The MPhil programme is an independent distance research programme supplemented with regular online lectures, seminars and conferences, with the possibility of a two-week residential conference at Stellenbosch University in South Africa (COVID permitting).

This MPhil programme aims to provide students with the unique opportunity of studying Islamic and religious studies as well as Christianity within the cultural contexts of Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and South East Asia. Moreover, the programme draws its strength from the knowledge, competencies and experience acquired during the candidate’s studies at undergraduate and postgraduate level as well as their professional and work experience gained from engaging with their societies and religious communities.



Duration of the programme:

Two years.

Programme structure:

Based on the University of Stellenbosch Year Book 2021, the MPhil programme is at level 9 of NQF (South African National Qualifications Framework) which consists of 180 credits: this includes four essays each count for 20 credits (80 in total) and a thesis counts for 100 credits.

Although the MPhil programme is an independent study, candidates must also attend regular online seminars, lectures and conferences that will be presented via online conference platforms such as Zoom. Essays can be written on a topic agreed with supervisors. The focus of essay should be Islam or Islam and Christianity. The topics can be chosen from the units below. A list of readings will be provided for each unit.

Unit 1:

Religious studies (Religion and culture)

Unit 2:

Religion and public theology

Unit 3:

Religion in Reconciliation and healing

Unit 4:

Religion within historical context (Political Islam)

Unit 5:

Research Methodology is a compulsory course though non-credited.

Access to Libraries and Online resources:

Students will have access to Stellenbosch and OCRPL libraries.

Programme outcomes:

Through completion of the MPhil programme candidates will:

  • Be presented with an internationally recognized MPhil degree in Religion and Cultural studies.
  • Develop their academic research skills including: critical and analytical thinking and writing;
    • ability to evaluate and analyse data;
    • ability to investigate topics in multi-religious practices across disciplines;
    • theoretical and philosophical insights and specialist knowledge in the chosen area of study: Islam.
  • Gain ability to teach Islam and other topics in different colleges and universities across Africa and Asia.
  • Have access to apply for PhD studies.


Admission Requirements:

  • If candidates hold a three-year BA degree qualification in any subject, they must first complete a postgraduate diploma in theology and pass with an average of at least 65% to enrol for the MPhil.
  • If candidates hold a four-year qualification in theology that is not equivalent to an Honours degree, a postgraduate diploma in theology is also required as a bridging qualification.
  • If candidates hold an appropriate four-year qualification in theology (Honours degree), they can enrol directly for the MPhil without having to complete the postgraduate diploma in theology.
  • If the language of their BA or MA degree was not in English, candidates must provide an IELTS certificate with an overall score of at least 6.5 or other equivalent International English language qualification.

Please note: the Postgraduate Office of the University of Stellenbosch will screen all qualifications and make a recommendation to the relevant Department in the Faculty of Theology. This recommendation will be taken into account before a final decision is made pertaining to admission at OCRPL.

Tuition fees:

OCRPL has negotiated lower tuition fees with Stellenbosch University for prospective candidates who apply for the MPhil on Religion and Culture focusing on Islam through OCRPL in recognition of OCRPL’s contribution to the programme.

The tuition fees for the duration of the two-year MPhil programme is generally ZAR 74,914 or USD48,000.


  • You will not be charged for the first six months, June – December 2021, OCRPL covers the cost.
  • The tuition fee for the full year, Jan – Dec 2022, is estimated at ZAR 37,457.00 or USD2,400.
  • The tuition fee for the last six months, Jan – June 2023, is estimated at ZAR 18,730 or USD1200.

The total tuition fee for the MPhil programme studying with OCRPL is ZAR 56,276 or USD3600.


Registration:    15 April 2021, Ends: 20th May 2021

Semester 1: Starts 1st June 2021 – Ends 31 Nov 2021

Semesters 2 & 3: Start Jan 2022 – Ends 20th Dec 2022

Semester 4:  starts Jan 2023 – Ends 30th June 2023

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