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Stellenbosch University Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences Residential PhD Scholarships 2020

Seed funding was made available to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for a flagship project under the auspices of Stellenbosch University’s HOPE Project. In this flagship project, the Graduate School started operations in 2010.

Application Deadline: ​​The doctoral scholarship programme will be rested in 2020. Please visit the website again in August 2020 when the call for applications for 2021 intake will open.​

Eligible Countries: sub-Saharan African countries

To Be Taken At (Country): Stellenbosch University, South Africa

About the Award: The Graduate School coordinates the partly-structured, full-time doctoral scholarship programme and administers the doctoral scholarships. The Graduate School also coordinates multi- and interdisciplinary research themes within the doctoral programme to help prepare Africa’s next generation of academics and professionals to address critical challenges of the continent with a focus on the eradication of poverty and the promotion of peace and democracy. Collaborative research, (co)supervision and exchange are encouraged and channelled through PANGeA (Partnership for Africa’s Next Generation of Academics) involving leading universities elsewhere in Africa.

Field of Study: Scholarships will be made available to suitable candidates for full-time doctoral study linked to the research themes of the Graduate School in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Type: PhD


  1. Scholarships are intended for students who wish to undertake a study programme to obtain a doctoral degree in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Stellenbosch University, and who therefore are in possession of the necessary qualifications for admission to a doctoral degree in this Faculty.
  2. Applicants must have completed a Masters degree or an equivalent recognised by Stellenbosch University before they can be admitted to doctoral study. As a rule, a minimum average of 65% should have been obtained in their previous qualifying degree or study in order to be eligible for the scholarship. The University will decide, in its sole discretion, whether any particular qualification or degree is sufficient to satisfy the admission criteria for the doctoral degree and for the award of the scholarship.
  3. Applicants must be citizens of sub-Saharan African country – which includes South Africa. Successful foreign (non-South African) students must be in possession of a valid study permit in order to register at Stellenbosch University at the commencement of the programme.
  4. Applicants must be available for full-time study over a period of three years starting at the beginning of 2019, reasonable vacation periods and/or data collection trips excepted.
  5. Unless on sabbatical or leave approved for the purposes of taking up this full-time scholarship, the scholarship-holder may not without permission of the Graduate School be involved in any form of salaried employment during the tenure of the scholarship.
  6. Applicants must have an adequate command of spoken and written English, as the correspondence, courses, seminars and other activities of the Graduate School will, as a rule and in view of the presence of foreign students especially at the doctoral level, be transacted in English. The use of languages other than English for the submission of written work will be acceptable, subject to the availability of academic staff members capable of supervising and examining the work submitted in such languages

Selection Criteria: Scholarships shall be awarded to eligible candidates taking the following factors into account:

On an individual level:

  • High academic merit and the intellectual capacity to study successfully at the doctoral level.
  • Strong personal motivation to complete the programme.
  • The extent to which the proposed topic of study fits into the research programme of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.
  • Availability of suitable supervisors for the proposed topic of study.
  • Candidates who are below the age of 40. Although applicants over 40 may be considered, preference will given to younger scholars.

On a collective level:

  • Gender equity.
  • To enhance compatibility of university and linguistic backgrounds, preference will be given to applicants from African countries south of the Sahara.
  • Among the South African component of scholarship applicants, CBI (Coloured, Black and Indian) applicants will be given preference, provided that they meet all the other requirements.
  • Among the non-South African component of scholarship applicants, applicants whose nominations are supported by officials of the PANGeA institutions (universities of Botswana, Dar es Salaam, Ghana, Makerere, Malawi, Nairobi and Yaoundé I) will be given preference, provided that they meet all the other requirements.

Applicants are advised that the University may require additional information, over and above information supplied in the application, in order to reach a decision about the suitability of any candidate for the award of a scholarship.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award:

  • The maximum value of the scholarship, commencing in 2019, is R 420 000.00 over three years.
  • Lower values may be allocated where successful applicants hold other scholarships amounting to less than the maximum value of the Graduate School scholarship.

Duration of Programme: 3 years

How to Apply: Interested applicants can begin to prepare the following:

  • A letter motivating your suitability for this scholarship (no longer than one page)
  • A concept note or research proposal for your proposed study (no word limit)
  • Identify three academic references, one of which must be your Masters supervisor
  • Collate a copy of ALL your tertiary (undergraduate and postgraduate) academic records (transcripts) AND certificates. Please scan and save these documents as one file.
  • Provide proof of competency in English; i.e. English language proficiency test results or publications written in English
  • A sample of your best academic writing; either a publication or chapter from your Masters thesis (in PDF).

How to Submit:

  1. Familiarise yourself with the Scholarship application documents, regulations and procedures. See the Application Documents below.
  2. Download and complete all sections of the application form and prepare or obtain the required documents and references. See the checklist for 2019 below.
  3. Submit the application and supporting documents to reach the University on or before the closing date. Applications which are incomplete, hand-written and/or where documentation is missing, will not be considered. The application form and supporting documentation should be submitted in a single email.
  4. Applications should be clearly marked Graduate School Scholarship Application and should be submitted by e-mail to [email protected].

Application docume​​nts for 2019 intake can be found in the Programme Webpage (see Link below)

Visit Programme Webpage for Details

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