Postgraduate Funding and Support

Funding Applications

The Postgraduate Office, from the Division for Research Development, administers and manages a range of different funding instruments for postgraduate studies, i.e. NRF, CSIR, SARAO, Postgraduate Support Bursary based on financial need, as well as several private bursaries.

Postgraduate funding applications typically close in the current academic year for the following year’s intake cycle. You should therefore apply for a postgraduate programme and apply for scholarships and bursaries in tandem (admission is not a requirement from some funding opportunities – please consult the specific funding call guideline documentation). For example, students in the final year of undergraduate studies must apply for funding for their Honours or Postgraduate Diploma year.

Information pertaining to the funding process is available here

Listing of available bursaries is accessible here.

Bursaries based on academic performance

SU acts as an agent for the National Research Foundation (NRF)’s freestanding scholarships and its grant holder-linked bursaries. The NRF bursaries are available for full-time studies in all fields. The grant holder-linked bursaries are made available to academic staff who hold NRF research grants and who may then nominate bursary candidates, some of whom they are supervising, to receive such bursaries. These are administered by the Research Integrity and National Grants section in DRD whilst the PGSF section disburses the grant-holder linked bursaries.

Postgraduate students can also apply for a limited number of Private Bursaries. These bursaries are limited to certain fields of study and offer varying amounts to a few selected students only.  When allocating these private bursaries, preference is given to applicants at the most advanced level of study (degree programme) and with the highest marks, unless stated otherwise.

Some departments, especially those in the fields of science and technology, offer financial assistance from departmental funds to selected students in the form of Departmental Bursaries. If you are not currently receiving any financial assistance, it is something which you may enquire about with your academic department (typically ask your supervisor). Should such funding be available, it can only be awarded to a candidate upon the formal recommendation of a department.

A limited number of Prestige Bursaries are available to candidates whose academic performance in their previous studies has been outstanding.  These are advertised from time-to-time.

Bursaries based on financial need

The PGFS section administers Postgraduate Support Bursaries for extremely financially needy students with academic potential. Please note, financial need is determined by a means test assessment based on among other things, family income. Support bursaries are seldom sufficient to cover all study costs and students must therefore seek additional sources of funding.

Contact us

If you would like to know more about the qualifying criteria and closing dates of all postgraduate bursaries, please visit the Postgraduate Funding Office’s website at You can also contact the Office on +27 (0) 21 808 4208, or send an email to