2 1 CONTENT WHY DO YOUR PHD AT USB? 2 INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION 3 ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS AND CONDITIONS 4 OVERVIEW OF US S PHD PROCESS 6 THE RESEARCH PROCESS 7 THE EXAMINATIONAL OF YOUR DISSERTATION 8 GRADUATION RECEIVING YOUR PHD 10 HOW TO APPLY 10 WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR INITIAL RESEARCH PROPOSAL 12 ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATION 15 RESEARCH SUPERVISION 16 REGISTRATION AND GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS 17 SEE CURRENT PHD RESEARCH 18 FEES 19 CONTACT US 20
3 2 WHY DO YOUR PHD AT USB? Join a globally linked research community Enrolling for your PhD at the University of Stellenbosch Business School holds many benefits: Acquire a globally acknowledged PhD: USB holds all three international accreditations for business schools AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA. USB is also a member of the European Doctoral Programmes Association in Management and Business Administration (EDAMBA) and the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative s Global Doctoral Alliance (GDA), which holds benefits and creates opportunities for USB s doctoral students. Engage in research that creates employable knowledge: USB s PhD seeks to develop research which is relevant to organisations in private or public sector. Make your research meaningful: As a signatory to the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative s Global Doctoral Alliance, USB is committed to incorporating the societal dimension of business and sustainability in its PhD research. The GRLI promotes responsible management education to make the world a better place, asking PhD candidates: What kind of problem do you have in the work environment that can be changed to make the world a better place? Join a research community: At USB, various people are involved in your research not only your supervisor. This leads to input and support from a diverse group of academics in a multidisciplinary environment. USB s Research Colloquia provides a regular platform to engage with other PhD candidates and their supervisors. It also gives you the opportunity to present your research as it develops to this select audience and to gain insight from their questions and comments. Create new knowledge The PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) or doctorate implies that the holder is in command of his/her field of study. In terms of the South African Higher Qualification Framework, the purpose and characteristics of a doctoral degree are as follows:
4 3 A doctoral degree requires a candidate to undertake research at the most advanced academic level, culminating in the production, defence and acceptance of a thesis. The defining characteristic of this qualification is that the candidate is required to demonstrate high level research capability and make a significant and original academic contribution at the frontiers of a discipline publication. The degree may be earned through pure discipline based research, multidisciplinary research or applied research. A graduate should be able to supervise and evaluate the research of others in the area of specialization concerned. As a PhD student at the University of Stellenbosch Business School you will be expected to pursue supervised research, culminating in a doctoral dissertation which constitutes the examinable product for which the PhD degree is eventually awarded. This dissertation must: Represent an original and significant contribution to the enrichment and advancement of knowledge in the chosen area Demonstrate originality of thought, a theoretical underpinning, relevance to the discipline and rigour in execution Create intellectual capital, which is the cornerstone of the knowledge society of the 21st century. USB s PhD in Business Management and Administration places emphasis on the development of applied or employable knowledge. As such, the aim is to link the two areas of theory and practice in such a way that this results in hybrid vigour. We emphasise the interaction of knowledge that is particularly relevant to organisations, be they in the private or public sector. This forms part of our social responsibility to strengthen our country, our continent and our world to the benefit of all those involved. Students are encouraged to conduct research on challenging and real-world problems, combining scientific rigour and managerial relevance. Consequently, PhD students at USB must be able to demonstrate that they have a theoretical as well as a practical appreciation and understanding of their research area. INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION Three international accreditations USB was the first school from an African-born university to achieve all three international accreditations for business schools: AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA.
5 4 Membership of two PhD research organisations USB is a member of both EDAMBA and the GRLI s Global Doctoral Alliance. USB s PhD was the first PhD outside Europe audited and approved by the European Doctoral Programmes Association in Management and Business Administration (EDAMBA), based on the quality of this degree at USB. Our membership of EDAMBA demonstrates our commitment to improve the quality of doctoral education. As students from a member institution, USB s doctoral students are eligible for grants, awards and opportunities such as attending the annual EDAMBA Research Summer Academy. USB doctoral students may also participate in the Doctoral Thesis Competition. Winning entries are published in the EDAMBA Journal. (In 2013, Dr George Djolov s thesis on The Herfindalhl-Hirchman Index as an Official Statistic of Business Concentration: Challenges and Solutions was rated among the top entries.) EDAMBA promotes integration with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) which facilitates the recognition of periods of study at other EDAMBA member universities to enhance the quality and mobility of PhD students. USB is also a member of the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative s Global Doctoral Alliance. The GRLI s GDA and its member schools are committed to the societal dimension of business, making it ideal for high-potential candidates seeking balance between their commitment to the societal dimension of business and their aspiration to a successful career in academia, government or industry. Member institutions are committed to sharing expertise and knowledge in the form of social networking and knowledge sharing. ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS AND CONDITIONS Academic For admission to the PhD in Business Management and Administration, you will require a relevant master s degree in an appropriate management-related area. A substantial part of the master s degree (weight within degree) must consist of a written thesis.
6 Only applicants with existing professional or relevant business or public management work experience will be considered. 5 Motivation From a personal perspective, the challenges and workload posed by doctoral studies should not be underestimated and a high level of motivation, inspiration and determination is essential. You need to be sure that you have a deep personal interest in the topic you intend to research, as well as an interest in the process of research. You must also possess the capacity and endurance to pursue independent research at the highest level for a minimum of two, or even three or four years. Studying for a doctoral degree is a serious endeavour and it is important that you ask yourself why you want a doctoral degree and to consider the impact it may have on your life: Does your career advancement depend on further education? If so, is a doctorate the right degree? Will your doctorate make a real contribution to knowledge? (It must not merely be a way to document your experiences, however valuable they may seem.) Do you have a clear understanding of why you wish to embark on high-level research? Will your interest in the research topic keep you motivated for several years? Availability A PhD at USB requires a minimum of two years of registration. Most of our PhD students are part-time but full-time study is also possible. While we do not require that our PhD students be resident in Cape Town, we do require that they be regularly available on campus for colloquia, meetings with supervisor(s) and other PhD-related activities.
7 6 OVERVIEW OF US S PHD PROCESS Getting started Familiarise yourself with the contents of the PhD brochure, which includes the application procedure, and/or Make an appointment with Dr Heidi Raubenheimer, head of USB s Doctoral Programme (see contact details on last page of this document). Preparing and submitting your application package Compile and submit a full application package online at This application must include your initial research proposal. Note: Your application and the provision of a Stellenbosch University student number does not imply admittance to the PhD programme. Assessment of your application package The Doctoral Research Committee annually assesses application packages at the end of April and the end of October annually. Notification of application outcome and allocation of your provisional supervisor You will be notified by telephone and/or in writing of the outcome of the PhD application. If successful, the Doctoral Research Committee will allocate a provisional supervisor to you. Next, you need to prepare your comprehensive research proposal. Preparing and presenting your comprehensive research proposal Rework and refine your initial research proposal (part of application package) as well as your research protocol in consultation with your provisional supervisor. The provisional supervisor will request the library (USBI) to provide you with access to the required resources in order to prepare the comprehensive research proposal. Present your comprehensive research proposal, in consultation with your provisional supervisor, to the Doctoral Colloquium and to the PhD Admissions Panel.
8 7 Submit your research protocol to the PhD Admissions Panel. Note: The PhD Admissions Panel usually consists of the following members: The Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (chairperson), the Director of USB, the academic head of the programme, the provisional supervisor, an additional faculty member (not from USB), and any other people deemed appropriate. Approval by the PhD Admissions Panel and the appointment of your supervisor Once the Admissions Panel has approved you and your research topic, it will recommend to the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences that you be admitted as a PhD registrant. Next, the Admissions Panel requests the appointment of a supervisor. The Admissions Panel also recommends and motivates the appointment of three independent examiners to the Faculty Board. Obtaining clearance from the Ethics Committee Should the Doctoral Research Committee and/or Promoter be of the opinion that the proposed research has ethical implications the proposal will be submitted for approval by the Ethics Committee. Application for full-time scholarship At this stage, you may apply for financial support, i.e. a USB scholarship. Your supervisor must motivate your application for financial support and submit it for consideration to the Doctoral Research Committee. Should the Doctoral Research Committee approve the USB scholarship it is recommended to the Academic Administration. Stellenbosch University will inform you and Bursaries Administration of the outcome. THE RESEARCH PROCESS Overview of the research process As a registrant must demonstrate the ability to: Undertake independent academic research Work independently
9 8 Liaise with your supervisor. Deliverables for all registrants Doctoral Research Training Programme (DRTP): Attending the 5-day DRTP is compulsory for all USB PhD students. Presentation: A peer-review presentation, accompanied by a structured written report which has been approved by the supervisor, at a colloquium once a year. Articles: Two publishable articles (blind-read by at least two reviewers). Conference paper: The reading of a paper at a subject-related conference prior to submitting a final copy of the PhD dissertation. Research Colloquium Programme: Attendance of the Research Colloquium Programme. Progress reports: All registrants must submit two Progress Reports per year. Final dissertation: To be approved by Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, SU Senate and/or SU Council. Additional deliverables for scholarship registrants Requirements: Contractually agreed upon tasks for full-time scholarship registrants are outlined in the Bursary Agreement. This includes approximately 100 hours of teaching, research assistance, etc. Research Colloquium Programme: It is compulsory for registrants with USB scholarships to attend the Research Colloquium Programme. These peer-group discussions provide frequent and interpersonal contact between research students and faculty, and are deemed essential to develop high levels of scholarship. THE EXAMINATIONAL OF YOUR DISSERTATION Submitting your dissertation You will receive written approval that you may officially submit your dissertation to Stellenbosch University for examination. You need to submit your dissertation before 1 September to graduate in December, and before 1 December to graduate in March/April. Ensure that independent examiners have been appointed.
10 9 The examination of your dissertation The supervisor hands three copies of the dissertation to the Office of the Dean: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. The Dean distributes the copies to three independent examiners for their individual reports. The independent examiners forward their evaluations of the dissertation with recommendations to the Dean. An independent panel, which includes the three examiners, considers the reports. The supervisor(s) may be consulted. The examiners make suggestions and the required changes are made. The examiners complete the standard form and confirm their evaluation in writing. Public oral defence of your dissertation The supervisor and/or Dean s office arranges the public oral defence of the dissertation the viva voce. The Dean chairs the meeting while examiners are expected to attend. Telephonic and/or satellite communication is acceptable. The meeting is usually held at USB. Notice of an open invitation to attend the viva appears on the daily bulletin of the University and members of the general public are welcome to attend. If the viva is conducted successfully, a comprehensive report is compiled and a recommendation is made to the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences that the PhD degree be awarded to the registrant. Changes may be recommended and are to be supervised by the supervisor. A copy of the dissertation must be available at the Dean s office for all members of the Faculty Board. Approval of your dissertation The Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, SU Senate and/or SU Council need to put forward a recommendation for consideration and approval. Stellenbosch University informs you of the outcome. The Academic Administration loads the final mark onto the central network system of the University.
11 10 GRADUATION RECEIVING YOUR PHD Upon completion of the PhD, you will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Management and Administration by Stellenbosch University. Your supervisor will complete the graduation ceremony information form and you will receive a final letter from Stellenbosch University to say that you have obtained a PhD degree. You may now add the title of Dr (Doctor) in front of your name. HOW TO APPLY The application package comprises the following: Complete online application form (see Proof of payment of application fee (see Fees and funding) Motivational essay Curriculum vitae (CV) / Resumé Initial research proposal Certified copies of academic records and degree certificates. Please note that only applicants with a complete application package will be considered for admission. USB assesses all complete applications twice a year on a competitive basis: at the end of April and end of October each year. Online application form Find the application form at and complete it in accordance with the guidelines in order to be allocated a student number. You will be prompted to upload the required supporting documents while you complete this form until the full application package as detailed above is complete. Note: The student number you are allocated is to assist in your application for doctoral studies. It does not imply acceptance as a doctoral candidate or registrant.
12 11 Proof of payment Banking details for payment of application fee Application fee payable see Fees and funding Bank: Standard Bank Type of account: Cheque account Account number: Branch name: Stellenbosch Branch code: Please proof of payment to the PhD Admissions Office: Ms Marietjie van Zyl Telephone: +27 (0) Motivational essay We are interested in your reasons for pursuing doctoral study at USB and your motivation/interest in your proposed area of research. In an essay of about 250 words please describe these as well as your educational goals, research interests and professional aims. Curriculum vitae (CV) The information provided in your CV will be treated as confidential. Your CV must contain: Details of your previous studies Details of your previous research experience, including a list of published articles and papers presented at conferences An overview of your activities after completion of your master s degree Two contactable references (names and contact details) to whom we can refer during the application process. These should be people who can comment on your abilities to undertake research and who can support your motivation for wanting to commence with PhD research. Initial research proposal The initial research proposal is the most important part of the application package. It must be comprehensive and written in scientific language according to the specified guidelines. Both the contents
13 and form of the initial research proposal will form part of the assessment of the research project and the applicant. 12 Although students can, and often do, alter their research direction slightly after registering, an initial proposal assists USB to evaluate at an early stage that: The topic is viable USB can provide appropriate supervision and resources You have thought through your interest in and commitment to the programme You are suitable for admission. We offer some guidelines to assist you in developing your proposal here but there are also books and courses that can assist you in writing a research proposal for PhD study, one of which is the Doctoral Research Training Programme (DRTP). Find more details at DoctoralResearchTrainingProgramme.aspx. WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR INITIAL RESEARCH PROPOSAL Preparing your proposal The proposal should be formulated in such a way that it is informative to a knowledgeable researcher within the discipline to which the project belongs and should contain the elements discussed below. The initial research proposal constitutes a substantial document; it should not be rushed. It is expected to demonstrate your potential for independently and successfully planning, organising and handling academic written communication. Naturally, this does not imply that you already know the answers to the research problem posed, but it must clearly reflect that this is an advanced research project. Template Download the USB Initial Research Proposal Template from the PhD website at to familiarise yourself with the format and technical specifications.
14 13 Provide a preliminary title and keywords The preliminary title should clearly articulate the essence and focus of the proposed research. A list of keywords further assists the reader in allocating the research to a particular discipline(s), field(s) and/or methodologies. Introduction By way of introduction, this reading section of the existing literature should take the form of an abstract of the general subject or study area and identify the discipline(s) within which it falls. From this analysis, the problem or disorder you wish to research will emerge and constitutes the reason or condition which necessitates the research. You should also indicate here the way in which your background gives you competencies in the chosen area. Research problem and aim From the overview of the subject area follows the research problem, i.e. you have to identify the possible cause(s) of the disorder. Next, you have to describe the research aim as it relates to solving the uncertainty or burning question in which you are interested. Methodology In its most widely used description, research methodology relates to the nature of the scientific method used. You need to display an awareness of the available methodologies for data collection and show a clear understanding of the methodologies that would be most suitable for your research. You are expected to outline the design you consider to be most appropriate, i.e. how the research would be conducted. Typically, reference is made here to the nature of data collection, processing and interpretation. Contribution State why your topic merits research and how it will contribute to existing employable knowledge. A convincing statement is required as to why your topic merits research, i.e. how its conclusion will likely contribute to and enrich the academic knowledge and understanding of management theory and professional management practice. This contribution results from the systematic investigation of your research activities, which are conducted to discover new information as well as to expand and verify existing knowledge.
15 NOTE: We refer you to a working paper by Dr John Morrison, entitled A contribution to scientific knowledge, which we highly recommend to PhD registrants. (Find the link to this downloadable document at 14 Literature review In this section, you should demonstrate that you are familiar with the debates and issues raised in related academic literature. You should furnish a description of recent academic and empirical research in your chosen area. References to key texts and recently published articles should be made to convince that you appreciate their integrative relevance to your research area. A PhD is original research and you should be able to demonstrate that your proposed area has not been studied before. As such, you need to identify how your own research might make a useful contribution to the particular management-related area. NOTE: We are aware that many prospective PhD candidates will not have access to academic libraries and journals. Universities in your area or your alma mater may offer membership to you for a fee to enable you to prepare your research proposal and we encourage you to take advantage of this. The University of Stellenbosch offers temporary membership to its own library to prospective postgraduates: Please investigate the terms and conditions of such a membership at Research protocol Include a preliminary time and work schedule outlining the main phases in your research project. References A full list of references to key texts and articles must be included. For referencing purposes, see Download PhD Initial Research Proposal Template at Research supervision Your research proposal assists us in making sure both that you are a suitable PhD candidate and that USB can provide you with suitable research supervision. We invite faculty members of USB and Stellenbosch University to evaluate particular proposals for more specialised review and in order to secure supervision.
16 15 If you would like to discuss your research ideas informally with a particular member of the academic staff prior to submitting your application package, please contact him/her directly and make mention of your interaction in your essay. ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATION The Doctoral Research Committee reviews all completed applications twice a year. If the applicant is deemed suitably qualified for PhD study and if the proposed research has merit, the research proposal may be referred to one or more faculty members with related research interests to assess. If the Doctoral Research Committee is satisfied with the quality of the applicant and the assessment of the initial research proposal, a provisional or intended supervisor will be approached to supervise the research to formal proposal and the applicant will receive provisional admission. The provisional supervisor need not be a permanent staff member of Stellenbosch University. NOTE: The Doctoral Research Committee advises on matters pertaining to doctoral research at USB. This Committee comprises the Head of the Research at USB (Chairperson), the Heads of all the PhD programmes (Business Management & Administration and Development Finance), and a co-opted faculty member (alternate) who is knowledgeable in the particular research field. Reasons why applicants are not accepted for PhD study based on their initial research proposal The raison d être of the proposed research topic is not motivated comprehensively and in depth. What you plan to research, why and how must be convincingly explained and justified. The proposal identifies a practical business problem, but does not demonstrate its theoretical underpinning. For example, research which produces new empirical information, even if it solves a management problem, will not suffice. The focus of the proposal does not fit the supervisory competencies of USB, i.e. we are unable to provide you with an appropriate supervisor. From provisional to full registration After provisional admission to the PhD programme, applicants must prepare a comprehensive research proposal and research protocol in consultation with their appointed provisional supervisor.
17 16 This proposal must then be presented to and approved by the Doctoral Admissions Panel by the applicant. This presentation constitutes an interview to convince the panel that the candidate will be an asset to the Research Programme. The panel usually consists of members of the Doctoral Research Committee, invited faculty (including the provisional supervisor(s) and those from departments other than USB), as well as knowledgeable members of the business or related communities. This presentation serves to formally assess the candidate for admission to the Doctoral Programme. The candidate is being evaluated in respect of his/her demonstrated and potential ability to conduct highlevel research, as well as the suitability of the topic for academic and real-life contribution to knowledge. The provisional supervisor will lead this discussion with the candidate, who will be expected to answer questions posed by the members of the Admissions Panel. If the Admissions Panel approves the research proposal, the applicant is recommended for PhD study to the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences which in turn recommends the same to the Senate of Stellenbosch University (SU) who ultimately confirms the acceptance of the registrant as a full doctoral candidate. Applicants who are provisionally admitted are given 6 to 12 months to successfully propose to the Doctoral Admissions Panel. If they are unable to do so within the timeframe they are given, they will not be admitted to the PhD programme. Registration Registration prior to February of any year will count as one full year towards the required minimum registration period of two years. Registration between March and August will be deemed valid for residency from the second semester only, i.e. six-month residency. Student fees will apply only once the student has been registered as a PhD student. RESEARCH SUPERVISION Supervisors, also called study leaders or promoters, are selected for their expertise and involvement in a field of study broadly related to your topic area. Appointment of provisional supervisor: A provisional supervisor will be assigned to you after the assessment of your application package, which includes your initial research proposal. The provisional supervisor will guide you in the preparation of your comprehensive research proposal for the Doctoral Admissions Board.
18 17 Appointment of actual supervisor: The actual supervisor for the duration of your research will be appointed once your comprehensive research proposal has been accepted and you have been granted full admission and registration as a doctoral student. Also refer to Assessment of comprehensive proposal elsewhere in this document). Relationship with your supervisor Your relationship with your supervisor is important in the completion of your research project. The role of the supervisor takes on different forms over the study period from being fully prescriptive or technical in the early stages to that of being more pastoral (giving guidance, advice and support) in the latter stages. Remember, your project represents independent research. You have to make your own decisions regarding the research process and have to justify these decisions scientifically. It is your responsibility to communicate, remain in constant contact and work closely with your supervisor. It is recommended that the candidate write a contact report (minutes of the discussion) which is approved (signed) by the supervisor and kept in the student s file for future reference. Rules of conduct USB adheres to Stellenbosch University s Code of conduct for the relationship between supervisor/ supervisor and research-based postgraduate students. (Find the link to this downloadable document at Should a dispute arise between the supervisor and registrant which they are unable to resolve, either party is advised to discuss the matter in confidence with the head: Doctoral Research Programme. REGISTRATION AND GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS Registered PhD students must re-register every year until they graduate. During this period, the registrant needs to demonstrate the ability to: Undertake independent academic research Work independently Liaise with the supervisor at time mutually agreed to.
19 18 In order to remain registered as a PhD student, all PhD students are required to provide on-going evidence of their progress toward graduation. Such evidence includes: Completion of the Doctoral Research Training Programme (DRTP) or an equivalent course/workshop. This must be done before embarking on a PhD at USB or as early as possible during the PhD studies. A peer-review presentation, accompanied by a structured written report which has been approved by the supervisor, at a scheduled Doctoral Colloquium at least once a year. Attendance at these scheduled colloquia throughout the year is also strongly encouraged. Preparation of research articles for peer-reviewed publication. The presentation of a paper at a subject-related conference. At least one Progress Report per year signed and approved by the PhD supervisor(s). The final stage of the doctoral programme constitutes: Evaluation of dissertation: Three examiners, of which the supervisor and/or co-supervisor may not be one, will evaluate the doctoral dissertation. Public defence of dissertation: This is also called the oral or viva voce examination. During this examination, the registrant is engaged in debate on his/her work. The dissertation is defended on the basis of a presentation of its main results. The dean acts as chairperson and the opponents are the Doctoral Research Committee and members of the invited evaluation committee. The viva is not intended to be confrontational: its purpose is to confirm that the registrant knows about the research and the field of study in order to establish that the doctorate has been duly earned. Awarding of PhD degree: Upon completion of the executive PhD process the registrant will be awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Business Management and Administration by Stellenbosch University. SEE CURRENT PHD RESEARCH Find an overview of current PhD research on the USB website under Research at
20 19 FEES PROGRAMME FEES Total Students from South Africa R R R Students from Southern African R R R Development Community (SADC) countries Students from the rest of Africa R R R International students from the R R R rest of the world DEPOSIT PAYABLE ON ACCEPTANCE OF ADMISSION Students from South Africa R9 000 Students from SADC countries R Students from the rest of Africa R International students from the rest of the world R APPLICATION FEE Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all students) R600 South African students can pay the full programme fees upon registration or they can pay 75% of the annual fees by the end of May and the balance of 25% by the end of September. The fees for 2017 (2nd year of enrolment) will be adjusted to make provision for annual price increases. Deposit: All students pay a deposit on acceptance of admission. Foreign students need to pay a deposit of 50% of the annual programme fees on acceptance to the programme and the balance prior to, or upon registration. The deposit is deducted from the programme fee. The deposit payable is non-refundable. Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is not refundable. 1 = about R13.91; US$ 1 = about R12.42 (10 July 2015). Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and costs. USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.
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