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Doctor of Philosophy (Engineering): PhD (Eng)


Admission Requirements - PhD:

Students holding one of the following qualifications may be admitted to the PhD programme:

  1. MEng Structured
  2. MEng Research
  3. Prospective students who do not have a research-based Masters degree (i.e. where the main research project counted for less than 50% of the Masters programme), must demonstrate their ability to do research before their admission will be considered.

After the selection process, the student must normally find:

  • A research topic (broadly defined)
  • A promoter
  • Preliminary arrangements for the facilities needed for the research.

Please note the requirements for continuing after the first year of study, given below:

Students should also consult the general rules pertaining to the relevant programme as set out in the Stellenbosch University Calendar.

Continuation beyond first year of registration:

Each PhD candidate must submit, typically within 6 to 9 months after first registration irrespective of official start date and taking into account the due dates given below, a written research proposal and an executive summary. The research proposal (typically 20-30 pages long) must contain the following:

  • An extensive exposition of the literature relevant to the PhD study, as well as synthesis and evaluation of the most important themes found in the literature.
  • A clear explanation of the study's objectives, with specific reference to how it relates to previously published work, and what the expected original contribution of the study will be.
  • A broad time schedule for the study, typically in terms of 4 to 10 activities and a short description of each activity's main focus, including a Gantt chart.
  • A clear explanation of the infrastructure (including software, equipment, laboratories, operating cost, etc.) that will be required to complete the study, as well as arrangements that have been made to ensure that the infrastructure will be available.

Typically two to four weeks after the candidate has submitted the research proposal, his/her suitability to continue with PhD studies is assessed by a candidacy panel, based on the following:

  •  The submitted research proposal.
  •  A presentation (20 minutes) by the candidate about the research proposal, as well as answers of the candidate to questions from the panel on the proposal and the planned research.
  •  The candidate's answers to questions posed by the panel to assess the candidate's technical expertise in the knowledge areas relevant to the research topic.

The panel makes a recommendation to the Faculty Board whether the candidate may or may not proceed with PhD studies. A PhD candidate may only continue beyond the first year of registration if the Faculty Board has approved his/her continuation within twelve months of his/her first registration in the PhD programme. An extension to this due date will only be granted in exceptional circumstances and is subject to the approval of the candidate's home department and the Faculty Board.

Scope - PhD:

For the PhD degree in Engineering, the student must normally submit a doctoral dissertation (of 3600 hours) and defend it successful during an oral examination. Study for the PhD degree usually takes at least three years on a full-time basis. The maximum time allowed for the PhD programme is four years for full-time study and seven years for part-time study. In addition to the dissertation, students must also submit at least one research paper and at least one ready for submission (by the time the examination takes place) on their research work, for publication in professional journals. The articles must be of a standard approved by the promoter.

Part-time students must have off-campus access to the Internet and e-mail. All students have to attend classes, tests and examinations on campus.

For more information relevant to International students, please visit the web site of our Postgraduate Office.​