Research ethics and access


If any research involves human subjects as interviewees, survey respondents, or in any other way, then the researcher will need to complete an ethics application form. In addition, if research involves accessing UCT staff or students, a separate application will need to be submitted to the relevant directorates. Both processes are described on this page, separately.

Regarding ethics applications, useful information is provided on the Commerce Faculty Ethics in Research website: Please look at the table on this website and follow the instructions that apply to your circumstances:

  • If you are an MBA or EMBA or MCom student, you will need to fill out the form provided in the row on postgraduate students doing projects with less than 90 credits,and then please submit this to your programme coordinator.
    Click here
    to download this form.
  • If you are an MPhil or PhD student, or a member of faculty, please submit an online application as per the Commerce Faculty Ethics in Research website.

Please note that incomplete applications will lead to delays. Note that it is not necessary to wait until a proposal is formally approved to submit an ethics application. It is important to bear in mind, however, that when the research design changes materially in the process of gaining approval for the proposal, you need to resubmit an expedited application that explains the changes.

If you are planning to involve any staff member or student at UCT for the purpose of generating data, you will need a separate permission. In applying for such permission, the researcher will need to provide a brief description of the proposed research, attach the full research proposal, and indicate whether any possible disruption may be caused to the research subjects. Gaining access and obtaining ethical clearance are separate procedures and - if access to UCT members is sought as research subjects - both processes need to be completed and can be done concurrently. Experience thus far shows that applications are processed quickly (within days, mostly). Applications should be sent to the following email addresses:




Attend one of our fascinating and informative events and engage with thought leaders from across South Africa.

Information Sessions

An opportunity to meet the GSB recruitment team and alumni, and have all your course-related questions answered.

About the UCT GSB

Developing leaders. Finding solutions. Advancing our continent.