The Master of Commerce specialising in Economic Development [CM031ECO12] – convened by Professor Anthony Black -  aims is to equip students with essential research skills (both quantitative and writing skills) and knowledge in their chosen area of specialisation. The 120 credit dissertation weighting allows students to qualify for NRF funding.

Entrance requirements:

An average of at least 65% in an honours degree with a three-year major in Economics in a Bachelors degree is the minimum requirement.  Except with special permission of the convener, a candidate shall have completed a quantitative course in Econometrics at the 3rd year level or equivalent. Recommendation of acceptance is at the discretion of the programme convener and the Graduate Committee. Applicants with degrees from outside South Africa are encouraged (and in some cases may be required) to submit GRE test scores. A strong performance in the quantitative segment (above the 80th percentile) is expected.


Offered over two years full-time. The programme begins in February.

Prescribed curriculum structure:

This programme comprises two compulsory courses, two optional courses and a dissertation (ECO5066W).

Students taking ECO5046F or ECO5021F, or ECO5020F must take ECO5011F Quantitative Methods for Economists before registering for these courses. It is non-credit bearing for this programme. Lecture attendance is compulsory. A candidate will ordinarily complete the prescribed courses in the first year and will be expected to complete the dissertation within the following year. The programme comprises 240 credits.

Compulsory courses (with the permission of the convener, ECO5074F may be replaced with another approved method course):

Course Code Course Name NQF Credits  HEQSF Level
ECO5003F Governance and Growth 30 9
ECO5073S     Problems of Globalisation 30 9
ECO5074F Research and Policy Tools: Development Impact and Evaluation 30 9

Elective courses:

One course has to be chosen from any other Masters course in Economics for which students meet the entrance requirements. With the permission of the convener, a course may be selected in another cognate department. It may also be possible, with the permission of the convener, to replace ECO5074F with another quantitative or methods course in the School of Economics or in another department.

(120 credits to be chosen from the following electives which all have 30 NQF Credits and are all HEQSF Level 9):
ECO5020F    Advanced Microeconomics    
ECO5021F    Advanced Macroeconomics   
ECO5046F    Advanced Econometrics    
ECO5050S    International Finance  
ECO5052S    Natural Resource Economics    
ECO5057S    Labour Economics    
ECO5062S    Applied International Trade    
ECO5030S    Applied Growth Theory   
ECO5064S    Views of Industrial and Behavioural Economics    
ECO5069S    Applied Time Series Analysis    
ECO5070S    Microeconometrics    
ECO5075S    Macroeconomic Policy Analysis    
ECO5076S    Development Microeconomics   
ECO5077S    Empirical Industrial Organisation    

Research component:

Course Code Course Name NQF Credits  HEQSF Level
ECO5066W* Minor Dissertation  120 9

*Submission deadline for research component:

The master’s dissertation must be submitted by 31 October of the second year.


To qualify for the degree, students must pass all courses, including the research component to the value of 240 credits.  To pass a course, a student must obtain 50% for the course. Candidates are normally expected to complete all the coursework within one year. The 120 credit dissertation should be no longer than 25 000 words in length and is expected to be completed in the year following the coursework.

Distinction rules:

The degree will be awarded distinction if the candidate obtains an overall average mark of at least 75% at the first attempt and obtains not less than 70% for both the coursework component and the dissertation component of the degree.

Further specific administrative requirements:

The closing date for applications is 31 October.

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