Molecular Biology Human Genetics
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Division of Molecular Biology and Huma​​n Gene​​tics



Our PhD programme equips applicants with the practical skills and intellectual ability to critically observe, assess, test, evaluate and conclude on scientific phenomena with rigour as an independent researcher. On completion of the programme, you will be able to function independently as a researcher and academic in your chosen field of study.

Programme Details

Duration: Three calendar years on a full-time basis

Programme content:   Molecular Biology/Human Genetics Thesis 978(360)

Programme Structure: This is a research-based degree programme with no study modules. The programme consists of a research project, thesis and project presentation. You will develop a research proposal with the help of your supervisor(s) and present it to an evaluation committee, consisting of content experts and a representative from the committee for postgraduate research and relevant ethics committee.

Assessment and examination:

  • You must complete a research project, present the results in a thesis and deliver a project presentation.
  • The thesis is assessed according to University guidelines by an internal and two external examiners (one of which MUST be international).
  • In order to obtain their degree, candidates are required to pass both the dissertation evaluation and oral defence to the satisfaction of the examination committee; as well as obtain approval from the respective Faculty Board and Senate.

Programme outcomes

Upon completion of our programme, graduates will be able to:

  • Interpret and critically analyse the scientific literature and develop novel hypotheses based upon the existing knowledge base.
  • Develop skills in basic, translational, or clinical research and apply analytical skills and critical thinking to data analyses.
  • Demonstrate sound ethical principles and values as they are recognized and upheld in research involving a human or animal study population.
  • Demonstrate the ability to function on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams in the biomedical sciences and related fields.
  • Use and apply state-of-the-art techniques to conduct independent and collaborative scientific studies to address complex problems in the development and delivery of health care solutions.
  • Effectively communicate science, in written and oral formats, with a wide range of audiences including both scientists and non-scientists.
  • Develop other soft skills (e.g. collaboration, problem-solving, career planning, networking) that facilitate career advancement and promotion.

Admission and Selection requirements

Prospective PhD candidates are required to complete the MBHG pre-application process​ and receive provisional acceptance from the project supervisor. 

The specific admission requirements for a PhD programme include, an average final mark of more than 60% in one of the following qualifications from a recognized tertiary training institution:

  • an MSc degree with Biochemistry, Genetics, Microbiology, Physiology, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Human Genetics, Bioinformatics, Veterinary Science, Biotechnology, Engineering or Mathematical Science for acceptance for PhD postgraduate studies
  • an MBChB or BChD degree; provided a minimum period of two years has passed since obtaining the degree; or you have obtained a relevant honours degree in Medical Sciences directly following an MBChB or BChD degree;
  • MPhil - acceptable in terms of Stellenbosch graduates. MPhil qualifications from other institutions are vetted to establish if they satisfy the university required standards – established upon review of academic transcripts.

Important Notice: Submitting your completed application form and meeting the admission requirements does not guarantee admission.

PhD Programme Coordinator