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  1. #1
    Wild Bill is offline Registered User
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    Question UNISA Honours BA Degree

    Does anyone have any insight into the "Honours BA" degrees offered by UNISA? They are designated "postgraduate degrees" but would the holder of a bachelors degree from a US university first have to obtain an "Honours BA" before being admitted into the MA program? If a US degree holder can go straight into the MA program, is there any real advantage to completing the Honours BA first or would level of instruction be comparable to upper-level undergraduate courses in the US (and therefore unnecessary)? The impression I received from the UNISA website is that it is a structured program (or programme) designed to prepare the student for subsequent research-oriented graduate study.

    I would greatly appreciate any comments from Jack Tracey and the other members of this forum who have experience with the South African educational system.
    I remain,

    Wild Bill

  2. #2
    Ted Heiks is offline Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member
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    In countries that follow the British system of education (of which South Africa is one), there are two types of BA: the three-year general BA and the four-year honours BA. You have to write a bachelor's thesis for the four-year honours BA. The four-year honours BA would be the way to go if you wish to go to grad school.
    Theo the Educated Derelict
    BA, History/Political Science, Western State College of Colorado, 1984
    MBA, Entrepreneurship, City University of Seattle, 1992
    MBA, Marketing, City University of Seattle, 1993

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  3. #3
    RevPeter is offline Registered User
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    Originally posted by Ted Heiks
    In countries that follow the British system of education (of which South Africa is one), there are two types of BA: the three-year general BA and the four-year honours BA. You have to write a bachelor's thesis for the four-year honours BA. The four-year honours BA would be the way to go if you wish to go to grad school.
    Not quite, this is the model in South Africa & Australia (I believe), but it is not common in the British Isles - except TCD. The ancient socttish universities follow the same practice, but award the MA: MA(pass) after 3 years, and MA(Hons) after 4.

    In most British / Irish universities the BA is a 3* year degree, and the Hons / Pass classification depends on grades - 70%+ is a first (I), 60-69 an upper second (IIi), 50-59 a lower second (IIii), and 40-49 is either a third, or a pass. I, IIi & IIii are all honours degrees, a III is usually classed as a pass degree. They are pretty rare these days.

    * an additional year is required of language students, who spend the year living and studying in the appropriate country, and certain professional subjects, who spend a year on relevant placement(s).

    Regards,

    P

  4. #4
    Jack Tracey is offline Registered User
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    Re: UNISA Honours BA Degree

    Originally posted by Wild Bill
    The impression I received from the UNISA website is that it is a structured program (or programme) designed to prepare the student for subsequent research-oriented graduate study.
    While I will gladly defer to RevPeter in regards to the British/Irish system, I believe that Ted is essentially correct in regards to the South African system. The BA is typically taken in three years (of course it may take longer for some, after all, the idea of the "5 year plan" in the USA has become so commonplace that it is almost expected. The Honors degree (which is optional) typically takes an additional year. Programs I've looked at generally require four courses and a major paper (maybe 50 pages) on a topic that is often specified by the department. The Honors degree is generally considered as a requirement for postgrad study. With all this in mind, I believe that Wild Bill's statement above is correct. In the South African system this degree is the ticket to grad school.
    Jack
    Last edited by Jack Tracey; 07-24-2005 at 05:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Jack Tracey is offline Registered User
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    After posting the above reply I realized that I had not given any answer to the main question...

    Q - If I have a US Bachelors degree, do I need to get a ZA Honors degree in order to be admitted to a ZA grad program?"

    A - In general, I believe the answer is "no."

    If your Bachelors degree is in the same discipline as your prospective grad program then I think it will be unnecessary. Please be aware, however, that all foreign (non-ZA) academic credentials are evaluated by the SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority)
    http://www.saqa.org.za
    and that these people (unrelated to any specific university) make the determination of degree equivalency.

    In my own opinion I'd say that you should make your application. Unless you're contemplating some wild switch (English Lit to Physics) then you'll be OK.
    Good luck,
    Jack

  6. #6
    ABDULLAH is offline Registered User
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    JACK TRACEY, I'm comtemplating course switch from POlitical science to ECONOMICS .I'm already a holder of Bsc (HOn) political science , university of Abuja, nigeria and wish to enrol with Unisa Economics for HONOUR BA or BCOM ECONOMICS , then MASTERS ECONOMICS ... possible to PhD.
    But after reading the extract of postgraduate qualification( 4 rules) for the degree of honour bachelors of commerce quoted below: ADMISSION
    STUDENT MUST:
    1, (a.) hold the Bcom or Bcompt degree or another approved degree in the economics and management sciences and have passed the final course in the subject in which they wish to proceed: or
    (b) Be in possession of another degree and have passed at least FIVE BCOM courses including at least Economics1?(or ecs101-6 and ecs102-8), Business management 1(business economics 1 prrior to 1996)(or MNB101 -D AND mnb102-E) AND ACCOUNTING 1( ACN101-M AND ACN102-N) ACCOUNTING 1A (OR ACN101-M and ACN103-P) and have passed the final course in the subject in which they wish to proceed.
    In another page the extract stated as follow and i quote
    "Graduate wishing to register for the Honours BA Degree in a subject in which they have not yet pssed the third level may normally qualify for admission to studies for the honours by registering for and passing the first - scond - and third level modules in the subject couses for non- degree purposes"
    My questions are: Does that mean if i want to change course to another in unisa or ZA universities . I've to restart a BA or BCOM fresh. what is the easiest way for me to get an MA IN ECONOMICS IN UNISA with the above routes

  7. #7
    uncle janko is offline member
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    Hi Abdullah, welcome aboard. Be sure to check out the other South Efrican universities, not just UNISA. You may well find more flexibility at some of the other institutions. Good luck to you.

    People on degreeinfo have studied at U of Zululand, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan U, UNISA, U of Free State, Stellenbosch (residency required), and U of Pretoria, inter alia. I have also heard some good things about the new U of Johannesburg (merged successor to Rand Afrikaans U).

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  9. #8
    Jack Tracey is offline Registered User
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    Hi Abdullah - First I'd like to say that I'm a bit uncomfortable with people specifically coming to me with questions about UNISA. I think it's a good school and I think that it may be under appreciated as a prospective solution to many peoples degree needs but I also think it's important to point out that I am not now, nor have I ever been a UNISA student. Everything I've learned has come from perusing the UNISA website and from corresponding with some staff people. Abdullah has just demonstrated that much can be learned simply by delving into the website. Nothing I say should be seen as substituting for what's on the website and what you are told when in direct communication with the school.

    With all that being said I think that Abdullah may want to consider the idea of earning a postgrad diploma in Economics rather than the second Honors degree. Check it out with UNISA first but the postgraduate diploma might be a bridge into a new area of study plus some of the credits might be applied toward the eventual Masters degree. Good luck.
    Jack

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