Doctoral Office
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RIDS  |  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 where relevant, to kickstart the licensing or patenting process via Innovus.


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 also nominate examiners by six months prior to submission, to allow time for the appointment / governance process.
    Steps: The supervisor/s may suggest examiners to the HoD.
    Once the HoD has agreed, the supervisor should informally approach each examiner to request their availability and to obtain their full CV. The HoD will be able to advise who chairs the relevant Postgraduate Programme Committee (PPC). The PPC recommends the nomination by submitting a report and nomination form to the FMHS Committee for Postgraduate Research. The nomination form should include a cell number and be accompanied by external examiners' CVs. No dissertation may be submitted to examiners if they have not been recommended by the Committee for Postgraduate Research (CPR). Please take note that the SU Senate may refuse to approve examiners and results at the same meeting, making timeous nomination essential.​
    *These requirements apply equally in the case of a joint degree.
    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.

  • Allow sufficient time for formatting the final manuscript (click here for formatting guidelines) and thereafter producing a Turnitin report (scroll down for more)

  • 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)​
    *In case of a joint degree, where SU is not handling the examination, do inform the Tygerberg Doctoral Office at that the dissertation is being distributed for examination.

  • 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. (Click here for more guidance.)

  • 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.
    *This requirement applies equally in the case of a joint degree.

  • 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 and Abstract: 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. The final abstract should be included in all three languagesof the university prior to upload.
    *This requirement applies equally in the case of a joint degree, though the joint agreement may specify the translation of the abstract into an additional language.

  • 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.