Doctoral Office
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Committee for Postgraduate Research

Official name: The FMHS Committee for Postgraduate Research (CPR)

Task/purpose and type: The Committee for Postgraduate Research meets quarterly to consider research degree-related matters on behalf of the Faculty Board of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS) of Stellenbosch University, for eventual approval by the SU Senate, the highest academic body of the university.

Forthcoming meeting dates and agenda cut-off dates of the CPR are as follows:

C​PR Meetin​​g​s, 2024

Agenda c​loses at twelve noon / 12:00

CPR Meeting (Hybrid) at 2pm / 14:00

Tuesday, ​16 January 2024
Thursday, 25 Jan​uary 2024
Monday, ​25 March 2024
Thursday, 4 April 2024
Monday, ​10 June 2024
Thursday, 20 June 2024
Tuesday, 1 October 2024
Thursday, 10 October 2024

These dates are also published in the FMHS almanac along with other core dates and deadlines.

Constitution of the committee: CPR representation is determined by the postgraduate research productivity of each academic department.

Any member of a department, as nominated by the Head of Department, may serve on the CPR. Kindly email any changes with regard to representation on the CPR directly to Dr Groenewald at, copying Prof Gey van Pittius at HoD​ s are kindly requested to nominate a new representative before the term of a previous member comes to an end; and to nominate a replacement, should a member go on sabbatical leave. This is necessary for the effective continuation of committee work such as review panel representation, and to achieve a quorum at meetings.

Term of membership: Ordinary membership lasts until a departmental representative resigns, retires, or is replaced by the relevant HoD.

Composition: The Vice Dean: Research and Internationalisation, Prof NC Gey van Pittius, is Chairperson of the FMHS CPR. The head of the FMHS Doctoral Office, Dr HL Groenewald,  is Secretary to the committee. Ex officio membership is also awarded to the FMHS Dean, the Vice Dean: Learning and Teaching, the chairperson of the Tygerberg Postgraduate Student Representative Council, the Deputy Registrar, and the head of the Health Research Ethics office. Click here for a current list of CPR members.


The Committee for Postgraduate Research (CPR) considers research-related matters on behalf of the FMHS. This includes policy and regulations pertaining to research and postgraduate studies, new research degrees for inclusion in the SU Calendar, admission to doctoral research, interruption of studies, supervisors and examiner nominations for research degrees, and the recommendation of postgraduate research degree results.

Membership of the CPR comes with the obligation to participate in the quarterly meetings of the committee; to keep the member's home environment informed of relevant decisions; and to serve on PhD proposal / protocol review committees.

The Tygerberg Doctoral Office allocates CPR representatives to review panels, though it is up to the committee chair to select a mutually suitable date and make other arrangements. The main task of a CPR representative on a doctoral review panel is to ensure that the committee was correctly constituted by the chair, that the standard proposal / protocol review process is followed, that all the necessary panel members (have adequate opportunity to) participate, and that the Form A3 is duly and comprehensively completed (all fields being required). When a CPR representative is equipped to do so, they may also provide a full review report based on domain expertise. The role of CPR representative and of panel chairperson can overlap with that of domain expert, but the role of chair cannot overlap with that of CPR representative. The primary rationale for the central allocation of reviews is to promote an even work division among CPR members with respect to panel reviews.


  • Standard items including the nomination of research degree supervisors and examiners, applications for the interruption of research degree studies, and changes of research degree project titles, are placed on the agenda via Departmental PPC reports in S​enate format​. These reports are submitted to Ms Megan Jantjies by email to, and copied to​. For more detail, you may want to consult the Guiding Document on Drafting a PPC Report from the Tygerberg Centre for Academic Administration. No PPC report may be submitted unless the chair of the PPC has had the opportunity to approve its content.

The nomination of examiners for research masters and doctoral degrees, is placed on the agenda via departmental postgraduate committee reports accompanied by a Nomination of examiners form (either for Research Masters or for Doctorates), examiner contact details, and a CV for each external examiner. No research masters thesis or doctoral dissertation may be sent for examination before the approval of examiners by the CPR. Examiners should be nominated six months before students submit their work for examination. As far as possible, one internal SU examiner and two external examiners should be nominated for each doctoral candidate. A PhD examiner should hold a doctoral degree. More information about eligibility for PhD examination is available in this document.

Calendar entries or edits are placed on the agenda via departmental postgraduate committee reports. Please note the turnaround time from CPR submission to Calendar inclusion is more than a year, as a result of the different levels of scrutiny and approval. As the yearbook is published once per annum, earlier submission will not expedite the process. Calendar items may be submitted in October or November for inclusion in the agenda of a January meeting of the CPR, leading to a Calendar entry in the following academic year. 

  • Certain items are placed on the agenda by the head of the Tygerberg Doctoral Office once particular SU milestones have been met:
The approval of a PhD research project is placed on the agenda by the Secretary after the successful review process and once the clearance letter from the relevant Ethics committee, bearing the name of the candidate, has been submitted to the Tygerberg Doctoral Office. All candidates should aim to apply for ethics clearance within six months from entry into the programme. 

Note 1: This submission includes the formal nomination of the supervisors. The percentage contribution of both internal and external supervisors should be indicated at this juncture. The following mechanism should be used to capture the % division of supervision accurately, both for internal and external supervisors: An identity for the external supervisor should be created on SUN-id and in the process, the individual should be connected to the correct department where they are delivering supervision. The person is linked to the relevant student as usual, but the person is identified as “external” and found on the NAO/PAS search function using their US number (as created in SUN-id). This allows for both an accurate depiction of supervision workload and the correct flow of funds to the environment.

Note 2: The title on a doctoral dissertation should in all cases correspond to the Senate-approved title. Should a title change be required, this should be motivated via a departmental PPC report. Should any change in focus, scope, or depth be implied, the student may well be required to conduct a new proposal review process, followed by a revised ethics application.

Note 3: The review and acceptance of a student's project and title cannot be processed at the CPR if a candidate has entered the programme without formal online acceptance to study at Stellenbosch University. Initial application and selection into the PhD programme occurs online, via the SunStudent student information system.

The approval of PhD results is placed on the agenda once the final supervisor report, final dissertation, and list of corrections have reached the Tygerberg Doctoral Office following the oral examination held at the end of the examination process. Supervisor reports may be prepared in advance of the oral, so that only edits necessitated by the oral remain. The final supervisor report, final dissertation and notice of corrections, all in PDF format, may be attached to an email to (this address only) directly after the oral presentation.

Supervisor motivations for a student to exceed the maximum duration of a PhD are required six months before the maximum registration period is reached. Please see this information sheet on the maximum duration provisions. These motivation letters are scrutinised by the CPR, Faculty Board and Senate. They are requested together with the annual progress report by October each year, for every PhD student in year 5 or later who has not submitted a dissertation for examination by 14 October. These motivations may be sent to

  • A request to include new matters for discussion may be sent by email to Dr Liela Groenewald at before the agenda closing date of the relevant CPR meeting. (This is at the discretion of the chairperson.)

Note: Please send all submissions sooner rather than later, as final SU cut-off dates lead tightly into bi-annual graduation cut-off dates as determined by the SU Senate.​​​

Matters for the CPT: New PhD programmes serve at the Dean's Management Team and thereafter at the FMHS Committee for Postgraduate Teaching (CPT), rather than the Committee for Postgraduate Research. The last opportunity to submit Calendar edits for a particular academic year is the first CPT meeting of the previous academic year. Enquiries on this process may be addressed to Assistant Head of the Centre for Academic Administration (Tygerberg campus) at