Social Work
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D in Social Work



The PhD in Social Work is awarded upon completion of an independent research project.


Admission and selection requirements

After completion of an M in Social Work, students can obtain admission to doctoral studies on the grounds of an approved research proposal. An average of 65% for a MSW is normally required for admission to the PhD programme. See the  University Calendar.


Programme structure and contents

The programme extends over a minimum of two registration periods. The maximum time prospective students are normally allowed to complete their research proposal in order to register is one year, and after registration, students may take a maximum of three years to complete their study. Students' studies may be discontinued by the Department in the case of unsatisfactory progress. Prospective students must attend a research workshop in the last week of January. The rest of the programme consists of self-study without any coursework. Students choose a topic for a dissertation within a specific field of social work (see the research areas of the Department of Social Work) and conduct an independent research project under the study guidance of a supervisor. ​

Study fees

Please follow this page for course fees​  

Application process

  1. Download the Departmental Postgraduate Screening form here.​
  2. Complete and submit the Departmental Postgraduate Screening Form to Prof. Engelbrecht (
  3. Apply online at
  4. If you our qualifications in Social Work were obtained at a tertiary institution outside South Africa, the Postgraduate Office will determine your eligibility to postgraduate studies by conducting a credential evaluation of your qualification(s) upon receipt of a formal application lodged to the University.​
  5. Applications open the beginning of March and close at the end of August.
  6. Feedback on the success of the application will be provided in October with further details on the postgraduate workshop to be attended.
  7. A supervisor will be allocated during the postgraduate workshop.
  8. The supervisor works with the student to prepare a research proposal.
  9. Once a supervisor and Departmental Committee are satisfied with a prospective candidate's research proposal, they nominate members of an interdisciplinary Admissions Committee who have to approve the proposal at a predetermined meeting, where the student is present.
  10. The recommendation of the Admissions Committee is submitted to the Faculty's Higher Degrees and Research Committee and if accepted, the proposal is recommended to the Faculty Board and the Senate.
  11. Once the research proposal has been approved by the Senate, the candidate may register.
  12. After the first registration, students must register every year before the end of March for the full period of study until the degree is awarded.

    For inquiries: 
    Prof Lambert Engelbrecht
    Tel.: (021) 808 2073 
    ​E-mail: ​