Doctoral Office
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​Research Development and Support

​Tygerberg Doctor​al Office​

PhD Support - PhD Application Process


Thank you for your interest in pursuing a PhD degree in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences of Stellenbosch University. This faculty ranks among the top two hundred medical and health schools in the world. Our campus is situated in the picturesque Tygerberg area of Cape Town, South Africa. 

Candidates from across South Africa and the world compete for the limited number of places in our PhD programmes. The basic requirements for admission to our doctoral programmes as determined by Senate, can be found on page 173 of our Faculty's yearbook, at this link

All candidates are expected to see a PhD research protocol through the review process and submit an application for ethics clearance within 6 months from acceptance; and upon ethics clearance of that protocol, to complete the full PhD programme within a further period of two years. The programme is intensive, but it can also be done on a part-time basis (three to four years).

Much of this work will be your own, independent responsibility. For the most part, the required contact time will be determined by your allocated supervisor/s. 

Your chances of being selected may improve if you have reached out to a supervisor to make initial contact and establish a mutual area of interest. Yet, a supervisor will only be assigned once you have been formally accepted for the programme. You are welcome to consult the knowledge directory to find someone working in your field of interest.

Should you wish to apply, please be sure to have the following ready:

  1. Certified degree certificates and transcripts (all qualifications)
  2. A referenced research concept paper of 2 to 3 pages
  3. A 1-page motivation letter
  4. Applicant CV
  5. Sufficient funds for your application and study fees​

Following the steps above, applications from international students are routed to the Postgraduate Office for the verification of qualifications, while applications from South African students are routed directly to the academic department for selection. Only after your academic department has formally selected you, you will receive a written offer of placement in an academic programme from Stellenbosch University.

Once your academic department or unit has selected you for the doctoral programme, your documents are routed to the Tygerberg Doctoral Office. This office will be your logistical partner through the doctoral journey and should be kept abreast of all developments. 

Your supervisor/s will play a critical part in your success. It is important that you establish a positive relationship right away and request supervisor feedback on your work on a regular basis. The most urgent deliverable after selection is the research protocol, developed under guidance of your supervisor, within six months. 

You are most welcome to follow up with our office on any further information that could assist.

Should you wish to explore possible funding opportunities, please see visit the Postgraduate Funding page, here, or the Research Development and Support page, here

Once you have been accepted for doctoral studies in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, urgently contact the Tygerberg Doctoral Office to inform us whether you are registering via Option A (proposal review and ethics clearance within 6 months, then registration), or Option B (registration upon selection, and then proposal review and ethics clearance within 6 months), and to provide us with your signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).

All the best with your application!​​​​​