The Professional Master of People Management [CM041BUS19] degree responds to the need for a dedicated programme to advance learning of Human Resource Management (HRM). This NQF level 9 programme is designed to bring together academic study with the work that human resources practitioners perform. It is expected to lead to the acquisition and enhancement of specific professional and vocational skills, competencies, and knowledge in the fields of human capital management, HRM and people management.

The programme’s central focus is the Human Resource (HR) professional who effectively and efficiently adds value and positively contributes as a strategic partner within any organisation. When interacting with an HR professional who has graduated from this programme, the professionalism, ‘depth’, and rigour with which they operate should be readily apparent and set them apart from others.

The programme was also conceptualised to have a strong Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) focus. Having included recognition-of-prior learning in our selection process has enabled access to advanced degree studies for human resource practitioners with a wealth of practical experience in the field but who historically have been excluded from the opportunity of obtaining a Master’s degree from a prestigious institution such as UCT.

The Professional Master of People Management is registered as a specialist-named Master’s degree, making it one of a kind in South Africa. The programme consists of both coursework and applied research components.

The coursework component of the programme comprises six (6) compulsory modules, which are presented over two years. Each of the six modules is presented in a block-release format, with teaching blocks presented either three (3) or four (4) times a year, depending on the teaching cycle. The programme is presented using a blended or hybrid-flexible (hyflex) teaching approach, a student-centred class delivery model that integrates in-class instruction, online synchronous video sessions, and asynchronous content delivery. Following a hyflex teaching model, approximately half of the teaching blocks are presented in person at UCT, and the other half are presented online.

The applied research component of the programme consists of two applied research tasks, which are submitted at the end of each year. For the applied research tasks, students identify a variety of highly relevant human resource-related problems or concerns within South African organisations and apply their newly acquired knowledge to develop possible solutions or interventions for these problems. The aim of the People Management Applied Research Task I and Task II is to, within the context of the coursework modules, develop and assess whether students have mastered the skills, competencies and principles of applied business research and evidence-based decision-making, as well as the argumentative writing skills required to participate in scholarly or academic discourse within the field of HRM.

The programme is only offered in English.


The minimum admission requirements for this programme is an Honours degree or a four-year professional bachelor’s degree at NQF level 8 in Human Resource Management or Organisational/Industrial Psychology.

To qualify for selection, applicants should have obtained an average mark of 65% for their Honours degree or equivalent four-year degree, as well as hold a minimum of three (3) years relevant work experience in the field of HRM.

At the discretion of the Head of Section of Organisational Psychology‚ applicants who 1) did not achieve the required minimum average mark of 65% in the Honours degree or equivalent Honours level degree, or 2) do not hold the necessary Honours or NQF level 8 qualification in Human Resources Management, but have obtained a relevant qualification in the field of HRM may be considered for RPL. When considering RPL applicants, a minimum of eight (8) years of relevant work experience in the field of HRM is required. RPL candidates may be required to write specialised admission tests at the discretion of the Head of Department/Head of Section.  


The Master’s programme is a two-year‚ full-time programme. The course starts in January and ends the following year in November. The start and end times may be changed at the discretion of the Head of Section. The programme's coursework and research components are completed within these two years.


No‚ we do not offer this programme wholly online or part-time.


No‚ we only offer a Master’s degree by coursework and dissertation.


The programme consists of a coursework component (weight 67%) and an applied research component (weight 33%).

Currently, the coursework component of the programme consists of six modules: 

  • Design Thinking
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Evidence-Based Decision Making
  • HR Analytics
  • Reward- and Talent Management
  • Strategy

Please note that the Head of Section retains the right to change the order in which modules are presented over the two years and add/remove modules at any time. The number of credits will, however, stay the same.

The programme has been designed to conform to the registration requirements of the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP).


Applications must be completed using UCT’s online application portal. Applications open on 1 April and close on 31 October of the year preceding study.

Apply Here

Please ensure you have an official university transcript to upload with your application (a transcript is a formal document stating your marks for your honours and other degrees). You will also be required to upload your CV, which clearly states the number of years you have worked in the human resources field and what the role/s entailed.


Please consult the Fees Handbook for the cost of the programme under the relevant course codes:

Year 1 – BUS5003W and BUS5051W

Year 2 – BUS5004W and BUS5052W

International applicants (all students from outside South Africa or other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries) should check under the relevant section, International Students, for their fees.

Limited financial support is available through scholarships, bursaries, and student loans. Please contact the Postgraduate Funding Office for more information or consult the Postgraduate Degree Funding section on the UCT website. 

Please note that some scholarships require application by June of the year preceding study. You are advised to apply in June even if you do not know by then whether you have been selected into the programme. International students should note that funding is limited and are advised to apply for sponsorship in their own countries.


Please contact the programme convenor, Anton Schlechter.


For more information, please refer to the Commerce Postgraduate Handbook.