The Doctor of Philosophy degree is a research degree undertaken with the guidance of a supervisor for a minimum period of two years.

PhD applicants need to:

  • Hold 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). Verification of whether the qualification is equivalent to a South African degree is also required. This can be done by contacting the South African Qualifications Authority.
  • Demonstrate that they have the necessary competencies in research methodology and practice required for the completion of an independent study research degree.
  • Nominate a suitable supervisor with the application.

International applicants for whom English is a second language are required to submit one of the following, unless this requirement is waived by the GSB Research Director:

  • 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 here. For the IELTS contact the British consulate or embassy in the applicant’s home country.


PLEASE NOTE: The UCT GSB PHD programme is highly competitive, and only a few places are awarded each year. 

  • Your Master's degree must be complete (awarded)
  • You must have obtained at least 70% for your Master's dissertation
  • Your proposed PHD research must align with your previous Master's dissertation 

To ensure that this can be assessed as part of your application, you must upload a completed Master’s dissertation.