Link to programme information on department website:

Help to solve real-world problems through research on PhD level

This internationally accredited PhD Futures Studies will enable you to become a specialist in the field of strategic foresight. This expertise – typically in fields such as the new world of business, social capital, security, sustainability, technology and innovation, and decision-making – will enable you to work in government, public and private corporations, financial institutions, and academic institutions.

The degree is awarded on the successful completion of a research-based dissertation. This is the only PhD degree of its kind in Africa.

Eligibility criteria:

The MPhil Futures Studies, OR

The major part of the master's degree (weight within degree) must consist of a written thesis with an average grade of at least 65%

SHL selection test

Important Dates [for application in 2024]:

Applications open: 1 April

Applications close: 31 August

Programme start date: 22 January

Application process:

Two options are available to apply for admission to one of the faculty’s doctoral programmes:

  1. Option 1:Click on the APPLY NOW button and complete the online application form by completing each of the required sections. The Business School will upload the SHL selection test results on your behalf.

    You also need to upload the following supporting documentation:

    • Certified copy of ID or passport
    • Certified copies of academic records/transcripts
    • Certified copies of degree certificates
    • Curriculum vitae (CV)
    • List of publications
    • Dissertation pre-proposal
    • Consent form to verify your qualifications (please download, complete and upload the form in order for Managed Integrity Evaluation (Pty) Ltd to verify your qualification documents)
    • SHL and Application fee

    Please note that candidates that have applied formally on SUNstudent can also apply for institutional or statutory funding to qualifying options listed on the SU Postgraduate Office’s website.

  2. Option 2: Candidates can apply for a full-time doctoral scholarship from the Graduate School of Economic and Management (GEM). Successful GEM applicants are automatically granted provisional admission to the relevant PhD programme and an application on SUNstudent is therefore not required to be considered for one of the GEM scholarships. However, please note that only 2-3 of these awards are made per year.
Research themes:

This PhD is aimed at professional futurists, decision makers and strategic planners who would like to distinguish themselves through in-depth research aimed at helping people to bring about a more desirable future – a future that supports the growth agendas of South Africa and Africa.

This doctoral degree will prepare you for senior-level positions in government, public and private corporations, policy-making institutions, financial institutions, and sub-regional, regional and international organisations. It could also enable you to become a lecturer at an academic institution.

Any other information?

If you want to undertake supervised research in order to become an expert in the field of strategic foresight, this internationally accredited PhD Futures Studies will help you achieve this. We emphasise the creation of knowledge that helps to solve real-world problems and that is particularly relevant to South African and African organisations. As this is the only PhD degree of its kind in Africa, you will be able to conduct meaningful research with a unique African perspective, supported by a diverse research community.

As this degree is about making a contribution to new knowledge, your dissertation must:

Represent an original and significant contribution to the enrichment and advancement of knowledge in your chosen field of research

Demonstrate originality of thought, a theoretical underpinning, relevance to the discipline and rigour in execution

Create intellectual capital, which is the cornerstone of the knowledge society of the 21st century.

This PhD 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. ​​​