A Masters by Research is a means of obtaining an academic masters degree by writing a research report or dissertation. Unfortunately without a coursework Masters degree, individuals cannot be registered with the HPCSA in South Africa.
As an alternative to a coursework masters, a masters by research aims to help students explore the field of psychology in a specific area and improve their research skillset. This degree focuses on developing practical research expertise in quantitative, qualitative, mixed and applied research methods. These degrees equip students to be multi-skilled social science researchers, equipped to work in a range of research environments including science councils, government and policy research units, NGOs and advocacy organisations, independent research consulting, and market research or other corporate environments. These degrees can also serve as a basis for future PhD studies leading to a career in academia.
The MA by dissertation only is the most flexible form of advanced study as it enables students to focus entirely on completing a research dissertation, under the supervision of a staff member in the Department, on a topic of interest to the student and staff member. These degrees are usually selected by students who enjoy working independently and wish to pursue their interest in a particular topic. While this route may also lead to work in organisations or in the public sector, it is particularly appropriate for those wishing to pursue an academic career or specialist research work in a particular field. These masters degrees are often completed as either a full-time or part-time degree. Students are usually expected to complete the degree within one year full-time, or two years part-time.