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Interdisciplinary courses: International Tax Masters

About the International Tax Masters 


The University of Cape Town presents Africa’s first interdisciplinary programme fully dedicated to the study of international taxation.  The programme is co-presented and taught by UCT’s Faculties of Law and Commerce, in cooperation with the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD).  


The International Tax Masters programme leverages UCT’s uncontested geographical advantage as a gateway for global engagement in fiscal matters between the developed and developing worlds. 


The course work component of the programme also aids candidates in preparation for the following modules of the Advanced Diploma in International Taxation (ADIT) with the UK Chartered Institute of Taxation: Paper I, Principles of International Taxation; Module 3.03 Transfer Pricing Option. You can view more information about this here.


Programme outline


The International Tax Masters comprises a two year programme. Over the course of the 2-years students have unrestricted access to the IBFD on-line research platform and all UCT libraries.


Year 1:


During the first year, over two semesters from February to May and July to October, residential based courses are presented in Cape Town.  


All teaching is undertaken by UCT academics with a legal and/or commercial background, by leading practitioners or by international guests.    


International Tax I

The first semester commences with an intensive full-time week of lectures presented by UCT academics and visiting staff from the IBFD.  The problem of double taxation and double tax conventions are introduced. Additionally, a number of topical areas may be covered (past topics included international tax transparency, the role of the BRICS in international tax policy, Base Erosion and Profit Shifting).


During the remainder of the first semester, classes cover all aspects of double tax conventions.  Consideration is given to the OECD, UN and SADC Model Tax Conventions, the history of the international tax system, treaty provisions dealing with business taxation, investment flows, income of individuals, non-discrimination, double tax relief, dispute resolution under tax treaties as well as more complex areas such as legal methods of treaty interpretation and key features of South Africa’s double tax treaty network, including the constitutional process for treaty making.  


Teaching takes the form of traditional lectures for which students are expected to prepare. 


International Tax II

In the second semester, the theory and practice of transfer pricing is taught, usually by an international visiting academic. 


Other topics covered during this semester include international tax avoidance, taxpayer information exchange, taxation and human rights and selected aspects of South Africa’s international tax regime such as provisions for relief of double taxation and controlled foreign company rules.  


Teaching takes the form of traditional lectures or seminars, consisting of guided group discussions with a focus on case studies applied in a practical manner.  A Moot Court assignment dealing with an international tax case may be presented during this term. The programme convenors may also consider entry of a UCT team in the annual Leuven international tax moot competition co-organised by the IBFD and the University of Leuven, Belgium.


Assessment of International Tax I and II takes the form of completion of written research assignments and, when presented, the moot court assignment.


Year 2:


In the second year students perform independent research and draft a minor dissertation on an approved topic under the supervision of a programme convenor. Research proposals are generally required to be presented at the start of the year to the programme convenors, visiting IBFD staff and the incoming cohort of international tax masters students. If practicable, students are allowed to conduct their research away from Cape Town for the remainder of the year.  


Throughout the two years, students are encouraged to participate in the activities of UCT’s Tax Institute for Fiscal Research and the local activities of the International Fiscal Association. 


About the UCT Tax Institute for Fiscal Research


The Institute is based in the Faculties of Law and Commerce at the University of Cape Town. UCT is Africa’s highest ranked university and among the top 200 universities of the world.  


The Institute is interdisciplinary, being formed by academics with a legal, commercial and economics background.  Several large research projects, consultancy work for government bodies and private entities are all undertaken in the Institute.  


Academic staff associated with the Institute teach a substantial offering of tax courses across the Faculties of Law and Commerce, as well as organising and participating in conferences, seminars and public engagements.  


Programme convenors:

Professor Jennifer Roeleveld (


Associate Professor Craig West (


Associate Professor Johann Hattingh (


To apply:


Application is open to persons from any country with any background who have appropriate qualifications and/or experience in the field of taxation.  Depending on background and experience, successful students may choose to graduate with either a Master of Commerce or Master of Law degree.


The deadline for applications is 30 October of the year preceding commencement of the programme.  


All applicants should use the Commerce programme code CM031FTX09.  Please visit


Details about fees:


Please visit

Please download the brochure here.