Centre for Medical Ethics and Law


Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Ethics:​ Scholarships

The Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Stellenbosch University and the Center for Bioethics, University of North Carolina have been awarded a training grant from the Fogarty International Centre of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop the ARESA programme in southern Africa from 2011 to 2016. The educational programme comprises 3 two-week modules and a research assignment. The next academic year will run from January 2015 to December 2015. Ten mid-career professionals (7 from South Africa and 3 from neighbouring African countries) interested in working in the field of research ethics will be awarded scholarships to obtain a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Research Ethics.

Course Modules

Module 1: Introduction to bioethics, health law and human rights

Module 2: Dual Review of Research as an ethical imperative

Module 3: Research and Vulnerability


Research Assignment

Trainees will be required to complete a research assignment/paper in order to fulfill the requirements of the course. The topic can be conceptual in nature or a more empirically-grounded theme in research ethics can be selected. Trainees will be encouraged to conduct their own empirical research, or to use previously collected data, where this is appropriate and feasible. An ARESA faculty member will approve the topic of a trainee's practicum assignment/paper, and a mentor for the assignment at the trainee's home institution will also be identified. Each trainee will be linked with a specific ARESA faculty mentor with expertise in the topic of choice. 

Educational Opportunities

The PG Dip (Health Research Ethics) curriculum will employ a combination of didactic and practical experiences. Case based interactive small group learning will be a prominent feature of the program. Trainees will complete a test at the end of each module and are required to complete a research assignment. Mentorship will be provided by faculty and institutional mentors. Empirical research into controversial ethical issues that arise in research in developing countries is encouraged. Publication of research will be encouraged and supported via writing workshops. The course is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training. By the end of the course, all trainees must submit proof of GCP and Responsible conduct of research training. The ARESA Newsletter is circulated biannually and will be trainee driven. A network of REC members has been established and trainees will have an opportunity to be involved in this activity as well.

Trainee assessment
Module 1 test                 20%
Module 2 test                 20%
Module 3 test                 20%
Group assignment          15%
Research assignment     25%

Prospective Candidates

Specific Admission Requirements

Prospective candidates must:

  • have a background indicating a significant interest in bioethics or research ethics.
  • have a degree in health sciences, law, social sciences or the humanities, including philosophy & theology.
  • submit a letter of support from their home institution demonstrating institutional support & explaining why the research ethics capacity-building of the applicant is important to the home institution.
  • be computer literate, have internet access at home institution and be fluent in spoken and written English.
  • be a Southern African resident, though limited exceptions can be made for residents of other African countries.
  • not be concurrently registered for another degree at any institution.

In keeping with South African guidelines for diversity in REC membership, gender and race will be considered in selecting trainees.

Preference will be given to:

  • members of research ethics committees and regulatory agencies.
  • mature midcareer professionals who have research ethics experience.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:

1. A letter of application including a brief summary of the trainee’s reasons for seeking entry to the programme including the following:

  • Description of experience and interests compatible with the programme,
  • Description of research ethics activities, such as teaching or membership on a ResearchEthics Committee, or a position in which regulation, administration or monitoring of research activities is a primary function,
  • Anticipated ways in which the applicant intends to use the skills and expertise gained by this postgraduate course;
  • 2. Written statement that they completed the application, including the letter of application, on their own and without the assistance of others.

    3. A formal University of Stellenbosch Application Form;

    4. Curriculum Vitae;

    5. Official transcripts of all academic work at a post-secondary level, signed by a notary or institutional official.

    6. Two letters of recommendation certifying applicant’s academic qualifications and suitability for the program;

    7. Name of a qualified person who would be willing to serve as the home institution mentor (if such a person can now be identified), together with a letter from the proposed mentor confirming a willingness to supervise the applicant’s research (if no such individual can now be identified, other arrangements will be made upon admission); and

    8. Letter from applicant’s Dean or supervisor certifying that the applicant will be granted leave to attend all course activities without interruption or distraction, for preparation for course work, for completion of the research project at his/ her home institution, and a commitment by the institution to assist to develop the applicant’s career in bioethics and research ethics. Applicants who live and work in the Cape Town area must, in particular, obtain a firm commitment from their Dean or supervisor that the applicant will have no responsibilities or duties that interfere with or require absence from attendance or preparation during the three two-week training sessions at the Tygerberg Campus, University of Stellenbosch.

    9. A declaration that the applicant is not registered for another degree.
    Financial Assistance

    The 10 candidates who are admitted will receive scholarships to cover the following:

    1.     Full tuition fees for the Diploma course.
    2.     A subsistence allowance of R2800 per 2 week module attended.
    3.     For candidates living outside the greater Cape Town metropolitan area:
    a.     Accommodation during the three modules.
    b.     Travel expenses (at equivalent of economy return air fare from their home institutions to   
            Cape Town for attendance at the three two- week modules.     
    Deadline for applications for 2015 academic year: 30 September 2014

Please send all completed applications to:
Ms Kelsey February
ARESA Administrative assistant
E-mail: kelseyf@sun.ac.za
Tel: (021) 938 9921


ARESA Brochure.pdf

Application Form 2015.pdf