Postgraduate Studies


How do I apply for Honours / MA?
Where do I apply for Honours?
Apply online on the UCT admissions website: Application Form.

Or follow the links on the UCT page.

You will be asked to provide the following documents with your application:

A letter of motivation

Indicate to us why you want to undertake the course and tell us why you would be a good candidate for the programme. We want to know that this programme will serve you well and that you have appropriate expectations about the kind of work we will be doing. You may use this letter to explain your academic background or any other training and let us know how this will prepare you for the course.

Academic transcripts

This is an official print out of the results from your previous tertiary institution.

A writing sample

Here you should provide an example of your best academic writing. We use this to see how well you write and to determine whether your writing is of adequate level for you to undertake the honours course. Students usually submit their best academic essays.

If you intend to do the screenwriting elective or dissertation project it would be a good idea to submit a screenplay in addition to an academic essay.

A research proposal

In this piece of writing you should give us a sense of what you would like to write about in your Honours dissertation. You should indicate an area of interest related to the honours programme you are applying for. For example, you might want to study South African soap opera or French New Wave Cinema. Indicate what interests you about these texts and what questions you might want to consider in relation to them. You may also indicate any theoretical approaches you would like to apply to your analysis of your chosen texts. Remember that we just want to see an indication of your interests. We will develop a fuller research proposal once you are accepted and paired with a supervisor. If you want to undertake a screenplay for your dissertation you should supply a description of the format and premise of your screenplay and a brief synopsis of your story.

How can I further develop my knowledge of digital media during Honours?

You should ask to be nominated as a lab tutor and should also sign up for the Social media analysis research elective, or for a data journalism Internship with Code4SA. Courses such as Mobile Media and Communication and the Creative project allow you to further develop your repertoire.

These, along with the Internship and the mini-dissertation also provide opportunities for projects in user-centred design, community co-design, visualisation, Internet studies, or user experience research. Top students are considered for placement in the ICT4D research lab, where selected CFMS students enjoy learning in an interdisciplinary environment together with graphic designers, programmers, development experts and digital innovators from across the African continent.

How should I submit my portfolio/showreel?

As Central Admissions only deals with electronic applications, please send your portfolio work / showreel to:

Centre for Film and Media Studies
c/o Mr Petros Ndlela
Rm 208 AC Jordan Building
University of Cape Town
Private Bag X3

What are the application guidelines for PhD and MA by dissertation only applicants?

You will need to submit:

  • A formal application
  • A research proposal
  • One academic writing sample that attests to your research and writing skills

Your research proposal of 5-10 pages should outline:

  • Your research question
  • The rationale / motivation for your proposed dissertation
  • Your proposed methodology
  • Your proposed theoretical framework / point of departure
  • A bibliography

Helpful Links

Humanities Faculty guidelines
Application process
International students
International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO)
CFMS PhD in Media Studies
CFMS MA by dissertation in Media Studies
MA in Film Studies by dissertation
PhD in Film Studies


Postgraduate Administrator: Mr Petros Ndlela:

Programme Convener (Media): Associate Prof. Musawenkosi Ndlovu:

Programme Convener (Film): Dr Alexia Smit:

What research topics can CFMS staff supervise?

Associate Prof Lesley Marx

  • Adaptation (incl. novels, plays, history, biography and the city)
  • Girlhood
  • Actors and acting
  • Melodrama
  • Fantasy (incl. gothic and magical realism)

Dr Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk

  • South African film
  • Film and environment
  • Environmental documentary
  • Terrence Malick
  • Film Noir

Dr Martha Evans

  • Political transition and the media
  • The history of the media in South Africa
  • Live broadcasting and media events theory
  • The ethics of narrative literary journalism
  • Creative projects: Print journalism

Associate Prof Marion Walton

  • Children, youth and digital media;
  • Social and mobile media;
  • Game studies;
  • Search and algorithmic culture, political economy of new media;
  • ICT for development (education/literacy);
  • Creative projects: Web, mobile, social media mashups, data journalism

Preferred research methods
Ethnography, Discourse, Multimodal and/or visual analysis, Social network analysis

Criteria for potential students

  1. FAM2009S, FAM3007F & FAM3008S OR equivalent background (e.g. New Media training or programming experience, esp for Creative projects) OR
  2. Social media elective

Prof Adam Haupt

  • Critical race theory & gender politics
  • Hip-hop
  • Counterculture & youth culture/s
  • Intellectual property rights, culture & technology
  • Critiques of corporate globalisation
  • Political economy of the media / social media

Associate Prof Martin Botha

  • South African/African cinema
  • Cinema and marginality
  • The representation of gays / lesbians in cinema
  • Queer Theory

Associate Prof Tanja Bosch

  • Youth / children & identity
  • Radio studies
  • Community media
  • Media & conflict
  • Media and gender
  • Social media

Dr Alexia Smit

  • Postfeminist television
  • South African television
  • Transnational television
  • Theories of affect
  • Television narrative

Emeritus Prof Ian Glenn

  • Afropessimism in the media
  • Political advertising and political communication, with a particular focus on Southern Africa
  • Nature media, with a particular focus on wildlife documentaries
  • Trials and the media in South Africa

Prof Herman Wasserman

  • Media Ethics
  • Comparative journalism studies
  • Media in the BRICS countries (particular focus on China-Africa media relations)
  • Media and democratisation

Associate Prof Musawenkosi Ndlovu

  • Media globalisation / regionalisation / internationalisation
  • Youth and news media
  • South African media and public sphere
  • Political communication (journalism, marketing and branding)

Associate Prof Wallace Chuma

  • Media policy and media regulation
  • The politics of media framing and representation
  • Political communication
  • Political economy of the media in Africa

Dr Liani Maasdorp

  • Documentary film
  • Editing
  • Self-reflexivity
  • Community engagement video/film training
  • Film training using in-service learning, experiential learning, collaborative learning

Dr Ron Irwin

  • Brand Management
  • Marketing and the Media
  • Creative Writing
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Centre for Film and Media Internships

Dr Litheko Modisane

  • South African film, television and the public sphere
  • History of South African film and television
  • Topics in African cinema: e.g. violence, trauma and decolonization
  • Television and intersectionality
  • Representations of Black Identity in cinema and television
  • Constructions of whiteness in cinema and television
  • Cinema in the African diaspora
  • Black masculinity in cinema
  • Representations of Mandela in cinema and television
  • Documentary film: South African and Western