Is there a specific date on which I can start my PhD studies?

Yes. Candidates that apply by the end of April are expected to register by the last Friday of July. Candidates that apply by the end of October are expected to register by the last Friday of February

Is the PhD full-time or could I do it part-time?

You can either do a PhD full-time or part-time.

How long does a PhD take?

UCT has a requirement of a minimum registration of 2 years before the PhD thesis can be submitted for examination and a maximum registration period of 5 years. Even if full-time, many candidates take more than 3 years to complete and all candidates need to be careful to finish within 5 years.


If I am not based in Cape Town, how much of my time do I need to spend there?

UCT has a requirement that PhD candidates should "attend at the University for a period or periods totaling at least one year". The Department recommends that this time be split – with an initial period of about 6 months in Cape Town undertaking a detailed literature review and preparing a full proposal for Departmental assessment. Towards the end of the PhD process, we recommend spending up to a year in Cape Town to finalize analyses and writing.


What are the fees for PhD studies?

University fees are set on an annual basis. There is a standard PhD fee as well as international student fees. Full information is contained on the UCT website and in the fees handbook.


Does UCT offer a 'PhD by papers?'

UCT does not accept a 'PhD by papers' in the sense in which it is sometimes used, i.e. by accumulating a number of articles and binding them together for submission.

You can include articles that have been published during the time you have been registered for your PhD, but they need to 'fit' coherently into the overall thesis. The PhD thesis that incorporates published articles needs to be comparable to a monograph PhD thesis, in that it must have a detailed introduction, a very detailed literature review, either separate methods and results chapters or chapters that include the methods and results of that sub-study, a chapter which discusses in detail the overall findings and a concluding chapter.

Masters by Dissertation

Our major masters programme is the Masters in Public Health, which combines course work with a dissertation. However, occasionally, we accept students who wish to undertake a masters consisting only of dissertation research. The process for applying to undertake a masters by dissertation research is the same as for a PhD.