Doctoral Office
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​​RDSD  |  Tygerberg Doctoral Office

Examination of FMHS Doctoral Dissertations

A PhD dissertation may be submitted as soon as it is ready for examination, at any point in the year, and preferably well ahead of final cut-off dates. An intention to submit form should have reached the Tygerberg Doctoral Office six months earlier. Inclusion in a particular graduation series can unfortunately not be guaranteed. A candidate may realistically be included in the relevant graduation series, assuming that the examiners were appointed six months earlier, that the dissertation is received positively and reports returned punctually by all three examiners, that the oral report is scheduled about eight weeks after submission, and that the supervisor report is submitted directly thereafter. It is preferable to submit a dissertation for examination not in the last week or two, but by at least four to six weeks prior to the final cut-off date.

The period directly after submission is ideal for preparing and submitting an article for publication in an indexed journal; or to kickstart the patenting process where relevant.


Ideal submission season: May - June
Final cut-off: 31 July (or the last workday before this date)
  • December graduation
Ideal submission season: August - September
Final cut-off: 14 October (or the last workday before this date)
  • March/April graduation


  • Academic environments nominate examiners by six months prior to submission. The nomination form should include a cell number and be accompanied by external examiners' CV and identity document. No dissertation may be submitted to examiners if they have not been recommended by the Committee for Postgraduate Research (CPR). Take note that the SU Senate may refuse to approve examiners and results at the same meeting.​
    A PhD examiner should hold a doctoral degree. More information about eligibility for PhD examination is available in this document. As far as possible, one internal SU examiner and two external examiners should be nominated for each doctoral candidate.

  • Format dissertations according to the following guidelines:
    1. There is no need to include the SU crest on your dissertation
    2. Do include your student number on any one of the initial pages
    3. The title on the dissertation must match the latest, Senate-approved title exactly
    4. Dissertation formatting requirements
    5. Guidelines for the document formatting of an SU doctoral dissertation​​
    6. Format of an FMHS dissertation

  • Submit for examination by sending a single mail with the following three documents attached (and not linked), all in PDF format, to, copying the supervisor/s
    1. Latest version of the Dissertation release form signed by the supervisors and the HoD
    2. Final, approved dissertation in PDF, incorporating the declaration
    3. Separately, the Turnitin report on the very final version of dissertation (compressed​ as necessary)​

    Produce a Turnitin report using the Postgraduate Office Turnitin Sandbox
    1. Avoid uploading your articles or dissertation to the Turnitin repository
    2. You may exclude matches smaller than three words or 1%
    3. Should your own published articles be included in an online repository,
      you may exclude these from the report
    4. Aim for a Turnitin similarity score of no higher than 15%​​

  • Upon submission, candidates are encouraged to prepare journal articles and submit these for publication to indexed journals.

  • After submission, if all parties respond positively, and no substantial revisions are required, the examination process can take about ten weeks. Once all examiners have submitted (positive) reports, an oral examination is scheduled. On completion of the oral, the supervisor/s should submit a final report on the dissertation and examination process. Once all these documents have been received, the result is ready for consideration by Senate. If the supervisor report is submitted by eight weeks after the final cut-off date, the formal governance process can take approximately three months.

  • Oral examination: The written examination is completed before the oral examination is arranged. The revised dissertation is usually available ahead of the oral. At the oral, the candidate should be able to satisfy all concerns of the examiners. More information on the oral arrangements is available here.

  • SunScholar upload: After the oral, the final, approved dissertation is uploaded to SunScholar, only via the online thesis / dissertation nomination system. Nominations can be done (only) by following the click-path > Student Admin > Thesis / Dissertation Nomination. The SU library is the custodian of SunScholar and provides more information at this link. Punctual upload of the dissertation to SunScholar is a formal prerequisite for graduation.

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

  • A formal letter of completion is automatically issued by the registrar's division upon Senate approval of the result. Should you require a letter of completion at an earlier stage, this can be requested, but only after the result has been approved by the Committee for Postgraduate Research, which meets quarterly. After approval of the result by the CPR, a letter of completion may be requested from Ms Megan Jantjies ( of the registrar's division. Regrettably, the Tygerberg Doctoral Office cannot issue such a letter.