Earth Sciences
Welcome to Stellenbosch University

​​​Offers within the Department

trace-ex-1.jpgPostdoctoral research fellow position to study geochemical tracers from Cretaceous sediments to provide framework and context for a newly discovered archosaurian assemblage in the San Juan Basin, Northwestern New Mexico, United States.

Center for Trace and Experimental Biogeochemistry at Stellenbosch University, South Africa ( in collaboration with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, Raleigh, North Carolina (USA) invites applications for a postdoctoral position.

This project seeks to generate a robust regional framework of climate and biotic change for the Aptian to Maastrichtian of the Western Interior of North America, allowing for broader continental-scale linkages across pan-Laurasia. The specific objectives or the project are to A) develop a refined geochronologic and biostratigraphic framework for key WIB 'mid'-Cretaceous formations; B) collect paleoclimate proxy data (trace metal, biomarkers and stable isotopes) to reconstruct regional climate trends; C) increase cross- formational biodiversity comparisons by targeting temporal and regional gaps in the Cretaceous fossil record of the WIB; and D) use quantitative analyses to deconstruct the pace and timing of biotic evolution and compare key evolutionary events with the physiogeographic and climatic history of the region.

The candidate will work on temporal and stratigraphic correlations, as well as paleoenvironmental reconstructions for a suite of newly discovered archosaurian-rich assemblages in the mid- to Late-Cretaceous sedimentary successions in the San Juan Basin, NW New Mexico. The position will require fieldwork, participation in sample and fossil collection, along with core analysis, all of which will require high levels of fitness and ability to work long hours in harsh conditions. After the sample acquisition, intensive sample peparation and laboratory work will be required, including organic matter characterization, stable-isotope analysis, radioisotopic dating, elemental concentrations and biomarker anaysis.

The candidate must be highly motivated with a desire to work in an interactive and multidisciplinary environment. The applicant should have practice in fieldwork and be experienced in laboratory-based analytical work in the field of stable isotope- and organic geochemistry. A strong backgrond in stratigraphy (litho-, chemo-, and biotratigraphy) and paleoclimate reconstructions is required, and knowledge in earth system modelling will be beneficial. Fluency in both written and spoken English, and experience with writing and publishing scientific results in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals is requested. The candidate must have completed a doctoral degree in earth sciences by the start of the fellowship.

The candidates must have a completed Ph.D. by appointment start date and be within 5 years from graduation. Appointment is for two years with the possibility of renewal for one additional year, contingent upon satisfactory performance. The fellowship stipend is R200,000 per annum. Postdoctoral Research Fellowships are non-taxable, meaning that fellowships must be granted without fringe benefits and no services are required of the successful candidate in return for the fellowship beyond the agreed research activity. To apply, send an email application to or and attach a single PDF containing a cover letter describing research experience, interests, and collaborative experience; a curriculum vitae; and contact information for two (2) references. Applications will stay open until the position is filled. The starting date for the fellowship is 1 September 2018 or as soon as thereafter.


2018 until filled

Postdoctoral research fellow position to study bioactive trace elements to understand seasonal cycling of trace metals in Southern African and Antarctic coastal oceans:
The Trace Metal Experimental and Biogeochemistry Group (TracEx) within the Department of Earth Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Western Cape, South Africa, invites applications for a postdoctoral position. The broader research project examines the biogeochemical
cycling of iron, copper and zinc and their link in controlling primary productivity. The postdoctoral fellow will apply geo-tracers to understand cycling and interaction of trace nutrient with phytoplankton to study Southern African and Antarctic coastal regions. Thus,
preference will be given to applicants with expertise in clean room techniques and biogeochemistry of trace metals linked to physics of the ocean. Added experience in biogeochemical modelling, and knowledge of GIS and remote sensing will be advantageous.
The position will require fieldwork, participation in Southern Ocean cruises and travel, therefore physical fitness and ability to work long hours in harsh conditions is a pre-requisit.
The applicant may assist with future proposal preparation and will have the opportunity to advise graduate students and, to some extent, if desired, support undergraduate teaching and outreach activities. Opportunities for interdisciplinary research exist through collaboration
with the other groups in South Africa (e.g., oceanography, biotechnology) and internationally (e.g., GEOTRACES community).
Applicants should have a doctoral degree in a related discipline such as Oceanography, Earth Sciences, Biogeochemistry and a record of scientific research publications in scholarly journals relavent to this position.
The position is for 24 months, commencing from June of 2018 or earlier, subject to grant success. Renewal of the position for the second year is subject to performance and availability of funds. For further information about the project and to apply please contact
Prof A Roychoudhury ( Application should include, as a single pdf document, a cover/motivation letter outlining experience and expertise relevant to the project, a comprehensive Résumé/CV and a short research statement. Please also provide the names
and contact information of three professional referees.​




​Bursaries, internships and other opportunities


This page shows you earth science related bursaries and opportunities for e.g. internships. The list is not complete of course, but rather should help you find out which bursaries or internships etc. are available. Where available, we provide information on eligibility and deadlines for application. There will surely be other possibilities not mentioned here, so be inspired and look around in the field of your interest. Good Luck!

Important: We only share the information here. We, as Department of Earth Sciences, do not provide these bursaries and internships, so make sure you follow the link and apply with the respective organisation, not with us! Also note that we share the information to the best of our knowlegde. Since the information comes from other sources, we do not take responsibility that the information is accurate and/or complete. 


Bursary information from Stellenbosch University

A wide variety bursaries and loans for prospective students are available from the University, as well as from private institutions and companies. Detail information regarding bursaries and loans is stated in the Calendar, Part 2 that can be obtained in the same manner as application forms.​

Application forms can be obtained from:

  • Postal Address: Bursaries and Loans (Undergraduate), University of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602

  • SU Client Services Centre, Tel: 021 808 9111, E-mail:

  • Enquiries electronically:




External Bursaries, Prizes and Internships


 Call for Applications​

Masters and Doctoral Scholarships for Full-time Studies for 2019

which includes

DAAD, Extension Support for Masters and Doctoral Studies, Innovation, Freestanding, Scarce Skills Development Fund, SASAC and TWAS (1 application)

SU Internal Closing Date: 8 June 2018 !!


Dear Colleague

1.   The 2019 NRF scholarships for Masters and Doctoral students are now open. 

2.   KINDLY NOTE that individuals that are in Full-time salaried, contract or permanent employment, while persuing M or PhD studies, MAY NOT APPLY.

3.   Students can apply for the Masters and Doctoral scholarships for Full-time Studies on

4.   Below is a summary of the criteria. For further detailed information regarding the application process, scholarship amounts and criteria, you are kindly referred to attached notices.




*NEW Requirement from the NRF*

As stipulated in the Ministerial Guidelines on improving equity in the distribution of bursaries and fellowship (2013), the NRF will be setting a ceiling on the number of Masters and Doctoral applications that may be submitted by each institution.

Only 200 Masters applications and 150 Doctoral applications are allowed to be submitted by Stellenbosch University

Preference is given to students that meet the following criteria:

    • Students that obtained an average mark of 65% and above in their previous degree(s);
    • Students that have received an NRF scholarship for Honours' or Masters studies and/or who are currently funded for postgraduate studies by the NRF; and
    • Students that have completed their previous degree within the minimum prescribed period and/or that will be completing their current postgraduate degree within regulation time.


According to the Targets set in the Ministerial Guidelines namely:

      • 87% South African citizens and permanent residents.
      • 80% black (African, Coloured and Indian).
      • 5% students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region; 4% students from the rest of Africa; 4% students from non-African countries
      • 55% Female
      • 4% students living with a disability

*In all the scholarship categories, (except for the NRF-TWAS Doctoral), priority will be given to financially needy, yet academically capable applicants who were previously funded by the NSFAS and/or University Financial Aid. This does not exclude applicants who were not previously funded by NSFAS and/or University Financial Aid from receiving postgraduate funding from the NRF.

For more information please visit the NRF website


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