HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR PHD APPLICATION

The decision to pursue a PhD is not one to be taken lightly, and it’s important that you fully consider the time and effort commitment required to complete.

The application process includes a number of steps with some preparation required for each.


STEP 1: YOUR PRE-APPLICATION

If you have enquired about the programme, you will receive an email with a unique link to your personal application portal. Click on ‘start your application now’ in the email you have received to begin.

Alternatively you can start here.

The pre-application process will include the following:

  • Personal information – tell us more about yourself
  • Motivation Essays – guidelines for writing your motivations
  • Supervisor request – nominate an appropriate research supervisor
  • Master’s Dissertation – Guidance on sharing your previous Master’s dissertation
  • Preliminary research proposal – Guidelines for developing your proposal
SUPERVISOR REQUEST

Applicants for the UCT GSB PhD programme must ensure that they have secured a supervisor BEFORE completing the programme application. You will find the supervisor request form as a downloadable file in your unique personal application portal.

Your nominated PhD supervisor must be a full-time academic at the UCT GSB and must be actively publishing in the scholarly literature in the field in question. 

UCT 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. 

Please note that without a supervisor your application will not be considered, and you will not be able to register for the PhD in Business Administration degree.

PREPARE YOUR DOCUMENTS

Once your supervisor has provisionally accepted your proposal, you will receive a link to your submit your UCT online application along with a series of supporting documents. 

The following documents will be required: 

  • CV
  • ID document
  • (x3) Motivation Letters
  • Copies of certificates and transcripts
  • (x2) Reference letters: Two reference letters from individuals who know you in a professional context; one needing to be an academic from your highest qualification
  • Preliminary proposal
  • Masters dissertation

Thereafter, you will be prompted to confirm these same documents by our admissions team so be sure to keep these files on hand.

MOTIVATION ESSAYS

To help you prepare, please see guidelines for your essays

  • Please write clearly and openly about yourself.
  • Give examples where useful.
  • Each motivation should be a minimum of 300 words and a maximum of 400 words.

Motivation Questions

  • What is your motivation for embarking on a PhD?
  • What is your motivation for choosing the UCT GSB?
  • Write at least one nomination for an appropriate supervisor based at the GSB, and please include a justification of this choice.

PREVIOUS MASTERS DISSERTATION

Applicants to the PhD programme are usually expected to have graduated from a relevant Master’s programme.  When you submit your programme application, please share your previous research with us.

The link to your Master’s Research Report dissertation and mark obtained (you need to have graduated at the time of registration) will be required.


PRELIMINARY RESEARCH PROPOSAL

Applicants to the UCT GSB PhD programme are required to prepare a preliminary research proposal. 

Your preliminary proposal should be approximately 5 pages in length or 2 500 words. 

The purpose of the proposal is to make a case for the research to be undertaken. 

It will need to show that;

  • the applicant has the ability to identify a pertinent research question,
  • has at least 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 (not necessarily in the following order):

  • 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
STEP 2: SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION TO UCT CENTRAL ADMISSIONS

Before proceeding with your application submission, please ensure you have:

  • completed the pre-application
  • confirmed your nominated supervisor with the UCT GSB Research Office
  • completed your preliminary research proposal in accordance with the guidelines provided

You may now complete and submit your UCT online application. 

Please retain a copy of all submitted documents (they will be required for the next step).

When completing the "Programme of Study" section, please select the following:

  • 2021 academic year
  • Level of Qualification: Doctoral
  • Faculty: Commerce
  • Academic Qualification: Doctor of Philosophy

Specialisation or Major: Business Administration

You should receive confirmation from the admissions team once your application has been received.

STEP 3: CONFIRM YOUR DOCUMENT UPLOADS

Please return to your personal application portal and proceed to the document upload step.

Due to operational disruptions caused by COVID-19, this step allows us to speed up the processing of your application. 

STEP 4: PAY YOUR APPLICATION FEE
South African and SADC applicantsR100 (One Hundred Rand)
Applicants from all other countriesR300 (Three Hundred Rand)
STEP 5: SEND US YOUR HARD COPIES

All documents submitted in support of your application must be verified for authenticity. This is done through the submission of your documents in hard copy.

Due to operational disruptions caused by COVID-19, we are not currently able to receive hard copies at campus. Please await communication form the admissions team with detail on how and when to submit your documents.