Also consult the General Academic Regulations G42 – G55 and Postgraduate Faculty regulations.
A doctoral degree is a postgraduate qualification of at least 360 credits at NQF Level 10 and must demonstrate a high level of research capability and it must make a significant and original academic contribution at the knowledge frontiers of a discipline or field. The work must be of a quality to satisfy peer review consideration and merit publication. It requires a candidate to undertake research at the most advanced academic levels, requiring a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual and research independence, culminating in the submission, assessment and acceptance of a thesis; as well as the submission of proof of acceptance of a first-author research article for publication issued by an accredited journal. The project should be sufficient to generate at least three research articles.
A student for doctoral studies must complete his or her studies within three years after first registering for the degree.
Students are required to re-register before 31 March of every academic year until all the requirements of the degree have been met.
Providing that progress is satisfactory (based on the annual progress report(s) submitted), renewal of the registration of a doctoral student will be accepted for the second and third year of the study.
Renewal of registration after the three-year period is permitted only in exceptional circumstances and granted only for a limited fixed extension of this period in accordance with the relevant faculty procedures.
- Relevant master’s degree in science
It remains the prerogative of the relevant head of department to require an admissions test prior to registration for the degree study, in addition to the regulatory requirements. A pass in a proficiency test in English (TOEFL) at an acceptable level may also be required, especially in the case of international candidates.
Examinations and pass requirements
Also consult the General Academic Regulations G50
The degree is conferred by virtue of the successful completion of a thesis as well as the submission of proof of acceptance of a first-author research article for publication issued by an accredited journal. The thesis must contain proof of a candidate’s ability to conduct original research that contributes to the development of new knowledge and expertise.
A thesis is submitted to the Head: Student Administration, before the closing date for the relevant graduation ceremonies as announced annually (i.e. 31 October or 31 March to qualify for the Autumn- or Spring graduation, respectively), after permission is granted by the supervisor and co-supervisor(s). (Also consult the General Academic Regulation G50 with regard to the submission and technical editing of the thesis).
If a thesis is submitted after the due date specified above, the student takes the risk that the examination of the thesis may be delayed and the student will not be considered for the graduation concerned. A student will only be allowed to graduate if the student has successfully complied with all the requirements for the particular programme.
The thesis will be evaluated by three examiners (for the appointment of the examination panel, consult the General Academic Regulations G50.4.1).
A specific mark for the thesis is not allocated, but the examiner’s report should clearly state the recommendation that the thesis be accepted or rejected. Reasons must be provided should the recommendation be that the thesis be rejected.
Faculty PhD Celebration:
Candidates will be invited immediately prior to their graduation to showcase their work to the faculty, friends and family that they’ve invited to the event. The faculty will cater for this event and ensure that students and senior management are available for photographic opportunities. Students will be required to be in formal academic attire for the event. It is also recommended, where possible, that supervisors, and faculty management also be in formal academic attire for the event.
Compliance with degree requirements and degree privileges
Also consult the General Academic Regulation G54.
- A doctoral degree will be conferred on a student only after the successful completion of every requirement of each component of the relevant degree programme, including the submission and successful evaluation of the thesis, proof of acceptance of a research publication in an accredited journal, as well as compliance with all the requirements for the particular programme.
- A doctoral degree, including a doctoral degree by virtue of publications, is not deemed to be completed if the electronic version of the thesis or other research-relevant output has not been submitted to the relevant faculty administration prior to the date of closure of the graduation/finalist list for the forthcoming graduation ceremony.
- No one is entitled to any privileges pertaining to a doctoral degree, or a doctoral degree by virtue of publications, before the qualification has been conferred on him or her at a graduation ceremony.
- A doctoral degree, including a doctoral degree by virtue of publications, is not conferred with distinction.
Also consult the General Academic Regulations G50.
The main objective of doctoral studies is to enable the candidate to undertake original research that contributes to the development of new knowledge and expertise in all its semi-fractions, under supervision. The basic requirements and expectations of a PhD at the Faculty are:
- That the project should have been planned, executed and the results written up by the candidate.
- The findings should make an original, meaningful contribution to science.
- The project should be sufficient to generate three research articles of which at least one must be published to comply with the degree requirements. It is recommended that the second article has been submitted for publication and the third to be in draft format when the thesis is submitted for examination.
- Please note that explicit hypothesis-testing, i.e. experimental work is not necessarily mandatory.
The research topic will be determined in consultation with the supervisor and the relevant head of department, following which the research projects will be approved in terms of Faculty guidelines and the General Regulations. Each candidate must satisfy the relevant head of department that he or she is working at an institution with the necessary facilities, to enable him or her to complete the work as required for the degree, satisfactorily.
Research undertaken by a doctoral student is conducted in accordance with the University’s Code of ethics for scholarly activities. All research proposals must be submitted for ethics clearance/approval/exemption to the relevant faculty research and/or research ethics committee. Faculty research ethics committees have the authority to consider and approve or reject research proposals within the guidelines of the general policy.
Retention and preservation of research data
Also consult the General Academic Regulation G50.
The data generated through research conducted at the University of Pretoria must be managed in accordance with the Research Data Management policy and the related Research Data Management procedure. The policy enables the verification of the research and is aimed at the protection of students, researchers, principal investigators and the University against a variety of disputes concerning published or patented research, and the retention of detailed research records for later access.
Non-disclosure of the contents of a study (Embargo): Where part or all of the contents of the doctoral study must remain confidential, the supervisor will be required to submit an application in writing to the Faculty Postgraduate and Research committee stating the grounds for such a request and indicating the duration of the period of confidentiality. This period would normally not exceed 2 (two) years. The committee considers the application and either approves it or refers it back to the supervisor. The faculty must keep record of the decisions and the embargo, and the information must be shared with the Department of Library Services.
University of Pretoria Programme Qualification Mix (PQM) verification project
The higher education sector has undergone an extensive alignment to the Higher Education Qualification Sub-Framework (HEQF) across all institutions in South Africa. In order to comply with the HEQSF, all institutions are legally required to participate in a national initiative led by regulatory bodies such as the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Council on Higher Education (CHE), and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The University of Pretoria is presently engaged in an ongoing effort to align its qualifications and programmes with the HEQSF criteria. Current and prospective students should take note that changes to UP qualification and programme names, may occur as a result of the HEQSF initiative. Students are advised to contact their faculties if they have any questions.