Doctoral Office
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RIDS  |  Tygerberg Doctoral Office

PhD Outputs

  1. SU aspires to producing doctoral graduates with particular attributes, to be developed during the course of their work towards the scholarly outputs linked to the degree.

  2. The major deliverable for new doctoral students is a doctoral research proposal approved first by the supervisor/s, then by a properly constituted review panel, and then by the most suitable SU research ethics committee.

  3. The primary research output of a PhD programme is a doctoral dissertation reporting on primary research. Scroll down for formatting guidelines. Editing costs - where relevant - are the responsibility of the candidate. Every candidate is required to electronically furnish the institutional SunScholar repository with a PDF copy of the dissertation, from which sensitive personal information such as signatures and telephone numbers have been removed. This submission must be done via the thesis/dissertation nomination system. Please note this upload is a requirement for Senate approval of the result as per the Stellenbosch University Yearbook. During this submission process, the supervisor shall be given the option of holding the dissertation back from being released on the open website for a period of no longer than six months to provide an opportunity for publication. Do place an embargo on sections of the dissertation that may still be patented or published. Full particulars regarding the PDF format, as well as the process to be followed, are provided on the website at

  4. Doctoral candidates are expected to exemplify academic integrity, and demonstrate a personal commitment to ethical principles and conduct for rigorous research and scholarship, in order to produce truthful, accurate and reliable knowledge. No plagiarised work, or work generated by another person, or by artificial intelligence, may at any stage be submitted as the own work of a doctoral student.
    Click here to view the SU Plagiarism Policy.
    Click here to view the Interim SU guidelines on allowable AI use.

  5. Data collected or generated for the purpose of doctoral research at SU, belongs to SU, and may be uploaded to SunScholarData for possible use in future research. Careful attention should be paid to the timing and possible embargo of such uploads to avoid any detrimental impact on the publication or patenting of research outputs. More information may be obtained from the SU Library.

  6. ​Over and above the dissertation, all doctoral candidates are encouraged to submit two or more articles for publication in indexed journals from their dissertation. Stellenbosch University must be indicated as the affiliation of the author/s. The following options are available for publication support:
    a) The SU Library and Information Service has signed agreements with a number of publishers that offer discounts on article processing charges or, in some cases, allow authors to publish open access articles without paying at all. More than 7 300 hybrid journals or more than half of all subscription journals to which member institutions subscribe, are available for publishing articles via this strategy. More information can be found at this link.
    b) The Senate research committee for the FMHS, Subcommittee C, has a limited fund for supporting open access publications. Application information can be found at this link.

  7. The FMHS Open Access Fund provides financial support towards article processing charges (APC) of research publications in peer-reviewed DHET-accredited open access or hybrid journals. Postgraduate students who do not have dedicated grant funding towards APC, are encouraged to apply on an ad hoc basis, throughout the year. Depending on the availability of funds, awards of up to R30,000 are available to support 100% of the APC for prorated FMHS-affiliated authors, Enquiries may be addressed to Dr Tania Brodovcky at

  8. All research outputs emanating from doctoral studies are to be reported to the Department of Higher Education for formal recognition and subsidy purposes before the deadline mentioned in the annual SU call to report outputs. Should you have queries in this regard, please contact Ms Daléne Pieterse at email address

  9. ​Where intellectual outcomes of the doctoral research can be commercialised through the formation of spin-out companies, licensing, patenting, or trademark registration, candidates are encouraged to contact Innovus, a division of Stellenbosch University that is responsible for technology transfer, entrepreneurial support and development, and innovation.

  10. As per the guidelines of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), health workers who are students in a postgraduate degree that is recognised by the relevant board, may claim 30 CEU points on submitting an academic report on progress at the end of each initial year of study that falls within the normal programme duration; and 30 CEU points on completion of the degree. Enquiries on how to claim Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points may be addressed to

Format and edit dissertations according to the following guidelines:

    1. Format of an FMHS dissertation

    2. Do use the standard format of SU dissertation cover page; Joint degrees should have a separate SU title page followed by the partner institution’s title page, according to their format, or vice-versa, depending on which is the home university

    3. The title on the dissertation must match the final, Senate-approved title exactly

    4. Do include your student number prominently on the initial pages

    5. As far as possible, use Calibri or Cambria font throughout a dissertation

    6. Follow the language use conventions in the SU Style Guide, available for download at this link

    7. Prior to submission of a full, final draft, take personal responsibility for proofreading the entire dissertation using the built-in MS Word spelling and grammar check, set to UK or South African English, or that of a different word processing package

    8. Every doctoral dissertation must be copy and language edited to a high standard of professional finishing, before submission for examination - candidates are welcome (but not obliged) to make use of the services of the SU Language Centre; or the editors on this downloadable list (type 123456 to open the document) - all recommended by academic staff in the FMHS

    9. Please see the Calendar requirements for formatting a dissertation at this link

    10. (Older PG Office guidance on dissertation formatting requirements)

    11. A doctoral dissertation is usually no shorter than 70,000 words, and no longer than 90,000 words, inclusive of cover pages and references.