Scholarships for Higher Education Research

CHAE is part of a collaborative project between Walter Sisulu University, Coventry University and Stellenbosch University to enhance academic staff doctoral capacity training and expertise in South Africa. The programme is fully funded by DHET and the British Council, and seeks to recruit academic staff to register for a PhD programme with collaborative supervision between the three institutions. If you would like to apply for this programme, please follow this link: CLICK HERE

The deadline is: 31/08/2020.


Research foci

Within the CHAE, we focus on higher and adult education as general fields of interest guiding our research foci. Within these fields, our current research foci include:

  • Identity development in higher and adult education settings
  • Curriculum and assessment in higher and adult education
  • Creativity and learning in higher and adult education
  • Dialogical learning in higher and adult education
  • Digital and e-learning in higher and adult education
  • Postgraduate pedagogies in higher and adult education
  • Workplace learning in higher and adult education

  • We generally do not accept applications from candidates who wish to focus on basic/school-based research topics. Please consult the website of the Department of Curriculum Studies, or the Department of Education Policy Studies for more information on the doctoral programmes and potential supervisors who do specialise in these areas of interest.


    This degree requires a minimum of two years’ full-time study, usually after completing a Master’s Degree. Part-time studies are allowed, which usually demands a longer time frame. The maximum number of years that a student can be registered for a PhD is 5 years.

    Admission requirements

    To be admitted to the PhD programme, you must have an appropriate Master’s degree from this University (for which you obtained at least 60%), or have in some other manner attained a standard of competence in a particular field of study deemed adequate for such purpose by Senate.

    Application procedure

    If you wish to register for the PhD, you must formally apply to SU. Only then will you be able to call on services or receive guidance in preparing a research proposal.

    Selection process

    Please note that application and registration are two separate processes. Once you have applied, you may be asked for more information about your potential research interests. If we do have the capacity and expertise to accommodate a candidate in this area, you will be put into contact with a potential supervisor, who will work with you on developing your research idea into a feasible and defendable research proposal.

    Your research proposal will be used to determine whether or not you may register to be admitted into the PhD programme. The relevant postgraduate committee will evaluate your research proposal and then recommend to the Faculty Board whether or not you may register for admission. Your research proposal may therefore be accepted or rejected. If it is rejected, you will not be admitted to the programme. Normally it may not take more than one year to vet a proposal. If a proposal is considered for more than a year, the departmental chair will have to make a special case.

    Assessment and examination

    The statutory requirements and other provisions relating to doctoral degrees in Part 1 (General) of the University Calendar as well as the Faculty of Education Calendar also apply to this degree. Examination at the doctoral level includes both a formal assessment of the written thesis produced, as well as an oral examination (if the examiners agree that that the written thesis has scholarly merit).

    Please note that a doctoral thesis is normally between 70 000 and 90 000 words in length and should be of sufficient quality to be published as an article in a suitable professional journal or as a book.

    Graduates (2007-2020)

    McConney, A.R. (2019). Evaluating the role of a peer mentoring program in the adjustment of first-year university students. Supervisor: Prof M Fourie-Malherbe

    Sinclair, E. (2019). Transforming student counselling services for a future Stellenbosch University. Supervisor: Prof M Fourie-Malherbe, Co-Supervisor: Prof D Daniels

    Van Zyl, A.E. (2019). Re-Exploring the anaesthetic and recovery room components of the diploma in operating department assistance curriculum at a private higher education institution in South Africa. Supervisor: Prof Eli Bitzer; Co-Supervisor: Dr A.D. van der Merwe

    Adams, T.B. (2018). A reflective account of facilitator practice improvement in a leadership development programme in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Sector. Supervisor : Prof BL Frick, Co-Supervisor: Dr R Albertyn

    Coetzee, C.M. (2018). A workload model for nurse educators in private higher education: options for improved productivity and job satisfaction. Supervisor: Prof E Bitzer.

    Griesel, G. (2018). A framework for enhancing the design skill sets of foundation programme landscape architecture students. Supervisor: Prof M Fourie-Malherbe, Co-Supervisor: Prof BL Frick

    Strydom, S.C. (2018). Institutional and agentic interplay in technology-enhanced higher education curriculum development: A critical realist perspective. Supervisor: Prof AE Carl, Co-Supervisor: Prof M Fourie-Malherbe

    Swart, M.(2018). A workplace literacy perspective on unlocking employability of technical and vocational education and training college graduates. Supervisor: Prof C vd Walt, Co-Supervisor: Prof BL Frick

    Groenewald, J (2017). Exploring the optimal role of residence heads in promoting student success: an institutional case study. Supervisor: Prof M Fourie-Malherbe, Co-supervisor: Dr HL Botha.

    Omingo, M (2017). Academic development in private universities in Kenya. Supervisor: Prof B Leibowitz, Co-supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer.

    Traut, H (2017). The development of creativity in Geography student teachers as a mediator between their acquired content knowledge and applied pedagogical practice. Supervisor: prof PAD Beets, Co-supervisor: A/Prof BL Frick.

    Archer, E (2016). Engaging patient-centeredness in the MB.ChB curriculum: A case of the final year medical students. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Prof BB van Heerden.

    Faasen, M (2016). A Learning Design Framework for Active Learning using Audience Response Systems. Supervisor: Prof Prof M Fourie-Malherbe, Co-supervisor: Prof J Cronje.

    Lourens, E (2016). From graduate to employee: exploring the journeys of first-time entrants into the labour market. Supervisor: Dr M Ndlovu, Co-supervisor: Prof M Fourie-Malherbe.

    Matimbo, F (2016). Towards understanding programmatic quality in private universities in Tanzania. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer

    McCreanor, C (2016). A curriculum framework for the professional development of corporate social responsibility practitioners in South Africa. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Professor P.G.W. Jansen (VU University Amsterdam).

    Owusu-Agyeman, Y (2016). The relevance of telecommunications and electrical engineering programmes to the needs of adult learners in Ghana. Supervisor: prof M Fourie-Malherbe, Co-supervisor: A/Prof BL Frick.

    Petersen, M (2016). The role of feedback in reflective university teaching. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Prof S van Schalkwyk.

    Herman, N (2015). The role of context in decision making about professional learning by lecturers at a research-intensive university. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Prof B Leibowitz, University of Johannesburg.

    Mkhabela, Z (2015). The role leadership learning in the developmental needs of the senior managers in a rural municipality: A case study in adult education at Bushbuckridge Local Municipality. Supervisor: dr BL Frick, Co-supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer.

    Robertson, CA (2015). Leadership development for technical and vocational education and training college leaders in South Africa: a post-graduate curriculum framework. Supervisor: dr BL Frick, Co-supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer.

    Van der Bijl, AJ (2015). Mentoring and the development of educators in South African Technical and Vocational education. Supervisor: dr BL Frick.

    Bosman, V (2014). An analysis of student development in the context of a mentoring programme for first-year students at a university residence. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer,

    Costandius, E (2012). Engaging the curriculum in a visual communication design programme: A case study at Stellenbosch University. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Dr C Troskie-de Bruin.

    Wilson, L (2012). Community engagement in higher education: A case of the internship master's degree in Play Therapy at Huguenot College. Supervisor: Prof R Newmark, Co-supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer.

    Coe, KL (2010). The process of lesson study as a strategy for the development of teaching in primary schools: A case study in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Supervisor: Prof AE Carl, Co-Supervisor: Dr BL Frick.

    Smith-Tolken, A (2010). Community engagement at a higher education institution: Exploring a theoretical grounding for scholarly-based service-related processes. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Prof R Newmark.

    Stefan, DC (2009). Developing a framework for an undergraduate haematology curriculum in a faculty of health sciences. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Dr F Cilliers.

    Sutherland, T (2009). A curriculum framework for an introductory programme in the National Diploma: Engineering at the Vaal University of Technology. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Prof C A Kapp.

    Smit, I (2008). 'n Opleidingsraamwerk gerig op gehalte aborsiesorg vir verpleegkundiges aan hoëronderwysinstellings in die Wes-Kaap [A training framework directed at quality abortion care for nurses at higher education institutions in the Western Cape]. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisors: Dr D Boshoff (Nursing), Prof W Steyn (Obstetrics and Gyneacology).

    Frick, BL (2007). Continuing professional development (CPD) in the Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University: In search of a holistic conceptualization. Supervisor: C A Kapp, Co-supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer.

    Engelbrecht, FDJ (2007). A framework for the design and implementation of competency-based teacher education programmes at the University of Namibia. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Prof A E Carl.

    Nel, C (2007). Oorgang van skool na universiteit: 'n Gevalstudie aan die Universiteit van Stellenbosch [Transition from school to university: A case study at Stellenbosch University].Supervisor: Dr C Troskie-De Bruin, Co-supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer.

    Van Schalkwyk, SC (2007). The role of academic literacy in first-year students learning in the faculty of Arts. Supervisor: Prof EM Bitzer, Co-supervisor: Prof C van der Walt.