This document contains the general guidelines that must be followed for applications for doctoral study and the submission of such applications in the Faculty of Military Science. Promotors are requested to ensure that submissions are drawn up in accordance with these guidelines.
A. Requirements for application
(1) A candidate intending to register for doctoral study in the Faculty of Military Science must first discuss the matter with the promotor of his/her choice. The promotor informs the departmental and school chair concerned. If there is any uncertainty about the most suitable person, the school chair will investigate and discuss the matter with the Dean and appoint a promotor, if possible.
(2) The candidate in consultation with the Faculty Officer must submit a written application to the Registrar for admission to doctoral study, completing the required form and paying the applicable fee. All relevant information on the candidate's existing qualifications and where they were obtained must accompany the application. International students must also ensure that their previous qualifications are assessed by the International Office (information in this regard is available on the website of the International Office).
(3) The Office of the Registrar will refer the application to the Faculty Officer. After consulting with the promotor, and ensuring that the policies of both university and department have been complied with, the Faculty Officer will bring it to the PhD admission committee for a recommendation whether or not the candidate may be considered for admission.
(4) The Committee must consist of at least five members who should preferably all have doctorates, including (a) the promotor, (b) one secundus dean, two subject specialists (c) an additional member who is a senior member of the Faculty (d) two other members who each represent other schools. If desired, the Admissions Committee may consist of more than five members, but it should include representatives of at least three schools. The Dean or his representative is the chair and comprises the PhD Admissions Committee.
(5) The candidate, in consultation with his/her promotor, is expected to formulate a proposal of the intended research, and how it will be undertaken. The doctoral research proposal must be drawn up in accordance with the guidelines given in
Section B of this document.
(6) The doctoral proposal must be made available to all members of the PhD Admissions Committee. The Committee will meet to discuss the proposal and recommend possible changes to it. The proposal will be referred back to the candidate for revision if the PhD Admissions Committee is not satisfied with it. The primary role of the PhD Admissions Committee is to ensure that submissions meet acceptable research standards and to take note of aspects such as the quality of submissions, the achievability of the proposed study and the extent to which it is innovative or will supplement existing knowledge. The function of the PhD Admissions Committee is therefore to make an expert judgment on submissions and to evaluate their scholarly value.
(7) Once the proposal is acceptable to the PhD Admissions Committee, the application will be recommended, via the faculty officer, to the Faculty Board. This must be done on the prescribed form (the pro forma cover page; see Addendum A[ii]), which must be completed and signed by all members of the PhD Admissions Committee. The promotor must also provide a short recommendation (approximately 150‐250 words) on the academic merits of the proposal, and indicate whether or not the research proposal needs ethical clearance.
(8) The doctoral research proposal should be accepted by all members of the PhD Admissions Committee before it is submitted.
B. Format of the doctoral proposal
[Please note that the following section is based on the structure and elements of a research proposal as summarised by Mouton, Johann (2001), How to Succeed in Your Master's and Doctoral Studies: A South African Guide and Resource Book. Pretoria: Van Schaik. It is highly recommended that doctoral research proposals are prepared in consultation with the information contained in this publication. The format below serves merely as a recommendation, but promotors must ensure that the eventual research proposal pays sufficient attention to all required facets of a proposal.]
(1) Candidate, Title of dissertation, Promotor, Co‐promotor, Degree, and Field of study
The title of the dissertation must be concise but informative. The names of the promotor and co‐promotor (if necessary) must also be clearly stated.
(2) Preliminary study and rationale
In this section, a detailed background to the proposed study has to be given, i.e. a thorough explanation of why the study is being undertaken. Reference is usually made to existing knowledge that has already been generated in relation to the field of investigation and the approaches that are usually used, and the deficiencies in respect of existing research are pointed out. This section thus contains a brief summary of the state of research on the topic.
In addition, the candidate may mention under this heading his/her research experience or other academic background, relevant to the proposed study (for example, a Master's [or other] degree or other research/training in a related topic).
NB The candidate needs to provide references only to works cited under this heading or explicitly in the rest of the doctoral proposal.
(3) Problem statement and focus
Doctoral study preferably concerns research undertaken with the intention of solving an existing and clearly formulated problem. The precise nature of the problem must be clearly formulated, taking into account, in particular, the meaning of the central concepts posed in its problem statement. The problem statement should be stated in not more than a single paragraph, and should formulate the focal point of the dissertation concisely, intelligibly and clearly. In short, the problem statement serves as the foundation for the study and clearly explains the key elements of the proposed study.
(4) Goals, theoretical points of departure, research questions and/or hypothesis/hypotheses
Although the statement of the problem poses the central question addressed in the dissertation in a concise and focused form, this heading offers the opportunity of formulating the goals more systematically. Assumptions and/or points of departure on which the research will be based and the theoretical framework(s) within which the research will be undertaken are also, as far as possible, stated under this heading, and provisional research questions or hypotheses, where relevant, formulated.
(5) Research design and methods
Candidates must clearly state what approach(es) and methods they intend using to address and attempt to solve the proposed problem. They should indicate their familiarity with possible controversies or limitations that exist in their field of research regarding the methods in question and/or potential problems and how they are planning to approach these. In the case of quantitative empirical research, details must be provided of the way in which key concepts will be operationalised and the manner in which data will be collected and analysed, possibly with examples of questionnaires or references to standard or newly developed measuring instruments.
If the study is of an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary nature, this must be clearly stated. Candidates should then give an account of the questions that methodologically problematise such an undertaking, and indicate how such problems can/will be overcome.
(6) Time framework and provisional chapter layout
Candidates must give an explanation under this heading of the different phases through which the research will pass, and how these phases are linked logically and systematically. Preferably, they should provide clear indications, by formulating a provisional table of contents of the proposed dissertation, that they have a systematic and logically coherent and progressive plan of action for the project.
Candidates must also indicate the deadlines for the completion of each of the identified phases of the research. These deadlines should clearly indicate when the research is likely to be completed. Promotors and candidates should, as far as possible, use the time schedule to monitor the candidate's progress.
The expected impact of the research should be indicated briefly under this heading: for
example, in what respects it makes a new contribution to the discipline, how it confirms
or challenges conventional views, how it contributes to the current debates and/or what consequences the implementation/application of the new knowledge in society might have (if this is relevant).
(8) Connection with the doctoral programme(s) of the department
An indication should be given here, in consultation with the promotor, of the way the proposed research is related to or is part of the doctoral programme(s) offered by the department according to the Calendar.
The aim of this section is to ensure that the candidate takes into account the potential
financial implications of the doctoral study, and the possible impact thereof on the feasability of the research/study/project. It is thus necessary that the candidate indicates whether extraordinary research expenses are expected, and also how he/she intends to cover such costs. Under extraordinary research expenses are considered expenses which the candidate can't handle in his/her personal capacity, and which thus have the potential to deem the research unexecutable. It's being accepted as principle that the candidate is personally responsible for the financing of his/her doctoral study, and that with the acceptance of the research proposal by the Admissions Committee, this principal still applies.
Submissions should usually be between 5000 and 7 000 words, or to the satisfaction of the PhD Committee with references excluded and APA reference style or appropriate reference style for the specific focus of study. Library and statistical services (Prof Kidd) will be available for the 12 months period to prepare the proposal and afterwards for the total study.