Postgraduate Students

Postgraduate students are supported from five major sources.  The main source of support is through the Departmental Scholarships category. Such awards are sourced from funds raised by individual academics and/or departments. 


In 2010 the Postgraduate Funding Office administered 6783 applications from 5702 postgraduate students registered for honours, master’s and doctoral degrees at UCT.  Of these, 3897 awards totalling R120,237,860 were made to 2097 students in 2010, compared to 3659 awards made to a total value of R97,134,799 in 2009. (Note: Some students submit more than one application and most students are offered more than one award.)

The National Research Foundation provides a significant portion of overall student support at UCT.  This is shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Source of funds for postgraduate students

In line with the university’s strategic goals to internationalise and develop research at UCT, and because senior postgraduate students play an important role in the university’s overall research enterprise, opportunities that support international students, conference and international travel and exposure, as well as some that provide specific support for research, are offered.  Some of these funding programmes are shown below.

  • UCT Scholarships for International and Refugees Students:
    Each year a significant number of awards are made to continuing and new international and refugee students who register for honours, master’s and doctoral degrees at UCT. In 2010, 734 international and refugee students received 887 awards to a total of R36,935,051. The main source of funds came from departmental awards. Income from two invested funds and a generous donation from the Sigrid Rausing Trust (The Eric Abraham Scholarships) augmented UCT funds to provide support to refugee and international students.  Table 3 below provides a summary of awards made in 2010.
Table 3: Summary of awards made to international and refugee students
  • UCT Conference Travel Grants
    In order to maximize the opportunities for students to present and even publish their work, the university has provided funds to assist with the costs of conference travel. In 2010 and using UCT-sourced funds, 56 postgraduate students and 21 postdoctoral research fellows were awarded a total of R566,800 and R234,200 respectively towards the cost of travelling to local and international conferences
  • UCT Scholarships for International Travel

    Using funds from the income derived from investments, the university was able to support 22 master’s and doctoral students who successfully applied for UCT Scholarships for International Travel. These scholarships enabled students to spend up to 10 months at approved institutions abroad. These awards were made to a total value ofR1,061,283.

    The following institutions were visited by students during 2010: Technical University of Delft, Netherlands; International Institute of Information Technology, India; Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany; University of Virginia, United States of America; Columbia University Medical Center, United States of America; University of Brussels, Belgium; Stirling University, Scotland; Oxford Brookes University, England; University of Edinburgh, Scotland; University of Glasgow, Scotland; University of Sydney, Australia; Georgia State University, United States of America; University of Birmingham, England; Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, United States; University Duisburg-Essen, Germany; University of Technology, Missouri, United States of America; Center for Global Health and Economic Development, Columbia University; Harvard School of Public Health, United States of America; University of California, United States of America; University of Rennes, France; Griffith Law School, Australia; Toronto University, Canada.
  • The UCT Research Associateshipsare sourced from UCT funds. These are highly prestigious awards that are made annually to recognise excellence among master’s and doctoral student researchers and their supervisors. Each year a limited number of high-value awards are made. In addition, the Associateships include a monetary contribution to the successful candidate’s research costs. In 2010, 18 master’s and doctoral students received awards to a total of R810,000for their work in the following areas of research: Information Systems, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Medicine, Immunology, Human Biology, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Drama, Public Law, Botany; Molecular and Cell Biology, Zoology and Physics.
  • UCT PhD Package  Project.In 2010 the Postgraduate Studies Funding Committee approved a new scholarship sourced from donations and from funds derived from the income of an investment. The Package was designed to ensure that Doctoral students receive full-cost support that removes the necessity for non-research related employment.  The Package consists of three parts:
  • The scholarship of R50,000.
  • Compulsory part-time employment that is research-related and in the student’s academic department.
  • External awards to ensure that the total value of the package is not less than R120,000.

In 2010, 20 UCT PhD Package Project awards were made to a total of R1,000,000.

Postgraduate students at UCT are supported by generous grants from donors.  Examples of this are shown below:

  • The Harry Crossley Foundation has provided support to postgraduate students, research and to Postdoctoral Research Fellows for many years.  In 2010, one postdoctoral research fellowship and 20 research fellowships were provided to a total of over R1,353,000. In addition to the Fellowship Programme, the Foundation provides further support to postgraduate students in the form of need-based bursaries, for research in health sciences and for the supply and maintenance of equipment in the Postgraduate Centre.
  • The A W Mellon Cross-Faculty Scholarships provided support totalling R2,100,000 to 10 master’s and doctoral students registered in specific areas of study in humanities, law and commerce.  In addition to this amount, the students have access to travel and research allowances.
  • The D & E Potter fellowship Programme provides full-cost support to excellent master’s and doctoral students who intend to contribute to civil society in South Africa by leveraging their educational advantage in any discipline. Each student is required to plan and organise one seminar per degree. The D & E Potter Fellowship commenced in 2004 and to date 50 students have been supported.  In 2010, 17 awards were made (including continuing students) to a total value of R1,825,000.   

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