Postdoctoral Information

Definition and purpose of Postdoctoral Research Fellowships

A postdoctoral fellow is regarded as a young researcher (generally up to 40 years of age), with a doctorate, who conducts research at a university in collaboration with a senior research mentor in order to develop his/her research capabilities.

Postdoctoral Fellowships Offered at the University of Pretoria

The UP Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme supports the following categories of postdoctoral fellows.

  • A Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow is focused on international candidates who are not affiliated with UP and are interested in research fields that are of strategic priority to the University.
  • A UP Postdoctoral Fellow is a recent doctoral graduate from UP or another university.
  • A Senior UP Postdoctoral Fellow is a doctoral graduate who has successfully completed a postdoctoral fellowship of at least two years and has authored publications as a postdoctoral fellow.

Externally Funded Postdoctoral Fellows

UP also administers Externally Funded Postdoctoral Fellowship Programmes from different donors. The terms and conditions are as per the funder’s agreement and are made available as and when the fellowships are advertised.   

Duration of Fellowship

  • Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of up to two years.
  • UP Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of up to two years.
  • UP Senior Postdoctoral Fellowships are awarded for a period of up to three years.

The renewal of all postdoc fellowships is subject to availability of funding and submission of a satisfactory annual progress report.  

Application Process

  • The best way to start with is to first identify a potential programme and mentor. Browse through the university website at or do literature searches in your area of interest and with authors from the University of Pretoria. You can then contact them directly.
  • Once you have identified a supervisor and agreed on the research project then the application should be completed on the prescribed form and submitted by the supervisor to the review committee for consideration.  

Eligibility Criteria

  • Candidates must have obtained their doctoral degree no more than five years prior to submitting an application to the University and;
  • Not be over 40 years of age

Registration Process

It is important to note that Postdoctoral Fellows have to register every academic year for the duration of their fellowship.

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