There is a need for more African scholars and scientists to contribute to innovation and development on our continent and to enhance Africa’s participation in the knowledge economy. Due to the rapid increase in doctoral enrolments at African universities in recent years, many more well-prepared supervisors are needed at African universities.

This DIES/CREST course offers a flexible study opportunity to academic staff members, particularly novice doctoral supervisors, who are interested to advance their knowledge, skills and networks in doctoral supervision.

The course is presented over eight weeks. There are two offerings of the course in 2020, from 11 May –  10 July 2020 (followed by a practical assignment due on 7 August 2020) and from 27 July – 20 September 2020 (followed by a practical assignment due on 26 October 2020).

Applications for 2020 have closed. The next offering of the course will be in the second part of 2021. A call for applications will be announced during the first part of 2021.

What will the course cover?

Module 1
Doctoral studies in Africa: the need for the doctorate and the state of doctoral studies in Africa

Module 2
Nature, purpose, standard, and format of the doctoral degree

Module 3
Roles and responsibilities of the supervisor and the student

Module 4
Supervisory models, styles and practice

Module 5
Supervising the preparation phase: selection of doctoral candidates, supervisor allocation, supervising the development of the research proposal and literature study

Module 6
Supervising the execution phase: responsible conduct of research and ethics, project management, thesis writing, doctoral examination

Who will present the course?

The course will be presented by CREST, an academic centre of Stellenbosch University in South Africa. CREST has vast experience in doctoral supervision and is known for its expertise in research methodology and in science policy and knowledge production on the African continent. Our partners in this course are the Centre for Higher Education Research, Learning and Teaching (CHERTL) at Rhodes University in South Africa, and the Centre for Higher and Adult Education at Stellenbosch University (CHAE).

The course is offered by Professors Jan Botha (CREST), Chrissie Boughey (CHERTL), Liezel Frick (CHAE), Johann Mouton (CREST) and Sioux McKenna (CHERTL).

How will the course be presented?

The course will be presented through the web-based learning management system of Stellenbosch University. The course materials are 100% online (i.e. there is no need to travel to Stellenbosch) and participants can access the course materials and participate in the online activities when it is convenient for them. Participants must have access to a reliable and reasonably fast and stable internet connection, in order to be able to download the multimedia components of the course and participate in the online activities and discussions.

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will receive a Certificate of Competence from Stellenbosch University.

How much time will it take?

Successful participation will require about nine hours per week over a period of eight weeks. Participants should plan to spend about another 15 hours on the final assignment.

What are the entry requirements?

To be considered for the course, you must be employed by or affiliated to a university in Africa, have a doctoral degree (or expect to receive your doctoral degree by the end of 2020), you have to supervise or co-supervise doctoral students (or be expected to do so in the future), and you need a letter of support from your head of department or dean.


This course is made possible by the Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies Programme (DIES), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development and coordinated jointly by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK).

Prof Johann Mouton Director of CREST

A course for doctoral supervisors at Makerere University in Uganda


Applications for 2020 have closed. The next offering of the course will be in the second part of 2021. A call for applications will be announced during the first part of 2021.


The enrolment fee is $400 (four hundred US dollars) per participant.