degree (submitted when you apply online) to be considered, you must include the following::

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Motivation describing how the MPhil degree will further your career (max 1 page or 600 words)
  3. Copies of your academic transcript(s) and degree certificate(s) (translated if not in English)
  4. (for non-SA students - copy of passport front page)

International (non SA) Students - please refer to the UCT IAPO website for further information about the process.

For non-SA students you will require clearance from IAPO before you will be allowed to register - in most cases this will require pre-payment (by end Dec 2020) of a substantial fee for the year, and a copy of your passport. If you will be resident in Cape Town for more than 3 months as a student, you will likely require a study visa which has more requirements and takes longer to process - contact IAPO directly.)

How much does it cost?

‚ÄčEvery year we have students, particularly non-SADC students, who go through the application process successfully, only to discover the international course fees at the time of application which they may not be able to afford. So for transparency, below are the 2020 fees (likely to increase by 8-10% in 2021)

Detailed fee structures can be obtained from the UCT Fee Handbook. Below is a guideline for 2020 annual fees only: (for non-SA students, detailed fee structures can be obtained by IAPO and proforma invoices can be raised upon request)

1) South African Citizens and permanent residents - annual course fees (4 courses a year - each course approx R 5100 - 7570 each) annual course fee of +- R 19 320 - 22 451  (+ in your second or third year you will in addition register for your dissertation at +-R 20230)

2) SADC students (South African Development Community) above course fees PLUS R4200 Admin fee which will need to be paid in full by the end of December 2020 for registration in time to join 2021 coursework (Feb 2021)

3) International students (including non-SADC African students)
Above course fees PLUS R4200 Admin fee PLUS International fee (R49 990) which will need to be paid in full by the end of December 2020 for registration in time to join 2021 coursework (Feb 2021)

More information

Academic and programme queries: Associate Prof Peter Hodkinson (Programme convenor) | 

Application and registration queries: Salega Tape (Postgraduate Office) |  |  +27 21 406 6340

Administrative queries after acceptance: Abigail Seconds (MPhil Administrator) | |  +27 21 650 1828