University of South Africa Graduate School of Business Leadership
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MBA Structure


The study period is three years and the programme is based on a combination of theoretical and applied content.

The first two years consist of core modules, and must be taken by all participants. The final year offers the opportunity to integrate all learning experiences through a research project, an executive project management module and an elective.

The distributed distance learning element comprises self-tuition and group work in which the participant must do both prescribed and recommended reading, complete assignments and contribute to group activities and assignments. Attendance at the compulsory study schools and group meetings give the students an opportunity to network with fellow students and to interact with lecturers.

Examinations will be written at the end of the year (Oct/Nov).


First and second year:
All participants must attend the compulsory study schools and centre visits in their first and second year of study. One five day full-time study school is held at Midrand for all participants during the first half of the year. For MBL 1 this study school will be during the last week of February and first week in March.

Third year:
During the last year of study a one-week full-time study school will be held at the SBL, Midrand. The study school will be structured as a conference with a formal programme and will cover those elective subjects where there are sufficient students to warrant inclusion within the formal programme.

Individual or small group meetings may be arranged by students who are registered for subjects for which no formal conference has been scheduled.

Interactive study groups
Each participant is allocated to a study group comprising five or more members in a specific geographical area. In exceptional cases a group of less than five members may be allowed. Group members meet on a weekly basis for interactive study and the preparation of group assignments. These sessions usually last a few hours. Participants will be allowed to form “virtual groups” which will function largely by using electronic media such as the eds online, e-mail, Internet, fax and telephone.

Centre meetings
In the second half of the first two years compulsory centre meetings between participant groups and lecturers are held at Midrand and, if there are enough students, also in the main study centres. This five day meeting supplement the learning experience, increase participant/lecturer contact, and networking with each other.

Assignments and tests
Assignments contribute 24% towards the final mark per module. The tests are written at approved Unisa examination centres during May and contribute 16% towards the final mark.

The programme ends in October/November with one four-hour open-book examination per module. It contributes 60% per module towards the final mark. Examinations will be held at centres designated by Unisa. Examination eligibility will be according to the rules and procedures applicable to the MBL.


Course material and contact with the SBL, lecturers and fellow students are provided through the Electronic Delivery System. The eds online is on-line 24 hours a day and connects students and staff through the Internet. Study guides and other material supplied by the SBL are available through the eds online. Assignments are submitted through the eds online. Students can use the eds online to interact with their own group and also with other students, groups and lecturers. Using the eds online means that distance between participants, members of their group and the SBL becomes less important. The electronic delivery system improves access to the MBL programme, and makes course delivery efficient.

eds online requirements
Students will be required to have access to a computer and the Internet. The minimum hardware requirements are as follows:

  • Pentium MMX (166MHZ); SVGA monitor; CD-ROM (16 x speed); Modem (28Kbps); 32MB RAM; Windows 95; mouse, IE6 and Internet access.

Language medium
Prescribed material is available in English. Participants may submit assignments and do examinations in English or Afrikaans. The language medium for study schools is English.


The first and second years consist of core modules which must be taken by all participants. Students must register for all modules at the beginning of the year. An elective is offered in the third year in conjunction with the research projects.

First year

  • Human resource management and employment relations (MBL911K)
  • Operations management (MBL912L)
  • Marketing management (MBL913M)
  • Financial and management accounting (MBL914N)
  • Strategic management (MBL915P)
  • Economics and the global business environment (MBL916Q)

Second year (Programme to start in 2004)

  • Leadership and organisational dynamics (MBL921M)
  • Strategic financial management (MBL922N)
  • Strategy dynamics and international business (MBL923P)
  • Information resource management (MBL924Q)
  • Business research (MBL925R)
  • Business ethics (MBL926S)

Third year

  • A compulsory year module: Executive Project Management and a field study
  • A research report (MBLREP-P)
  • An elective module


  1. All the elective modules will not necessarily be offered each year.
  2. The student’s choice is subject to the approval of the Director and Executive Officer, SBL.

The current elective modules of the third year must be chosen from the following list: