Postgraduate Diploma & MA in Intercultural Communication

In Southern Africa, communication regularly takes place across the boundaries drawn by the region’s rich cultural and linguistic diversity. Such communication is found, for instance, where people with different languages communicate using another, shared language; or where people with the same first language, but different cultures, communicate with one another. These and other forms of intercultural communication – which are not limited to Southern Africa, but are increasingly found on a global level – occur in a wide range of domains (e.g. health, education, business, public affairs, law, religion and private life) and often result in misunderstandings across cultures caused by different conceptions of politeness, conversational interaction, etc. It stands to reason that success in the various domains presupposes an understanding of the central features of intercultural communication.

Clearly, then, there is a great need for postgraduate linguistics programmes in which the phenomenon of intercultural communication is studied from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

The Department offers two such programmes, the only ones of their kind in South Africa:

(PGDip) in Intercultural Communication
The focus of these two programmes is linguistic in a dual sense –
  • they are concerned with the linguistic means of intercultural communication, and
  • they deal with these means from perspectives offered, primarily, by various linguistic (in an inclusive sense) disciplines.
The programmes have been designed for (i) professionals who routinely communicate across cultural and linguistic boundaries or who are responsible for training, educating and managing others who have to engage in such communication, as well as for (ii) people who have an academic interest in the phenomenon of intercultural communication.
MA in Intercultural Communication

By providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to gain an understanding of this phenomenon and to manage the relevant differences and resulting misunderstandings in intercultural communication contexts, these programmes enable graduates to practise their (intended) professions with greater expertise and satisfaction. At the same time, given their specific content, both programmes are intended to contribute to the strategic priority of understanding, managing and furthering the rich cultural diversity of Southern Africa.

For more information about these programmes, see the link to the prospectus below.


Application for admission to either the Postgraduate Diploma programme (NOT ON OFFER IN 2020 ) or the MA programme in Intercultural Communication must be made on a prescribed application form obtainable from the Registrar. Application for admission can also be made using the University’s electronic application system (see link below).
An application can be considered only if it is accompanied by a complete study record showing exam marks for all subjects taken, both at undergraduate and at postgraduate level. If you do not have a copy of your study record, you should request one from the Registrar of each university at which you studied.
As there is a limit to the number of PGDip and MA students that can be taught and supervised effectively in any one year, a selection has to be made from the applications received. Students are selected on the basis of their previous study record as well as their written responses to diagnostic test questions which all applicants are required to answer as part of their application. This diagnostic test is used to appraise a candidate’s ability to read an academic text critically and to respond to questions in a clear and coherent way. The diagnostic test is available from the Department, or it can be downloaded as a pdf file (see link below).
Students who wish to apply for admission to the programme must submit the completed application form online, and provide a complete study record and pay the required application fee. Postal applications should be sent to:
The Registrar
Stellenbosch University
Private Bag X1