Postgraduate programmes

Master of Science in Medicine (MSc MED) in Emergency Medicine

Programme convenor: Dr Colleen Saunders 

The MSc (MED) degree offered by UCT is a full research degree completed by dissertation only. Candidates will be required to undertake an advanced, approved research project under the guidance of a supervisor. This degree is not regarded as a basis for registration as a specialist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, but can be registered as an additional qualification.

Academic requirements

Minimum of a NQF level 8 degree (i.e. a 4-year Bachelor's degree, or 3-year Bachelor's + Honours) in the natural or health sciences

Advantageous: ​

  • Registration as a medical practitioner, ECP or nurse with the HPCSA
  • In date Advanced Life Support course status (ACLS, ATLS and APLS/PALS)

How much does it cost?

All information relating to fees, methods of payment and payment schedules is available in the UCT Fees Handbook. The MSc (MED) in Emergency Medicine is listed under the “Master of Science in Medicine” by dissertation, MM095.

Please note the additional administration fee payable by students who are not South African citizens or permanent residents.


You will need to apply online using the course code: CHM7055W. It is unlikely that your application will be successful if you have not consulted with the MSc lead, Dr Colleen Saunders, prior to application. When making contact, please outline your prior research experience as well as your research interests.

As a research degree, it is expected that students applying for the MSc have an understanding of basic research concepts and principles.  We therefore require potential candidates to complete an online skills assessment to ensure that all candidates are able to engage with the program appropriately and to identify what further support may be needed.

You will need to submit a summary of your research project for approval by the emergency medicine division research committee (EMDRC). Progression to proposal and registration might not be supported until the summary has passed this EMDRC summary stage. 

Following approval by the EMDRC, you will need to register at UCT, sign a memorandum of understanding with your supervisors and work on your proposal.  The expectation is that you develop your proposal and obtain research ethics approval within one year. 

International students will need to engage with UCT's International Academic Programmes Office in order to register.

Other information

The MSc dissertation is approximately 40,000 to 50,000 words in length, representing one to two publishable papers.

It is a requirement for completion of the MSc that you are registered for a minimum of one full academic year.  UCT's academic year runs from January to December, and you must be registered by the end of April each year in order for that year to count as a full academic year.

If after the first year of work on the dissertation, the candidate and the supervisor feel that there is good reason to upgrade the MSc to a PhD this will be considered by the Senate upon application.