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.

Returning students should please attempt to self-register. Note that our office is not authorised to register students. The registrar's division (academic administration) accepts ultimate responsibility for registration. ​

All new and returning students, please note:
  • Install a multi-factor authentication (MFA) app - that verifies user identity - on your phone or tablet before attempting registration.
  • 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 registration from

For internation​al stude​​​nts ​o​​​n​​ly:​​​

International students are warmly welcomed on Tygerburg campus. Tygerberg International will process the documents listed here in order to lift the international hold. Any queries can be sent to Tygerberg International (

  • 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)

Returning doctoral students:
  • South African students are encouraged to self-register via SunStudent. Should you be unable to register yourself, please check the troubleshooting bullets below the infographic on this page.
  • 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
  • Scroll down to below the infographic for more information about other prerequisites for returning registration.

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, students who are South African citizens please write to to request registration, copying our office on; while international students 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 for the purpose of successfully completing the proposal review and submit an application for ethics clearance. The ideal is that these milestones should be achieved by September of year 1. This is called the Doctoral Preparatory module. This form 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.

  • 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.

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, please visit our PhD Support page. 

Troubleshooting registration for returning PhD students:

  • All returning students should submit an annual progress report and an ethical clearance or renewal letter bearing their name to by 15 November every academic year;

  • Students with a financial block will be unable to register, but if a scholarship is due to be paid, please liaise with Ms L Matthee (​​) 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, 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.

Please see an overview of SU registration here: