Information Systems

Cape Town, South Africa
Information Systems


UCT aspires to become a premier academic meeting point between South Africa, the rest of Africa and the world. Taking advantage of expanding global networks and our distinct vantage point in Africa, we are committed, through innovative research and scholarship, to grapple with the key issues of our natural and social worlds. We aim to produce graduates whose qualifications are internationally recognised and locally applicable, underpinned by values of engaged citizenship and social justice. UCT will promote diversity and transformation within our institution and beyond, including growing the next generation of academics.

Bachelor Programs

The degree of Bachelor of Business Science is a four-year professional undergraduate degree at NQF Level 8 designed for students who plan to make a career in a business enterprise or other organisation. A BBusSc graduate is eligible to apply for a Master’s Degree because the degree is awarded at the same level as an Honours degree. The degree programme is not a substitute for practical business experience but rather the opportunity for: (i) a liberal education involving at, the same time, some understanding of scientific method; (ii) a study of the structure and working of the business world including the economic and human problems which arise in business and other organisations; (iii) an inter-disciplinary study of Economics, Accounting, Mathematics, Sociology and Psychology which concentrates on the application of appropriate concepts and techniques towards the understanding, analysis and solution of problems in business management; (iv) a study of the scientific approach to management problems and use of current quantitative and computer techniques in those areas in business management formerly considered to be largely matters of opinion and judgement; (v) specialising in one of ten specialisations in management.

General information

The Commerce Faculty offers BCom degree programmes at NQF level 7 in Information Systems.

Optional extra courses

A student may not take more than the prescribed number of courses in any year except with special permission of the Dean. Students who attained certain standards in their previous years of study may be allowed to take up to five full courses in a year.

Selection procedures

Entry into the Bachelor of Commerce may be limited and the best applicants are selected on academic merit from those who meet the minimum admission qualifications. Details on selection criteria can be found in the Undergraduate Prospectus:


This programme is designed to follow on from either of the Postgraduate Diploma coursework courses 


Entrance to the Part Time Honours programme is through the Post Graduate Diploma. Students who have performed well on the Postgraduate Diploma are typically invited to convert to the Honours programme.


Candidates must have completed the Postgraduate Diploma, obtaining above average results. Candidates must have experience of critical reading, literature survey work and have previously written at least four essays or white papers at postgraduate level. Exposure to research methods and/ or statistical methods will be an advantage, but is not required.



Master Programs

The MCIS is offered in two formats, full-time and part-time. It can also be done by Dissertation only or (more usually) by Coursework and Dissertation. Details of this second approach are now discussed. The formats are identical except in regard to the timing of the dissertation. Students who want to finish all their coursework and dissertation work within a single calendar year will sign up for the full-time format; otherwise they will take an extra year to focus exclusively on their dissertations. Details of the program follow.

The program has a number of taught modules, 4 technology projects, and a dissertation. These are discussed separately below:

Taught modules:


  • A  research methodology component to guide you through the steps of doing your thesis. This component should be pretty much completed by the end of the first semester. The prescribed book for this is "Applied Business Research" by Cavana et al, Wiley (Australia), ISBN 0471341266. It is fairly expensive but the only prescribed text for the year.
  • critical reading component including an introduction to research and critical thought in Information Systems Critical thinking, theory, scientific theory generation and testing, critique of research papers, writing research papers, reading and reviewing research articles, the sociology of research in information systems, important research streams, challenges to IS research, the culture of research. 
  • An advanced content component consisting of selected topics of interest to students centered around the research interests of current IS staff and academic visitors.
  • A set of student-driven seminars whereby students individually present and (as a group) critique topics of their choice or as assigned.

The research methodology module lasts about 5 months. The critical reading and advanced content modules take place concurrently and more or less evenly spread throughout the academic year. Already during the initial ten-month program, students are encouraged to work on their dissertations. FT students should commence their research by May of the year they begin if they intend to complete their data gathering by the start of the second year. PT students will not normally commence their research until the second year of their program. During the second year, full-time (and, where appropriate, part-time) students will present the progress of their research at regular meetings to provide guidance and to share experiences with other students.




May we extend a warm welcome and thank you for taking the time to look at our Masters degree.

Please note that our current masters students make use of the intranet for their course notes and communications so this website is really for interested outside parties.

We offer the Masters course in two ways: Dissertation only, and Coursework & Dissertation.  These can be taken by both full-time and part-time students.

We suggest that all visitors first look at the About the Program page. Then, if you are a current honours student in the department or another Southern African university, may we suggest that you look at Why do a Masters? as well as the bursaries section first.  If you are graduating from another university, you may want to look at the Program Details and Program Requirements in more detail in order to get more familiar with the specifics of the South African educational system. You can get a better feel for the program by looking at some of the topics that  are typically covered :Typical Course Overview.

The masters programme is currently coordinated by Prof Michael Kyobe

If you have any further queries, please contact our postgraduate administrator on

PhD Programs



The year 2015 will be the seventeenth year of the UCT PHD in Information Systems program. As at 2014, 30 students had graduated from the programme. While the program was first announced in April of 1998, in fact the program dates from discussions held with members of the Department of Information Systems as early as May of 1995. At that time, in the headiest years of the RDP and the transformation movements in South Africa, the idea was mooted that any program in Information Systems should take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the transformation. In fact, it was clear then, as it is clearer now, that South Africa is a laboratory of change, potentially driven, or at least partially fueled, by modern technology. This program is the culmination of many years of thought at UCT, in the Department of Information Systems, and other institutions. The original goals of the program have been shown to be relevant and persistent, as evidenced by the mushrooming since of the IT4D research movement globally.     The program attempts to combine two distinct efforts. First, it attempts to create practising, experienced, qualified academics who know information systems and can guide information systems research efforts. This kind of person is essential in any modern nation as the role of technology in society and commerce continues to grow. Second, this program meets an additional practical need, that of being able to harness the power of information technology to national aims. In the case of South Africa and Africa generally these national aims include "upliftment","reconstruction", reconciliation, "redevelopment", or other similar terms. It is also a case of coping with being a modern nation in a globalised economy while repairing the damage of the past. Therefore, our doctoral program attempts to marry excellence in research with the needs of Africa by promoting in-depth investigation of Information Systems topics to the benefit of the continent and the IS discipline.      


For more information on the program content please contact the course convenor Prof Irwin Brown. For information on the application process, please contact our postgraduate course administrator



Last updated : 20 Jan 2015

Other Programs

The online UCT Advanced Diploma in Business Project Management is designed to equip graduates with the skills and expertise needed to compete for top-tier project management roles locally and abroad. Core features of this Advanced Diploma in Business Project Management: – Accessible to working professionals across Africa – 1-year duration, completed part-time through online learning (one contact exam session plus online course work) – Exam will be written at centres throughout South Africa


Anyone interested in doing FT Hons should contact the Postgraduate Course Administrator

Guide To Full-Time Honours At UCT

Honours in Information Systems aims to provide students with an understanding of the complexities and issues involved in the development and management of Information Systems by giving students a range of experiences. Students will gain experience by both learning and doing.

Experiences include preparing and presenting seminars‚ working in a systems development project team‚ conducting and writing up empirical research‚ mentoring and tutoring undergraduate students‚ and community service.


The major objectives of IS Honours are:

  • To research‚ present and discuss the major academic contributions in the field of IS development and management in seminars. To develop strong communication‚ interpersonal and change agent skills. To develop a community spirit through the Honours Outreach and Community Involvement Programme (HOCIP) (INF4026F & INF4025S).
  • To complete a systems development (SD) project in a team (INF4027W).
  • To do empirical research (ER) on an information systems topic (INF4024W).


IS Honours course consists of three major deliverables and 4 courses:

  • The first is seminar-driven (INF4026F & INF4025S). Each student will research one or more current issues in the management of Information Systems‚ and then present seminars on the issues.
  • The second major deliverable is a systems development (SD) project (INF4027W). Teams of students identify and analyse a real-world IS problem‚ and develop a fully-functioning information system.
  • The third is an empirical research (ER) report (INF4024W). Each student will work with a staff mentor to produce a report.

In addition to the above‚ as part of INF4026F and INF4025S students are expected to become change agents for IS and participate in the tutoring of undergraduate IS courses. This requires some extra skilling‚ as tutors will be expected to be technical experts and provide excellent customer service.

All students are required to complete 30 contact hours of appropriate community service as part of the degree on the Honours Outreach and Community Involvement Programme (HOCIP). Note that satisfactory completion of this in a timely manner is a DP requirement for both INF4026F and INF4025S.

All students are expected to behave in a business-like fashion‚ to take full responsibility for all their deliverables etc.‚ and to manage their priorities. All students are expected to read and adhere to the Code of Conduct.

Programme structure

IS Honours consists of 4 courses and projects. IS Honours commences with an introductory session in the first two weeks.


The Honours year is a very busy one‚ and students are usually involved with a few deliverables at a time. Apart from the main I.S. Honours deliverables there are tutoring duties‚ and Community involvement . Although seminars are not scheduled during the university vacs‚ students will be expected to work over these periods.

Students must not plan any major trips or activities this year. The year should be one of hard work‚ fun and great personal growth



This course is for students who have successfully completed an Information Systems major. Typically‚ marks in 3rd year IS courses should average 65% or more. In addition‚ it is expected that the applicant will have passed courses in other Commerce subjects like Accounting‚ Economics‚ Management and Statistics.

Students who have majored in Computer Science but who have also passed IS major courses and some Commerce courses may be eligible at the discretion of the Head of Department. Applications open on 1 September of year prior to year of intended study.

Completed application forms should be submitted via email by 1 October of year prior to year of intended study.

Follow this link to find out how to apply.

Course Convenor: Professor Kevin Johnston

Thinking about further study but not sure whether it is for you? The occupational marketplace is more competitive than ever before, and it is important to have a career strategy in place to help you gain the edge. A formal postgraduate qualification is a powerful differentiator and you can now earn this sought-after advantage part-time.

Gain industry-aligned skills and expertise for immediate application as you work to advance your career path in this dynamic area.

We offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Management in Information Systems with four specialisations, listed below.

1. Information Systems Management
2. Computer Forensics
3. Enterprise Systems and Business Process Management

 4. Business and Systems Analysis

The first three specialisations are each two-years, part-time. The fourth one is one-year, part-time.

The first three specialisations are aimed at students currently employed in the Information Systems or Information Technology fields. Applicants need a three-year undergraduate degree from any discipline, and at least three years’ working experience. We will however, consider applicants with no formal qualifications, using Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as criterion for admission.

In the first year of part-time study, students need to complete the coursework in one of the following three streams:

  • Information Systems Management
  • Computer Forensics
  • Enterprise Systems and Business Process Management

In the second year, once the selected coursework is completed, students based on interest and proven ability can either complete a work-related Information Systems project to qualify for the postgraduate diploma or can complete a research project and qualify for an Honours degree.

For the fourth specialisation, applicants need a three-year undergraduate degree from any discipline. Students need to either work concurrently in the Business and Systems Analysis environment or alternatively, will need to complete an internship in this field, while completing the course. Internship opportunities will be made available to potential candidates through collaboration with the Cape IT Initiative’s CapaCITi1000 programme.
Students are required to attend four full time blocks at UCT during the year. Each block is two weeks in duration.

Please note that the option to convert to the part-time Honours degree in Information Systems is not available for this specialisation. During the year, students need to complete the following coursework:

Business Analysis and Systems Analysis


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