Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD degree involves the conduct of specialised research to obtain recognition as a fully trained scientist.

Our Department offers PhD programmes in three fields of specialisation: Entomology, Wildlife Management and Zoology. In all cases, the PhD degree is conferred on the grounds of a written thesis reporting the results of research that makes an original contribution to the field. The publication of at least one article resulting from PhD research in a peer-reviewed scientific journal is also required in order to obtain the degree. For a PhD in Entomology, the topic of the research project must focus on an insect study system. Before the degree is conferred, PhD candidates are invited to present a "prestige seminar" to showcase their results to the University and public.

The duration of study is usually three years of uninterrupted full-time study. To remain in the PhD degree programme, students must demonstrate satisfactory progress by:

  • Presentation of an oral research proposal within six months of registration
  • Delivery of an oral presentation of research results to the Department at its Annual General Meeting at the end of each calendar year of registration
  • Meeting milestones agreed to between the student and supervisor(s) in a memorandum of agreement

The entry requirement for PhD degree study in Entomology, Wildlife Management or Zoology is an MSc degree in an appropriate field. Potential PhD students must also have the support of a potential supervisor in the Department to be offered admission. If you are interested in pursuing PhD degree study within the Department of Zoology and Entomology, contact a potential supervisor from amongst the academic staff with similar interests to your own to discuss available options and obtain in-principle support before applying for admission.

Applications for admission should be submitted using the UP online application form.

For further information, or for assistance in identifying a suitable potential supervisor, contact the Postgraduate Coordinator, Prof. Catherine Sole.

To find out more about being a postgraduate student in the Department of Zoology and Entomology, or to raise an issue relating to the postgraduate experience within the Department, contact the Postgraduate Representative, Miss Kyra Wallace.

PhD thesis submission

There is a process that needs to be followed in the lead-up to PhD thesis submission. Click here for more information.

PhD bursary opportunities

PhD bursaries are sometimes linked to specific projects for which research funds have been obtained by academic staff. Advertisements for these project-linked bursaries are circulated on the mailing lists of scientific societies and on the Facebook page of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of Pretoria.

PhD bursaries can also be sought from the University of Pretoria and external sources:

UP Postgraduate Research Support Scholarships

Students registered for and within three years of registration of a PhD programme at the University of Pretoria may apply for a UP Postgraduate Research Support Scholarship.

UP Commonwealth Doctoral Scholarships

The University of Pretoria administers Commonwealth Doctoral Scholarships for citizens of the Commonwealth countries to pursue a PhD degree at UP. South African citizens and MSc and PhD students currently registered at UP may not apply. Applications open in the first half of the year preceding the year of commencement.

NRF Freestanding, Scarce Skills and Innovation Doctoral Scholarships

The South African National Research Foundation offers PhD scholarships on a competitive basis to students registered for PhD degree study at South African Universities. Depending on the scholarship category, applications from foreign students will be considered. Applications are normally due in May of the year preceding the year of commencement.

African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Science (ARPPIS)

Established in 1983 as a partnership programme between African Universities and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), ARPPIS provides young African scientists with PhD opportunities to conduct important R&D work in Africa on the insect pests and disease vectors affecting the continent, while also gaining the necessary skills to become globally competitive, independent research scientists.

The ARPPIS PhD Programme is a three-year training curriculum that includes research, training courses, seminars, and participation in internal symposia, professional meetings and international conferences. Candidates are based at the research stations of icipe, but can register to obtain their PhD from the University of Pretoria.

GreenMatter Fellowships

The GreenMatter Fellowships support outstanding graduates, passionate young professionals and experienced leaders from all walks of life to pursue Honours, MSc and PhD study. It promotes the view that leadership for biodiversity can and should be evident across sectors, occupations, qualifications and positions.

The GreenMatter Fellowship has several unique characteristics. These include:
  • Specifically targeting the priority skills needs of the biodiversity sector, as informed by research;
  • Providing a quality, holistic support package, supplementing financial awards with mentoring, personal and professional development support; and
  • Supporting individuals, but also connecting them to the wider national context.

TWAS-NRF Doctoral Programme

The World Academy of Sciences and the NRF have partnered to enable scientists from Africa (other than South Africa) to pursue PhD studies at research institutions in South Africa. The NRF will provide travel to and from South Africa, a standard monthly allowance (in South African Rands) which should be used to cover living costs, such as accommodation, food and health insurance. The monthly stipend is not convertible into foreign currency.

The language of instruction must be English.

Applicants must apply for a preliminary acceptance letter from the University of Pretoria as early as possible, even before the opening date of the call. Only acceptance letters dated the same year as the year of application are eligible.

- Author C. Weldon
Published by Christopher Weldon

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