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Application Requirements

Phd Programme

Applicants need to be in possession of a recognised Master’s degree (or in special circumstances, at the discretion of the Senate, an approved Bachelor’s degree or qualification recognised by the Senate as equivalent). They must demonstrate that they have the necessary competencies in research methodology and practice that are required for the completion of an independent study research degree.

Applicants will need to include with their application a nomination of a suitable supervisor. Your nominated PhD supervisor must be a full-time academic at the GSB and must be actively publishing in the scholarly literature in the field in question. GSB faculty can discuss applicants’ research ideas and preliminary proposal at their discretion, but we advise applicants not to contact potential supervisors without some preliminary research ideas. Note that it is not always possible to find a supervisor who is both suitable and available and an applicant cannot be registered if there is no available supervisor for the proposed research at the GSB. (For a full list of GSB faculty and their research interests, please see here).

1. Complete an online application:

All prospective applicants must complete the UCT Online Application for Admission. When completing the “Programme of Study” section, please select the following:

      • Level of Qualification: Doctoral
      • Faculty: Commerce
      • Academic Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy
      • Specialisation or Major: Business Administration

    Selecting any other specialisation will result in your application not reaching the GSB.

      2. Upload documents

      Applicants must upload the following documents when completing the online application:

        • CV
        • Academic transcripts
        • Application deadline  is the 15th of September and applicants are required to provide  the following to complete their application:
          • 300 words on why you want to do a PhD
          • 300 words on why a PhD at the GSB
          • 300 words on why do you want to work with the supervisor you had nominated
        • Preliminary research proposal: the document that is required should be between 2500 and 3500 words (five pages).The purpose of the preliminary proposal is to make a case for the research undertaken and it needs to show that the applicant has the ability to identify a pertinent research question, has an initial grasp of the relevant literature,  and has some of the necessary competencies in research methodology and practice that are required for the completion of an independent study research degree. 

          The proposal should include:
          • An abstract of 100 words
          • An outline of the essential background literature;
          • The rationale of the proposed research, with reference to the intended practical and theoretical contributions;
          • The key question(s) to be addressed and the main objectives of the research;
          • The approach to be taken in doing the project, including a preliminary outline of the proposed research design and data generation and analysis methods;
          • References.

      3. Deliver hard-copy documents

      The following documents need to be couriered or hand-delivered to the GSB campus:

          • Certified copy of ID or passport
          • Certified copies of degree qualifications (degree certificate and transcripts).  Copies of UCT qualifications are not required.
          • Two references letters. One of these letters needs to come from an academic supervisor. The second one ideally should also come from an academic source but can be from a non-academic source who supervised or collaborated with the student on a research project.
          • If the student has not completed a Masters Degree but has completed an MBA degree, a copy of the MBA research thesis, mark obtained and a letter of support of a GSB supervisor is requested. (The student needs to have graduated at the time of registration).
          • Non-refundable application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is R1 250 for African and South African citizens and permanent residents. For international applicants, the application fee is US$250. Bank details are available here.

        Note: Each certified copy of diploma, transcript, partially completed degrees and ID or passport must carry an original stamp from a Commissioner of Oaths (or equivalent). Documents which have previously been certified and then photocopied, are not acceptable.

        3. Email Master Dissertation

        • Masters Research Report dissertation and mark obtained (the student needs to have graduated at the time of registration) should be emailed to admissions@gsb.uct.ac.za.

          Please select the UCT Online Application for Admission here.

          Postal address:
          GSB Admissions
          Graduate School of Business,
          University of Cape Town, Breakwater Campus,
          Portswood Road, Green Point,
          Cape Town, South Africa, 8001

          Applications will be assessed by the GSB Research Working Group, or a predefined sub-set thereof. The nominated supervisor(s) will be invited to this discussion. A joint decision will be made to confirm that the applicant can register for a PhD at the GSB, after which the application is forwarded to the University’s Doctoral Degrees Board.

          International applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit one of the following:

          • A recent score on the TOEFL Test of at least 570 (paper-based) or 230 (computer-based) or 88 (internet-based). This must be obtained within 3-5 years before applying to UCT.
          • A recent overall band score of 7.0 (with no individual element of the test scoring below 6.0) on the international English Language Testing System (IELTS).

          Information on the TOEFL test is available from toefl@ets.org or www.toefl.org and for the IELTS through the British consulate or embassy in the applicant’s home country.

          More general information about the doctoral degree at the University of Cape Town is available via the UCT websites listed under Overview and requirements.

          For programme queries, please contact the Research Co-ordinator, on 021 406 1441 or email research@gsb.uct.ac.za.

          For assistance with the application procedures, please contact the Admissions Department via the details located here.