Doctoral Programmes

[Doctoral programme]
[Closing date]
[Application procedure]
[More information]
[Frequently asked questions]


This doctoral degree consists of a large research project, supervised by a senior academic, culminating in a thesis. The thesis, based on independent research done by the student on an approved topic in the discipline, is written under the guidance of a supervisor. It is defended in an oral examination once the thesis is completed and submitted for examination.


Our selection process is based on a consideration of your research topic for the PhD, the availability of a suitable supervisor, and an evaluation of the theoretical and methodological expertise required to complete the study, coupled with an assessment of the extent to which candidates have demonstrated this expertise in the master’s dissertation.

Closing date: 

  • We accept applications until 30 November. The academic year starts in February.
  • Applications for international students close on 31 October. Students should endeavour to apply as soon as possible so as to have adequate time to arrange for the required visa’s. Students who want to study outside of South Africa need to be able to make regular trips to South Africa to consult their supervisors.

Application procedure: 

  • Follow this link for an application form:
  • Attach the following documents:
    • A short curriculum vitae
    • A full academic transcript of all years of tertiary study at all institutions attended
    • A four-page outline of your intended research topic  for your doctoral study
    • An electronic copy of your master’s dissertation
    • SAQA accreditation (only applicable to International Students)
    • (Please note, we do not require copies of your degree certificates at this point)
    • Letter of Intent
  • Submit this set of documents either directly to the Client Services Centre on campus or by mail.
    • Physical address: Client Services Centre, University of Pretoria, Corner Lynnwood and Roper street, Hatfield, Pretoria.
    • Postal address: Client Services Centre, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X20, Hatfield, 0028, South Africa.
  • Once we receive your application, your application will serve before the departmental postgraduate committee for consideration. If you meet the minimum requirements, and have submitted all the required documents, your application will be considered by the postgraduate committee. If your application meets our criteria, and if we have a suitable person who can supervise your study, you will be invited for an interview.  (In some cases, we may be able to arrange a telephonic interview).
  • The Department of Sociology conducts postgraduate interviews in the last week of October, and November and January. 
  • If you want to check that your application has been received by the Client Services Centre, please contact: +27 (0)12 420 4111 or [email protected]
  • If you want to track the progress of your application in the  Sociology department, please contact Ms Tshwarelo Sekhaulelo at +27 (0)12 420 2330 or [email protected].

More information:

If you need additional information contact Professor Zitha Mokomane at [email protected] or +27 (0)12 420 3744.


I am an international student. I have been told that I need a SAQA certificate. Why do I need this and how do I go about acquiring it?
A SAQA certificate is issued by the South African Qualifications Authority. Such a certificate certifies each of the thousands of international qualifications that exist and interprets these in relation to the South African qualifications framework. It is, therefore, necessary to obtain such a certificate to ensure that applicants are given access to the correct level of study. SAQA certification can be obtained online or by hard copy submission. Details can be found on the South African Qualification Authority’s website:

I need a bursary. Can you assist?
For more details:

What are the possibilities for a tutorship appointment or part-time work in the department?
We do have a tutor programme in our department and we welcome applications. The availability of position depends on funding, though. Please indicate to us when you come for an interview that you are interested in a tutorship, student assistant work or general part-time work. Once you have received confirmation that you have been accepted into the programme, you can also send an email directly to our tutor coordinator, Professor Zitha Mokomane at [email protected]

I am nervous about the interview. What can I expect to be asked and how should I prepare?
Interviews are generally quite informal. Expect to meet between three and four staff members. We use the interview as an opportunity to get to know you better. What we would like to know from you, in particular, is what makes you interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in your chosen field. We would also like to get a sense of your undergraduate and postgraduate training. What did you learn? Which of the courses did you enjoy most?;  Why is that? What is your theoretical orientation? What have been the key debates in the fields in which your master’s studies were located? Because the doctoral programme requires of students to do independent research, we would like to talk to you about your interests and the particular topics or themes that you are interested in researching. Finally, the interview provides you with the opportunity to get to know the department and some of the teaching staff. It is also a good place to find out if what the programme offers matches your expectations.

- Author Mariana Pietersen
Published by Vangile Bingma

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