Postgraduate Diploma in
Futures Studies

Acquire the strategic foresight to help create a better future

  • Modular
  • Blended
  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
Course Overview
Course starts 28 February 2022
Application closes 30 Nov (SA) | 31 Oct (international + RPL)

USB’s internationally accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies will help you understand the forces and trends that shape the future, and the nature of global change. This will enable you to manage long-term organisational strategies aimed at designing the ideal future. The programme will also equip you with high-level competencies to react meaningfully to growing complexity in the organisational environment while taking Africa and South Africa’s developmental challenges into account.  This will allow you to mitigate risks and leverage opportunities.

This postgraduate qualification will provide you with a transformative learning experience to find your way forward – particularly if you see your future self as a strategist, long-range decision maker, manager or leader. It is the only programme of its kind presented in Africa, and one of only a few in the world.

NEW! This PGDip has been redesigned to give you unrivalled flexibility. Among others, you can choose the format (blended learning or modular) and duration (1 year or 2 years), making it easier for you to study while you work. See how USB’s redesigned PGDips can benefit you.

FEES FOR 2022: R92 000 for SA students (paid over 2 years for those opting for the 2-year PGDip, Ts&Cs apply)

WHAT IS FUTURES STUDIES? Futures Studies is not about predicting the future, but rather about understanding how various futures will unfold. It analyses the interaction between a wide range of variables or forces, and distils from these forces those issues that will affect the future of a country, government, entity or individual. It studies the world of economics, politics, technology, demography, social values and other subject fields, both locally and globally. It equips decision makers with ways to deal with change and to make the right decisions to survive but preferably thrive in a changing world. Futures Studies is about acquiring strategic foresight to make long-range decisions in order to leverage competitive risk mitigation and opportunity sensing. Read our overview of USB’s Futures Studies programmes.

These are the dates for 2022.

Application deadlines

South African applicants: 30 November

RPL applicants: 31 October

Applicants from (visa-exempt) SADC countries: 31 October

Applicants from the rest of the world: 31 October

Year 1
4 Blocks
Block 1
28 February - 04 March (Orientation on the Monday)
Block 2
23 - 27 May
Block 3
15 - 19 August
Block 4
31 October - 04 November

The fees below are the tuition fees for 2021 (with fee relief incorporated). Programme fees for 2022 will be published once this information becomes available.

Programme tuition fees for 2021 Total Provisional Quotes
Students from South Africa R89 900 Download
Students from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries R94 400 Download
Students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC) R99 430 Download
Students from the rest of the world R127 930 Download
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission for 2021
Students from South Africa R13 060
Students from SADC countries R47 200
International students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC)​​ R49 715
International students from the rest of the world R63 965
Application fee for 2022
Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all students) R850
SHL fee
Applicable to all students R750
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is not refundable.
  • Travelling, accommodation and meals are for students’ own accounts.
  • USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

Overview

The modules of the PGDip in Future Studies are split into a foundation phase (covering skills, frameworks and tools you can apply in any field of work) and a specialisation phase (programme-specific modules).

You need to do 4 of the following 5 foundation phase modules:

  • Term 1: Understanding the World (compulsory)
  • Term 2: Responsible Leadership (compulsory)
  • Term 3: Thinking Frameworks (compulsory)
  • Term 4: Organisational Behaviour OR Managing Risk and Uncertainty

Next, you need to do the four specialisation phase modules:

  • Term 1: Principles of Futures Studies
  • Term 2: Applied Philosophy
  • Term 3: Measuring and Making the Future
  • Term 4: Futures Studies in Practice

Choose between 2 formats: Blended learning and modular

  • Blended Learning classes: Late-afternoon classes once every week for those doing their PGDip over 1 year, or once every fortnight for those doing their PGDip over 2 years. The blended learning classes are presented online (and also on campus depending on Covid restrictions). Classes are presented on Wednesday afternoons from 16:00 till 20:15, and for some foundation modules on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons from 16:00 till 20:15. The online classes are presented synchronously with the on-campus classes. The flexibility of digital class attendance means minimum time away from work. The blended learning delivery option opens up access to students from elsewhere in South Africa, from other African countries and even further afield. This also lowers the opportunity cost to obtain this PGDip as you can attend all classes online.
  • Modular classes: Four full blocks of classes spread over the year if you are doing the 1-year PGDip (i.e. morning and afternoon classes from Monday to Friday), or four blocks of either morning or afternoon classes per year if you are doing the two-year PGDip (i.e. morning or afternoon classes from Monday to Friday). The modular classes are presented on campus, which translates into in-class experience and focused studies without work interruptions.

Choose between 2 duration options: 1 year or 2 years

1-year PGDip 2-year PGDip
Number of modules: 8 Number of modules: 8
Delivery mode for all modules (foundation and specialisation):

  • · Blended learning format: 1 late afternoon session per week for 40 weeks + 4 weeks of assessments
  • Modular format: 4 full modular blocks spread over the year (i.e. mornings and afternoons)
Delivery of foundation modules in Year 1:

  • Blended learning format: 1 late afternoon session once every second week
  • Modular format: 4 block weeks per year with classes either in the morning or the afternoon

Delivery of specialisation modules in Year 2:

  • Blended learning format: 1 late afternoon session once every second week
  • Modular format: 4 block weeks per year with classes either in the morning or the afternoon
Notes:

  • Each modular block runs from Monday to Friday, except the first modular block which runs from Monday to Saturday.
  • Students who select the 2-year option will be able to pay their fees over 2 years.

The PGDip in Futures Studies is designed to expose you to:

  • The nature of global change, its rapid pace and its ever-increasing complexity
  • An understanding of the forces and trends that shape the future, allowing you to leverage opportunities and mitigate risk in good time
  • The management of organisational strategies so as to create a desired future.

In addition to learning about the tools required to measure the future, you will encounter ways and means of designing a more desired future. Indeed, this is the spirit that drives Futures Studies – we can, if we so wish, conspire to co-create the future we want. This qualification is therefore aimed at those people who wish to enhance their understanding of possible changes in their long-term future and their ability to respond accordingly. This is particularly important for the development of a growing number of open-minded citizens and institutions capable of displaying a holistic understanding of the social, ethical, political, technical and economic forces shaping the future.

As the only programme of its kind presented in Africa, and one of only a few in the world, it will equip you with high-level competencies to react meaningfully to growing complexity in the organisational environment while taking into account the unique developmental challenges of Africa and South Africa. These challenges typically include health deficits, education deficits, global participation and human security.

If you are a strategist, managing director, CEO or involved in strategic planning, this Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies will give you a unique advantage in the industry.

Academic qualifications and other admission criteria

  • Academic qualifications: An appropriate Bachelor’s degree
  • Work experience: A minimum of two years of experience in strategic management or strategic planning
  • Selection test: SHL selection test (see below). This test is done online.
  • Essay: You need to write an essay (see below).
  • Additional documentation: A comprehensive CV indicating your work experience.

Note:

  • International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. USB’s International Affairs Office will handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. You therefore need to complete the online application, and upload all certificates to your application. The International Office will, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application.
  • All degrees undergo a formal vetting process to eliminate fraudulent applications.

SHL selection test

You need to complete the SHL abilities selection test as part of your application process. The test consists of verbal, numerical and inductive reasoning tests, which are used for selection and for the identification of your development areas.

  • Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours.
  • Preparation: No preparation is required. However, you are encouraged to perform a practice test to familiarise yourself with the test format. See shl.com/shldirect/en-us/practice-tests/
  • About the test: The SHL test is done online. (Random verification might be requested.) You will be provided with a link to the SHL test once you have paid your PGDip BMA application fee and SHL selection test fee, and after you have submitted your application form and have received your provisional student number. (You need to use this provisional student number when writing the SHL.)
  • Cost: For fees, please see usb.ac.za/pgdfutures (click on Fees tab). See bank details under How to apply and use your provisional student number as reference. The application fee and SHL selection test fee can be paid online.
  • Link to the SHL selection test: You do not have to arrange with USB to write the SHL test. You will receive a link to the test once the relevant payments have been received and you have submitted your application form. USB will receive your results directly from SHL and will upload it to your application form on your behalf.
  • Additional information: shl.com/en/assessments/cognitive-ability/
  • Important: The SHL selection test is valid for 18 months. If your SHL selection test results are older than this, you should ideally rewrite the test as people grow and develop and assessments need to take this into account. USB does not consider SHL tests from other institutions as you may have written a different type or level of test, or you may have been compared to a different comparison group. If you have completed the SHL with USB during the past 18 months, you do not have to rewrite the test.

Write an essay

An essay of between 400 and 500 words on the topic outlined below is to be submitted in pdf format:

USB aspires to be a source of value for a better world. How are your career goals aligned with being a source of value for a better world, and how would this postgraduate programme assist you in achieving your short-term (2 to 3 years) and long-term (10 years) career goals?

  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
Course Overview
Course starts 14 February 2022
Application closes 30 Nov (SA) | 31 Oct (international + RPL)

USB’s internationally accredited Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies will help you understand the forces and trends that shape the future, and the nature of global change. This will enable you to manage long-term organisational strategies aimed at designing the ideal future. The programme will also equip you with high-level competencies to react meaningfully to growing complexity in the organisational environment while taking Africa and South Africa’s developmental challenges into account.  This will allow you to mitigate risks and leverage opportunities.

This postgraduate qualification will provide you with a transformative learning experience to find your way forward – particularly if you see your future self as a strategist, long-range decision maker, manager or leader. It is the only programme of its kind presented in Africa, and one of only a few in the world.

NEW! This PGDip has been redesigned to give you unrivalled flexibility. Among others, you can choose the format (blended learning or modular) and duration (1 year or 2 years), making it easier for you to study while you work. See how USB’s redesigned PGDips can benefit you.

FEES FOR 2022: R92 000 for SA students (paid over 2 years for those opting for the 2-year PGDip, Ts&Cs apply)

WHAT IS FUTURES STUDIES? Futures Studies is not about predicting the future, but rather about understanding how various futures will unfold. It analyses the interaction between a wide range of variables or forces, and distils from these forces those issues that will affect the future of a country, government, entity or individual. It studies the world of economics, politics, technology, demography, social values and other subject fields, both locally and globally. It equips decision makers with ways to deal with change and to make the right decisions to survive but preferably thrive in a changing world. Futures Studies is about acquiring strategic foresight to make long-range decisions in order to leverage competitive risk mitigation and opportunity sensing. Read our overview of USB’s Futures Studies programmes.

ABOUT BLENDED LEARNING: The blended learning format enables you to attend class on campus or remotely via an internet-linked laptop. This means you will be able to immerse yourself in a premium learning experience from wherever you are in the world. We have been investing in this technology since 2015 and our lecturers are trained in the art of virtual facilitation and teaching. See how blended learning works at USB.

These are the dates for 2022.

Application deadlines

South African applicants: 30 November

RPL applicants: 31 October

Applicants from (visa-exempt) SADC countries: 31 October

Applicants from the rest of the world: 31 October

Orientation
17 January
Classes
18 January - 05 December (Tuesday evenings from 16:00-20:15)

The fees below are the tuition fees for 2021 (with fee relief incorporated). Programme fees for 2022 will be published once this information becomes available.

Programme tuition fees for 2021 Total Provisional Quotes
Students from South Africa R89 900 Download
Students from Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries R94 400 Download
Students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC) R99 430 Download
Students from the rest of the world R127 930 Download
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission for 2021
Students from South Africa R13 060
Students from SADC countries R47 200
International students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC)​​ R49 715
International students from the rest of the world R63 965
Application fee for 2022
Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all students) R850
SHL fee
Applicable to all students R750
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is not refundable.
  • Travelling, accommodation and meals are for students’ own accounts.
  • USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

Overview

The modules of the PGDip in Future Studies are split into a foundation phase (covering skills, frameworks and tools you can apply in any field of work) and a specialisation phase (programme-specific modules).

You need to do 4 of the following 5 foundation phase modules:

  • Term 1: Understanding the World (compulsory)
  • Term 2: Responsible Leadership (compulsory)
  • Term 3: Thinking Frameworks (compulsory)
  • Term 4: Organisational Behaviour OR Managing Risk and Uncertainty

Next, you need to do the four specialisation phase modules:

  • Term 1: Principles of Futures Studies
  • Term 2: Applied Philosophy
  • Term 3: Measuring and Making the Future
  • Term 4: Futures Studies in Practice

Choose between 2 formats: Blended learning and modular

  • Blended Learning classes: Late-afternoon classes once every week for those doing their PGDip over 1 year, or once every fortnight for those doing their PGDip over 2 years. The blended learning classes are presented online (and also on campus depending on Covid restrictions). Classes are presented on Wednesday afternoons from 16:00 till 20:15, and for some foundation modules on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons from 16:00 till 20:15. The online classes are presented synchronously with the on-campus classes. The flexibility of digital class attendance means minimum time away from work. The blended learning delivery option opens up access to students from elsewhere in South Africa, from other African countries and even further afield. This also lowers the opportunity cost to obtain this PGDip as you can attend all classes online.
  • Modular classes: Four full blocks of classes spread over the year if you are doing the 1-year PGDip (i.e. morning and afternoon classes from Monday to Friday), or four blocks of either morning or afternoon classes per year if you are doing the two-year PGDip (i.e. morning or afternoon classes from Monday to Friday). The modular classes are presented on campus, which translates into in-class experience and focused studies without work interruptions.

Choose between 2 duration options: 1 year or 2 years

1-year PGDip 2-year PGDip
Number of modules: 8 Number of modules: 8
Delivery mode for all modules (foundation and specialisation):

  • · Blended learning format: 1 late afternoon session per week for 40 weeks + 4 weeks of assessments
  • Modular format: 4 full modular blocks spread over the year (i.e. mornings and afternoons)
Delivery of foundation modules in Year 1:

  • Blended learning format: 1 late afternoon session once every second week
  • Modular format: 4 block weeks per year with classes either in the morning or the afternoon

Delivery of specialisation modules in Year 2:

  • Blended learning format: 1 late afternoon session once every second week
  • Modular format: 4 block weeks per year with classes either in the morning or the afternoon
Notes:

  • Each modular block runs from Monday to Friday, except the first modular block which runs from Monday to Saturday.
  • Students who select the 2-year option will be able to pay their fees over 2 years.

The PGDip in Futures Studies is designed to expose you to:

  • The nature of global change, its rapid pace and its ever-increasing complexity
  • An understanding of the forces and trends that shape the future, allowing you to leverage opportunities and mitigate risk in good time
  • The management of organisational strategies so as to create a desired future.

In addition to learning about the tools required to measure the future, you will encounter ways and means of designing a more desired future. Indeed, this is the spirit that drives Futures Studies – we can, if we so wish, conspire to co-create the future we want. This qualification is therefore aimed at those people who wish to enhance their understanding of possible changes in their long-term future and their ability to respond accordingly. This is particularly important for the development of a growing number of open-minded citizens and institutions capable of displaying a holistic understanding of the social, ethical, political, technical and economic forces shaping the future.

As the only programme of its kind presented in Africa, and one of only a few in the world, it will equip you with high-level competencies to react meaningfully to growing complexity in the organisational environment while taking into account the unique developmental challenges of Africa and South Africa. These challenges typically include health deficits, education deficits, global participation and human security.

If you are a strategist, managing director, CEO or involved in strategic planning, this Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies will give you a unique advantage in the industry.

Academic qualifications and other admission criteria

 

  • Academic qualifications: An appropriate Bachelor’s degree
  • Work experience: A minimum of two years of experience in strategic management or strategic planning
  • Selection test: SHL selection test (see below). This test is done online.
  • Essay: You need to write an essay (see below).
  • Additional documentation: A comprehensive CV indicating your work experience.

Note:

  • International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. USB’s International Affairs Office will handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. You therefore need to complete the online application, and upload all certificates to your application. The International Office will, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application.
  • All degrees undergo a formal vetting process to eliminate fraudulent applications.

SHL selection test

You need to complete the SHL abilities selection test as part of your application process. The test consists of verbal, numerical and inductive reasoning tests, which are used for selection and for the identification of your development areas.

  • Duration: Approximately 1.5 hours.
  • Preparation: No preparation is required. However, you are encouraged to perform a practice test to familiarise yourself with the test format. See shl.com/shldirect/en-us/practice-tests/
  • About the test: The SHL test is done online. (Random verification might be requested.) You will be provided with a link to the SHL test once you have paid your PGDip BMA application fee and SHL selection test fee, and after you have submitted your application form and have received your provisional student number. (You need to use this provisional student number when writing the SHL.)
  • Cost: For fees, please see usb.ac.za/pgdfutures (click on Fees tab). See bank details under How to apply and use your provisional student number as reference. The application fee and SHL selection test fee can be paid online.
  • Link to the SHL selection test: You do not have to arrange with USB to write the SHL test. You will receive a link to the test once the relevant payments have been received and you have submitted your application form. USB will receive your results directly from SHL and will upload it to your application form on your behalf.
  • Additional information: shl.com/en/assessments/cognitive-ability/
  • Important: The SHL selection test is valid for 18 months. If your SHL selection test results are older than this, you should ideally rewrite the test as people grow and develop and assessments need to take this into account. USB does not consider SHL tests from other institutions as you may have written a different type or level of test, or you may have been compared to a different comparison group. If you have completed the SHL with USB during the past 18 months, you do not have to rewrite the test.

Write an essay

An essay of between 400 and 500 words on the topic outlined below is to be submitted in pdf format:

USB aspires to be a source of value for a better world. How are your career goals aligned with being a source of value for a better world, and how would this postgraduate programme assist you in achieving your short-term (2 to 3 years) and long-term (10 years) career goals?

PROGRAMME HEAD
Professor André Roux

Professor André Roux is the programme head of USB’s Futures Studies programmes. His areas of expertise are Management Economics and Futures Studies. He holds a PhD from Stellenbosch University. He lectures on Economics and Futures Thinking at USB, in other African countries and in Europe. In 2016 and 2017, he won the Best Lecturer Award in Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Programme Ambassadors

These programme ambassadors are current students and alumni who support prospective students in their new stage of life and share their personal experience about studying at USB.


unpacking project management
  • Who should enrol?
  • What will you gain?

Futures Studies serves the needs of individuals, groups, organisations and governments that wish to gain an understanding of possible changes in their long-term future and to respond accordingly. This is particularly important in the light of Africa’s and South Africa’s imperative to raise the quality of life. The programme is therefore aimed at:

  • Strategic planners, managing directors, CEOs and anybody involved in strategic planning over five to 20 years and longer
  • Anyone who wants to play a role in creating a better future for South Africa and for Africa.

This programme will prepare you for senior-level positions in public and private corporations, in government, financial institutions and global institutions.

  • The ability to help design the future: Enhance your understanding of possible changes in your long-term future and respond accordingly. This includes a holistic understanding of the social, ethical, political, technical and economic forces shaping the future.
  • The ability to handle complexity in organisations: Acquire the high-level competencies required to react meaningfully to growing complexity in the organisational environment while taking into account the unique developmental challenges of Africa and South Africa.
  • The ability to make strategic decisions: Make significant strategic decisions for the long term in an environment characterised by increasing international competitiveness and volatility.
  • Access to the MPhil in Futures Studies: This PGDip contains the essence of the learning assumed to be in place to complete the 180-credit MPhil in Futures Studies for those who pass at a particular level. The MPhil builds on the PGDip to deepen your understanding of futures concepts and tools.

Testimonials from our alumni

‘I found the PGDip in Futures Studies incredibly rewarding. Although it is part of the Business School, the course itself is interdisciplinary. It not only helped me in aspects of my job but, more importantly, it has enabled me to see the world at large with fresh eyes.’

Liz Hillock, Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies 2014, has subsequently completed her MPhil in Futures Studies,

‘In a rapidly changing world, the ability to interpret and influence your environment can make the difference between securing your relevance in tomorrow’s world – or an irreversible error for your organisation’s future. This multidisciplinary programme is for those who recognise that the globalised and highly dynamic world is no longer business as usual, and who want to stay ahead by strategically shaping today’s developments for tomorrow’s success.’

Isaac Nkama, Director at Facilitation Africa, PGDip and MPhil in Futures Studies,

‘The PGDip in Futures Studies seamlessly integrates seemingly dissimilar fields into a whole that both challenged and extended my perspective of our complex world. I enjoyed the diversity of the subject material and the challenges set by the very practical assignments. I prefer to be in class with my fellow students, but the option to attend virtually meant that I could travel and still attend class from wherever there was an internet connection.’

Doris Viljoen, PGDip in Futures Studies 2016,

FAQs

Futures Studies is about acquiring strategic foresight to make long-range decisions in order to mitigate risk and identify opportunities. You will gain an understanding how various futures will unfold so that you can make better decisions. Futures Studies analyses the interaction between a wide range of variables or forces, and distils from these forces those issues that will affect the future of a country, government, entity or individual. It studies the world of economics, politics, technology, demography, social values and other subject fields, both locally and globally. It therefore equips decision makers with ways to deal with change and to make the right decisions to survive but preferably thrive in a changing world.

If you play a role in the direction of a business, the decisions you make must be aligned with where the business world is going. Futures Studies will enhance your understanding of possible changes in the long-term future and equip you with the correct methods to respond accordingly. This will enable you to make better use of opportunities and also to contain risks more effectively.

An appropriate Bachelor’s degree. A minimum period of two years of experience in strategic management or strategic planning.

Yes, but on a volunteer basis only. USB alumni offer to mentor students during their studies and to provide career or industry advice. This service is offered in association with USB’s Alumni Relations Office and Career Leadership Office.

Academic assistance is offered via a web-based learning environment, various software and database resources, small-team study groups, informal learning groups and tutorials for certain modules.

Yes, students can spread the payment of their fees:

  • Payment of full programme fees for South African students: Students pay a set deposit on admittance. Students on the 1-year PGDip can pay the full programme fees upon registration or they can pay 75% of the annual fees by the end of May and the balance of 25% by the end of September. Students on the 2-year PGDip can spread their payment over 2 years.
  • Payment of full programme fees for international students: International admitted students on the 1-year PGDip pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The remainder is due 2 weeks before commencement of the programme. International admitted students on the 2-year PGDip can spread their payment over 2 years.

The closing dates for each programme appear on the web page for that programme. In general, the closing dates for international applicants from non-SADC African countries and rest of world close approximately three months prior to the closing date for applicants from South Africa and (visa-exempt) SADC countries. Obtaining a study permit (study visa) from the South African authorities takes up to 12 weeks from the date of being offered a place on a programme at USB – hence the early application deadline for international students. RPL candidates (all programmes) need to apply by 30 October each year. Late applications after the closing dates will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

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