The GSB PhD programme is an essential component of the GSB’s research strategy and PhD students are a vital part of our research community. While the primary guidance to PhD candidates is provided by the PhD supervisor, fellow PhD students and other faculty provide a rich network of support and interaction.
The typical duration of a PhD project is between three and four years, if the student is dedicating the bulk of her or his time to the project. A candidate must be registered for at least two consecutive years, although registration for a year at another university may be accepted as part of that period. Although no maximum period of time is prescribed for completing a thesis, the university stipulates a "reasonable time", which is generally taken to be five years. If a candidate is not making satisfactory progress, the Commerce Faculty's Higher Degrees Committee may issue a warning, and, if necessary, may refuse re-registration.
Though we do allow part-time PhD students into the programme we recommend that students are able to dedicate at least 20 hours a week to the project. Experience shows that otherwise it is difficult to create and maintain the necessary momentum. Supervisors can at their discretion require students to commit to certain time commitments. It is of the utmost importance that PHD students register and pay fees every year. If not done PHD students will be automatically deregistered.
Once the student is registered in the GSB’s PhD programme, she or he has about six months to develop a full research proposal. This proposal will need to be presented formally to a committee consisting of at least three members of faculty (including the supervisor). The key purpose of this presentation will be to a) assess that the student has been making adequate progress and b) provide some helpful feedback so that the student can improve her/his proposal prior to entering the field.
This process consists of the following:
The appraisal committee will provide formal feedback to the student in writing. The final appraisal could be summarised in one of the three categories (akin to those provided for in PhD final assessments), i.e. a) good as is; b) requires some changes; c) wholly unsatisfactory. If the verdict is “a” the proposal and the committee’s recommendation are sent directly to the Higher Degrees Committee in the Commerce Faculty. If the result is “b” the student will need to make specific revisions to the satisfaction of the supervisor, after which it will be sent to the Higher Degrees Committee. Inadequate proposals that receive a “c” verdict will be considered on a case by case basis, but the likely outcome is that the student will not be allowed to re-register in the next year for a PHD.
For more information, see the following resources provided via UCT’s website:
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