Application to study for a PhD can be made through the relevant faculty office.
The faculty office must approve your research proposal. The guidelines are not rigid rules, and the thesis does not need to be fully researched before registration. But you must understand how to put a research proposal together.
The Doctoral Degrees Board (DDB) approves PhD candidates and administers the examination of PhD theses.
Procedure for examination
After you have finished your research, you must submit a thesis for examination. Your supervisor will tell you when the thesis is acceptable for submission.
As a PhD candidate you can submit your theses at any time as long as you are registered for 2 years.
The DDB will not insist on your supervisor’s approval before accepting a PhD thesis, but it recommended that you only submit your theses after getting your supervisor's approval. You must inform the DDB officer in writing of your intention to submit your theses.
The PhD students’ examination guide is available from the downloads page (see right).
Format of thesis
UCT requires PhD candidates to submit electronic versions of dissertations/theses using the PeopleSoft student administration self-service.
After finishing your research, first complete and upload your 'intention to submit' form on PeopleSoft, and then upload your dissertation/ thesis.
All communication from UCT about the examination process will be by email. Make sure that you have your username and password and are able to access the PeopleSoft student administration self-service.
PhD candidates who want to send through their intention to submit their theses for examination should refer to Rule GP5.3 in the General Rules and Policies handbook (Handbook 3, 2018) which states the following:
Where candidates intend to submit their thesis for examination they must inform the Doctoral Degrees Board Office in writing of their intention to do so before submitting the thesis for examination. It is recommended that the thesis be submitted for examination 5 months before the graduation ceremony to allow time for the examination process to run its course. The university does not however undertake to reach a decision on the award of the degree by any specific date.
Submission guideline dates
Notice of intention to submit
PhD candidates must upload their notice of intention to submit their theses for examination on PeopleSoft.
At least 6–8 weeks before the submission of their theses for examination.
Submission of theses
PhD candidates must upload their theses for examination on PeopleSoft.
Beginning of June 2019
1 September 2018
11 February 2019
This date is a guide: 5 months before the upcoming graduation ceremony.
To avoid re-registration and fee liability.
Depending on the outcome of the examination process and the date when the examination process is concluded, PhD candidates may be eligible to graduate at the upcoming graduation ceremony. But there is no guarantee that the examination process will be concluded by the graduation ceremony deadline.
Graduation ceremony deadline dates
Graduation list closes. Final date to be on system.
31 October 2019
14 February 2019
28 June 2019
Depending on whether the examination process is finished by this date.
The examination is confidential. You will only be informed once a decision has been made. The university does not undertake to reach a decision on the awarding of the degree by any specific date.
The thesis is examined by 3 external examiners, at least 2 of whom are usually international. The selection of examiners is an important part of the examination process. The appointment of examiners is subject to approval by the DDB.
It is important that candidates have no knowledge of the identity of examiners until the examiners give permission for their identities to be known after the examination process.
Depending on the outcome of the examination process and the date that the examination process is concluded, a PhD candidate may be eligible to graduate at the upcoming graduation ceremonies.
Graduation ceremonies are managed by the Student Records Office and information about graduation is available on the graduation webpage.
The DDB office notifies PhD candidates of the outcome of their examination by email. All correspondence to students is sent to their UCT email account (myuct.ac.za).