Doctoral Office
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

RIDS  |  Tygerberg Doctoral Office

PhD Registration

On behalf of the Tygerberg Doctoral Office, a warm welcome to the PhD programme in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences on the Tygerberg campus of Stellenbosch University. The Tygerberg Doctoral Office offers comprehensive support of your doctoral research journey, once you are registered. Lower down on this page, we provide advice to help you start your doctoral journey on the right note.

Please note: Admission to the doctoral programme is competitive. Registration can only happen after you have successfully completed the online application process and accepted an offer to study at SU. Allow sufficient time for the document verification process and selection.

The infographic above provides a concise summary of the initial PhD process. Please click anywhere on the graphic to view a larger version. For more detail on and resources for each step of the doctorate, please visit our PhD Support page.

All new and returning students, please note:
  • A student must register at the start of the programme and early every year until completion of the degree.
  • Install a multi-factor authentication (MFA) app - that verifies user identity - on your phone or tablet before attempting registration.
  • Kindly email to request registration.
  • For internation​al stude​​​nts ​o​​​n​​ly:​​​

International students are warmly welcomed on Tygerburg campus. Please provide Ms Shanlynn Timm (; CC of Tygerberg International with the following pre-registration documents:

  • Proof of valid passport (certified)
  • Proof of valid study visa (certified, or possibly a receipt of visa application)
  • Proof of South African medical cover (usually applicable)
  • Proof of payment or scholarship letter (as per official fee estimate)

New doctoral students:
  • Admission to the doctoral programme is competitive. Registration can only happen after you have successfully completed the online application process and accepted an offer to study at SU.
  • Once this process has been completed, all students please write to to request registration; while international students also write to to complete the pre-registration process, copying our office on
  • All new entrants to the FMHS doctoral programme are first registered for a proposal phase (called the Doctoral Preparatory module) for the purpose of successfully completing the proposal review and submitting an application for ethics clearance. The ideal is that these milestones should be achieved by September of year 1. This manner of registration is significantly more affordable than PhD registration, but fees increase if a second year is required to attain proposal and ethics approval.
  • Staff members who embark on doctoral studies may apply for a staff rebate via FMHS Business Management.

Returning doctoral students:
  • All returning South African students are encouraged to self-register via SunStudent during the annual window period for e-registration early each academic year. Note that our office is not authorised to register students. The registrar's division (academic administration) accepts ultimate responsibility for registration. ​
  • Our international students first complete the annual pre-registration process by supplying Ms Shanlynn Timm ( of Tygerberg International with their valid passport and study visa, proof of payment, and proof of medical care (where relevant); and thereafter self-register via SunStudent or request registration from Copy on all correspondence.
  • Consult the Online Registration Guide before you try to register via SUNStudent - the new software differs markedly from the old student information system. This applies also to returning students who registered via the Legacy student information system in previous years.
  • Should you struggle to self-register, see our registration troubleshooting sheet.
  • If you are still unable to self-register, please request assistance from
  • Scroll down to below the infographic for more information about other prerequisites for returning registration.

  • Joint degrees:
    A joint degree may commence after a formal agreement between SU and the other institution has been reached. Permission for such an agreement must be sought from the director of the SU Postgraduate Office. Do consult the SU Postgraduate Office web page at this link.

Returning PhD students: Prerequisites for registration

  • All returning students should have submitted an annual progress report and an ethical clearance or renewal letter bearing their name to in October of the previous academic year;

  • Students with a financial block will be unable to register, but if a scholarship is due to be paid, please email the bursary letter to Ms L Matthee (​​) and enquire about the possibility of lifting the financial block.

  • The main internal supervisors of students who do not manage to complete the PhD in the maximum registration period, are required to write a formal letter motivating continued registration and addressed to the Committee for Postgraduate Research, to accompany the progress report, where a student has exceeded the ordinary maximum duration of four years of PhD registration before graduation during year four. The CPR and Faculty Board will evaluate this application for continued registration before Senate takes a final decision. Individual students will receive communication in this regard. A strict limit is applied to these concessions.

  • After completing the steps above, as soon as possible and certainly by 28 January each new academic year, returning students may register themselves via SunStudent. Should you struggle to self-register, see our registration troubleshooting sheet.

  • Students who still experience difficulties after following all steps above, are invited to write to the registrar's division (, to assist with registration.
    Do copy

Please see an overview of SU registration here: