Wits is set to introduce new qualifications for 2017’s academic year.

July usually marks the beginning of an influx of prospective students filtering in and out of tertiary institutions. With the registration period looming over them, choosing the correct course to fit their career is of primary concern.

The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) has launched an array of new qualifications for the 2017 academic year. “At Wits University we are constantly looking at new courses that are relevant and will best serve our graduates in the future,” says Andrew Crouch, deputy vice-chancellor.

So, what’s new to study at Wits?

Big Data, Astrophysics and Enterprise Risk Management

The Faculty of Science has introduced several new programmes including a BSc Honours in Big Data Analytics, a BSc Honours in Applied Bioinformatics, and MSc programmes in Hydrogeology and Economic Geology. The BSc undergraduate degree now also includes a Mathematics of Finance course.

Oil and Gas Engineering, Welding Engineering

The School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering will offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Oil and Gas Engineering, which will lead to a master’s degree in this field. The Postgraduate Diploma in Welding Engineering, which leads to an MSc degree in Welding Engineering or a professional MEng degree in Welding Engineering is also on the cards.

New Chemical Engineering qualifications

An updated MSc in Chemical Engineering will be available in 2017, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Metallurgical Engineering. This diploma will lead to an MSc in Metallurgical Engineering, with specialisation options in physical metallurgy, minerals processing and extractive metallurgy, pyro-metallurgy and coal science and technology. A new development is the introduction of part-time studies in engineering. In 2017, Wits will roll out part-time first year engineering across all programmes aimed at unemployed graduates and drop-outs.

Diversity Studies, Digital Arts and Game Design, Film and Video Studies

The Masters in Diversity Studies develops the thinking skills of Critical Diversity Literacy. This programme aims to enhance the abilities to analyse, interpret, challenge and contribute to the crucial issues of diversity and how these relate to social justice. A BA in Digital Arts and Game Design will be introduced in 2017. This programme covers digital arts theory, game design, digital animation and interactive media.

To accommodate these new courses, the university has put other qualifications in “abeyance”, which is a temporary state of suspension until the course comes into demand once more.

While not every prospective student can be accepted to study at Wits, the institution is hoping to broaden access by doubling the number of part-time students and increase the number of online courses.

“The primary business of the university is teaching and research, accepting too many full-time students would affect the quality of the institution,” says Crouch.