Do I regret my MSc course choice?

And completing it at the University of Witwatersrand?

Calyn Pillay
3 min readDec 17, 2020
Left: UCT grad Right: Wits Student cards

The short answer: No, I don’t. Okay, that is probably not what you were expecting to hear. I don’t regret my decision, because I don’t regret my decision-making process. I tried to make the best decision with the information and the tools I had at that moment.

However, as you’ll see below, I have had some realisations retrospectively that I think are worth noting. Hopefully, having this information can make your decision-making the process more informed.


Financial support

Firstly, my current programme is a “part-time” degree which means that I am not eligible to apply for most scholarships or funding. However, the programme at UCT was a fulltime MPhil. Also, UCT provides merit scholarships for students achieving over 65% in postgraduate studies. Therefore, I could have been eligible for a +- R40 000 (20 000 each year) merit scholarship from UCT, which looks pretty good right now (COVID-19 impacting the economy).


Secondly, actually being in a remote program (during a pandemic) has been isolating. It is something we knew going into this program would be challenging. For me, small groups enable me to thrive; undergraduate classes with 250 students was overwhelming. So I think could have enjoyed the UCT programme structure — with a small group of Masters students.

Interesting curriculum

When I look back at my decision, I chose a programme that would allow me to pursue other goals. It was less an ‘end itself’, and more a means to an end. I don’t think this is a good approach. Ultimately you have to still complete 2 years of the coursework in either program. Therefore, I think I should have considered the novelty and how interesting the UCT curriculum looked. I mean, look at this programme description!

Innovation is generally thought to be key to overcoming the current health challenges faced in South Africa and globally. The MPhil in Health Innovation focuses on the design, implementation and evaluation of innovations to improve health. The MPhil has as its anchor a course in Health Innovation & Design, which presents the key themes of Design Thinking as applied to health innovation. The aim is to introduce participants to human-centered design of solutions to promote health and wellbeing and address needs identified through engagement with relevant stakeholders.

Being happy with the course I chose:

In the end, I made a decision. I declined my UCT offer and flew to JHB in Jan for classes. A practice that helps me be happy in the present moment is gratitude. So here are two reasons I am grateful for the choice I made:

I am grateful to have gotten an offer from both schools. I’m sure in both universities I would have had great professors and peers.

Also, the UCT programme required in-person contact hours, group projects and engagement with the community. COVID-19 would have meant major changes in the programme structure. However, the Wits programme was remote, which meant that we were already setup to complete our coursework online, which meant less adaptation required.

I hope reading this short article will help you come to a comfortable place with the degree you chose. And if you are choosing between offers, I hope my hindsight reflections give you additional points to think about.



Calyn Pillay

is a MSc Med (Bioethics & HealthLaw) candidate at Wits. Interested in Effective altruism, Human Rights and Parity.