Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies


Full-Research Minimum 1 Year (Full-time) or 2 Years (Part-time)

Coursework Minimum 2 Years (Part-time)

NQF Level




Closing Date

31 October

What you need to know before you apply

Ensure that you have the following certified documents ready for uploading and not older than 3 months:

  • Matric certificate
  • I.D.
  • Certificate copies of completed undergraduate and postgraduate degree/s and academic records for each.
  • Master of Leadership Studies (Full-Research) Minimum 2-page Research Proposal Intent, click here to download the template and work according to sub-headings)
  • SAQA Certificate for International Applicants (International students require a SAQA evaluation certificate to evaluate degrees according to South African standards. In this regard please contact SAQA directly on +27(12) 431 5000 or


Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies: Mastering leadership for today, tomorrow, and the future.

Growing as a leader is an ever-evolving discovery journey. The leadership knowledge and style you have been using to steer your organisation might not be relevant in this turbulent world. It is time to ask yourself the question – where are you headed in your leadership journey and what will get you there?

The future of work is changing and calls for dynamic, authentic and ethical leaders, hence this programme exists to respond to the need for a value and ethics-based approach to institutional leadership which facilitates systemic change.

This supports and aligns with the Graduate School of Business and Leadership’s vision of promoting excellence in management studies congruent with the requirements of business and government to enable our students to compete favourably and equitably in local, national and international job markets.

Who should apply

The Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies is designed for working professionals who hold leadership positions in their organisations as well as managers and corporate executives who want to enhance their leadership competencies as they progress to senior managerial and leadership roles.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must hold an Honours Degree or a Postgraduate Diploma at NQF level 8, or a cognate Bachelor’s degree at NQF level 8, or have been admitted to the status of an Honours degree or have attained a level of competence as provided for in the University’s admissions framework.

What will you gain from the programme

  • Advanced theoretical knowledge in the area of institutional leadership: This programme will equip you with critical reflective skills to be applied in real-life work situations.
  • Learning to lead in turbulent and complex environments: Students are equipped with a deeper understanding of what leadership is in a complex and contemporary 21st century and fourth Industrial (4IR) society.
  • Theory and practice integration: Students are able to link research and its practical application through engaging in the various modules related to research, systems theory and practices, leading in turbulent environments and management modules and the production of a dissertation.

The programme is also efficient for those that want to pursue a PhD in Leadership Studies and other related management fields.

Learning Goals

  • Be able to conduct critical research in the field of leadership
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge and understanding of leadership
  • Be able to critically evaluate their situations to apply these skills as acquired
  • Be able to understand complex systems by examining the relationships and interactions between their components
  • Be able to effect Strategic Planning by setting goals and developing a roadmap for achieving them, often by analysing market trends, risk, competition, and internal strengths and weaknesses.

Leadership is broad and its spectrum is wide-ranging; therefore, a specialised programme that will address the gaps in the world, regional, and South African markets is required. Students are essentially taught the theory and practice of leadership.

This programme is comprehensive to develop essential leadership skills and cultivate knowledge. It is tailored to empower current and future adaptive individuals who are currently in particular shortage around the world. It is designed to offer particular skills in adopting a global perspective, given our current world crisis.

This course will consider both internal and external environmental factors: External factors that affect an organisation include political, economic, social or technological elements, and internal factors are the human and non-human systems that affect and lead to an organisation’s success. There is a sense of interconnectedness that is ever-present in our current reality. It focuses on globalisation, integration of economies and a fast-changing and adaptable society.


The programme is 2 years, with the first year dedicated to full coursework modules. The second year is a Reserch Dissertation (comprising 50% of the Programme Credits). 

  • LEAD801 Systems Theories and Practices 16C
  • LEAD802 Leading in Turbulent Environments 16C
  • LEAD830 Research Methodology 16C
  • LEAD8DD Research Dissertation 96C

Elective Modules

Any 3 from the following 16C modules

  • LEAD805 Project Management 1 16C
  • LEAD819 Strategy and Organisational Dynamics 16C
  • LEAD816 Knowledge Management 16C
  • LEAD814 Managing Partnerships 16C
  • LEAD817 Service Learning 16C


Students can expect a 10% increase annually.


The Masters in Leadership (Full-research), this master’s by dissertation only is a research degree on an advanced topic under supervision offered by the school. Prospective candidates should consult the appropriate Academic Leader, School or any relevant Section to discuss both the proposed topic and the availability of suitable supervision. The examination is by dissertation alone. It comprises a research project in an area of study approved by the Programme Director and the production of a supervised dissertation of 20 000-40 000 words. The dissertation aims to show that students have a firm grasp of the basic principles of the general field, understand how these principles are related to other parts of the field, are able to select and analyse a specific theme from within the part is chosen, and are able to present and develop an argument with the accepted principles of academic discipline and scholarship.

Who should apply

The Masters in Leadership (Full-research) is designed for experienced middle-to senior-level managers and leaders seeking to advance their leadership competencies and knowledge through original scholarly research. The ideal prospect looks to thrive on independent study, they also have strong research skills (a prior research methodology module is key here), and is passionate about a specific leadership specialisation area or new area of enquiry. The ideal candidate for this programme is self-motivated and is a disciplined individual who can manage a demanding research workload.

Entry Requirements

An appropriate four-year degree at Honours level or equivalent at NQF level 8. This qualification must include a Research Methodology module.

Contact the adimistrator for details regarding the application process the contact detials are at the end of the page. Entry is by selection, selection is based on academic performance and demonstrated research competence and the availability of suitable supervision.

What will you gain from the programme

  • This programme prepares middle and senior managers for leadership in high positions in the public and private sectors.
  • The programme will enable you to inspire other people to increase their productivity.
  • You will be equipped with organizational development skills which will enable you to address contemporary challenges facing your organization.
  • Upon completion of the programme, you will master the soft leadership skills that includes decision-making, communication, project management, conflict and change management and dealing with politics, ethics, creativity, strategic planning, vision, group development, teamwork, technology, and organizational development.

The programme is also efficient for those that want to pursue a PhD in Leadership Studies and other related management fields.

Learning Goals

The disntincive feature of the Programme is to make students achieve research goals independently and gain critical knowledge and systems to grow and develop in their respective areas. 

Our areas of specialisation

  •  Leadership in Social Partnership Contexts
  • Leadership and Corporate Citizenship
  • Leadership, Local Government and Local Economic Development
  • Leadership and Learning in Organisations
  • Leadership and Strategic Development
  • Leadership and Whole Systems Change
  • Modelling and Managing Complex Social Systems
  •  Leading and Managing Transformational Change
  • Comparative Philosophies and Traditions of Leadership
  •  Leadership, Organisational Ecology and Sustainability
  •  Leadership and Transformative Learning
  • Leadership, Group Intelligence and Creativity
  •  Leadership, Value Systems and Change
  •  Leadership, Knowledge Management
  • Leadership, Project Management

Fee Remission

Full-time research Masters students qualify for full fee remission for the minimum duration of the degree, subject to satisfactory progress requirements being met. This applies to all students, i.e. local, SADC and international, who are full-time students who register for the first time for a full research Master’s degree by dissertation (i.e. not by coursework and dissertation).

 Minimum duration means one year (full-time)


Students can expect a 10% increase annually.

Need to get in touch?

For enquiries, please contact:

Mrs Nokukhanya Mthethwa


Telephone: +27 31 260 1383

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