Stellenbosch University | Political Science


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​​​Doctoral Programme (PhD)

Admission r​​eq​uirements

A master’s degree ​​​with postgraduate training in research methodology. A candidate who has not completed a postgraduate research methodology course must register for the equivalent thereof at the department. Final admission to doctoral studies is dependent on the acceptance of a research proposal.

Programme st​ructure

The programme entails a research project that extends over a minimum of two years and leads to the dissertation.


The programme focuses on contemporary issues in the different fields of Political Science and International Studies. Particular emphasis is placed on research problems that are related to South and Southern Africa, and that are linked to the Department’s research programmes. The content of the dissertation is determined by the nature of the research problem that is being investigated, the content of the research aim and the procedures for gathering data.


Candidates are required to undertake independent research under the supervision of a promoter and to submit a written research report in the form of a dissertation. This dissertation is evaluated internally as well as externally. The candidate must also undergo an oral examination which focuses on the content of the dissertation and the candidate’s knowledge of the discipline.

​Form​al provisions

Before sending in an application to the registrar, it is advisable to contact the Chairperson of the Department (Prof. Nicola De Jager) in order to discuss the proposed doctoral project, and the possible appointment of a promoter. Once a promoter is appointed, the candidate prepares a formal proposal, setting out the problem to be investigated, the main research hypotheses, the method of research and the project’s expected contribution to the discipline. It is on the basis of this proposal that the Faculty’s Research Committee, decides to confirm an application for doctoral studies.

Prospective doctoral candidates are advised to consult Part One of the Yearbook, as well as the Faculty of Arts’ Higher Degrees Guide.

Enquiries: Prof. N de Jager
Tel: +27 21 808 2107

Ms Pauliane Davidse
Tel: +27 21 808 2414