MPHIL in Lifelong Learning

The MPhil in Education and Training for Lifelong Learning offers participants the opportunity to engage with current thinking about adult education issues, and develop their research skills in investigating such issues.


Admission requirements

A person will be admitted to the MPhil: Education and Training for Lifelong Learning if he/she meets the following criteria:

  • An applicable Honours degree with an average performance of 60% and be employed in an education/training environment; or
  • Any other academic-professional combination of studies equal to a Honours degree which is deemed suitable for the purpose of joining the programme and be employed in an education/training environment; or
  • Evidence that a candidate has reached a standard of competence in Education and Training for Lifelong Learning, as indicated by a process of the evaluation of prior learning, which is deemed sufficient for this purpose by the Senate.
  • A candidate must have at least two years experience of / involvement in lifelong learning or other relevant experience to be admitted to the MPhil programme.

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

    The University of Stellenbosch has accepted a policy for the assessment and recognition of prior learning (RPL) on which the Centre currently draws to assess RPL applications, which is based on the premise of access rather than credit. Based on the information you provide if you do not meet the criteria for acceptance into the programme, we shall assess your application and let you know about the outcome as soon as possible. For more information about the RPL process, please contact Prof Peter Rule at

    Learning outcomes

    Except for critical/generic outcomes such as problem solving, group functioning, effective self-management, critical evaluation, effective communication and systems thinking, the programme aims at achieving the following outcomes:

  • National and international perspectives on, principles of and attitudes towards lifelong learning
  • Insight into and competence in interpretation and formulation of policy and the management of lifelong learning
  • Insight and competence in the theory and practice of lifelong learning
  • Competence in the facilitation of lifelong learning through a variety of appropriate approaches
  • Knowledge of and the ability to apply research methodologies and methods to lifelong learning as a field of study.
  • Students are required to develop and demonstrate research skills, critical thinking, reflective skills, writing skills, planning and evaluation skills, as well as the skill to integrate and apply knowledge in lifelong learning contexts.

    Duration and presentation structure of the programme

    The programme is presented over at least two academic years and entails a combination of contact and other forms of teaching. There are two contact sessions per year. For the rest of the year, preparatory study, assignments and projects are done by means of blended learning, online group work assignments, structured study guides, self-study packages and other forms of directed self-study

    Structure of Modules

    You must do four compulsory modules. The research thesis is one of the four compulsory modules. The topic of the research thesis is chosen in consultation with an appointed supervisor and falls within the field of lifelong and adult learning. The programme modules are as follows:

    Year 1
    Perspectives in Lifelong Learning
    Learning in Adult Education
    Research in Lifelong Learning *
    Year 2
    Research Thesis

    * Research in Lifelong Learning is presented with a view to formulating the research proposal for your MPhil thesis.


    For the three taught modules, the following applies:

    For the three taught modules, the following applies:

  • Flexible assessment is used.
  • An assignment is required in every taught module.
  • You need a minimum of 50% in every module to pass the programme.

  • The research thesis:

  • Deals with a topic in the field of higher education studies.
  • Can also be submitted for examination in the form of examined or reviewed publishable articles.
  • Frequently Asked Questions:

    Q. Who facilitates the programme?

    The chief facilitator is Prof Peter Rule at the Centre for Higher and Adult Education, supported by Prof Liezel Frick and Dr Nompilo Tshuma. Guest tutors are also used to ensure the best available expertise. The knowledge and experience of adult learners are utilised as valuable contributions to the programme.

    Q. How can I obtain more information on the programme and application procedures?

    Should you require more information on the learning outcomes of the modules or if you would like to complete an application form, please get in touch with the Centre for Higher and Adult Education at the following address:

    The Secretary and Course Administrator - Ms Rhoda van Rensburg
    Centre for Higher and Adult Education
    Faculty of Education
    University of Stellenbosch
    Private Bag X1

    Phone: + 27 (0)21 808 2277/78/94
    Fax: +27 (0)21 808 2270

    Q. Enquiries with regard to Student Fees:

    Contact Mr Deon Immelman

    Phone: + 27 (0)21 808 4527

    Q. General information for students

    Go to Prospective Postgraduate Student website for information on application procedures, academic programmes, student fees, accommodation, student activities and other useful information for students.

    Graduates (2007-2020)

    Mareka, LD. (2020). The role of informal learning in the small to medium enterprise construction workplace. Supervisor: Prof BL Frick, Co-supervisor: Prof PN Rule.

    Seshoka, M.A. (2020). Participants perceptions of the training received during the waste management extended public works programme in Mamelodi. Supervisor: Prof BL Frick

    Mabunda N.O. (2018). An exploration of stakeholder perceptions of the employability of National Certificate (Vocational) Graduates. Supervisor: Prof BL Frick

    Kruger, C.E. (2018). The application of a whole brain approach to learning activity design in a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Supervisor: Prof BL Frick

    Leso, M. (2018). Diversity in an academic literacy curriculum: A case of first year BSC extended degree programme students at a South African University. Supervisor: Prof BL Frick

    Malherbe, E (2018). Fashion industry professionals perceptions of creativity : implications for training future fashion professionals. Supervisor: Prof BL Frick

    Smit, N (2017). Exploring artisanship through workplace learning at a South African mine. Supervisor: A/Prof BL Frick.

    Bonzet, R (2017). Exploring the experiences of women in leadership positions in Western Cape Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges through a narrative approach. Supervisor: A/Prof BL Frick.

    Van Schalkwyk, R (2017). Exploring the role of ontological identity in the development of workplace literacy. A/Prof BL Frick.

    Machera, RP (2016). Student perceptions of factors influencing throughput in an Accounting programme in Botswana. Supervisor: A/Prof BL Frick.

    Muller, J (2015). Electrical engineering professionals continuing professional development needs within one South African company. Supervisor: dr BL Frick. Cum laude.

    Van Kerwel, F (2015). Persepsies van geselekteerde Universiteit Stellenbosch voorgraadse studente binne Lettere en Sosiale Wetenskappe aangaande die Woorde Open Wêrelde projek. Perceptions of selected Stellenbosch University undergraduate students in the Arts and Social Sciences on the Words Opens Worlds project. Supervisor: dr BL Frick.

    Truman, K (2014). Perceptions of small business owners on the effects of the voucher training programme offered by the Wholesale and Retail Sector, Education and Training Authority. Supervisor: dr BL Frick.

    Langeveldt, F (2013). Die erkenning van vooraf leer as 'n meganisme ter voorbereiding vir ouer volwassenes se sukses binne 'n Hoëronderwysinstelling. The recognition of prior learning as a preparatory mechanism for older adults success within a higher education institution. Supervisor: dr BL Frick.

    Van Wyk, JM (2012). The post-literacy perceptions of newly literate adult learners at a rural community learning centre. Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Supervisor: dr BL Frick.

    Adams, TB (2011). A conceptual framework for leadership development in the South African Police Service based on transformative learning theory. Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Supervisor: dr BL Frick. Cum laude.

    De Waal, H (2010). Youths predispositions to learning: Case studies within a place of safety (Western Cape, South Africa). Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Supervisor: dr BL Frick.