Doctorate

Candidates with a good Master‟s degree in Sociology or a cognate discipline, as well as a strong commitment to advanced-level research that will make an authoritative contribution to sociological knowledge within their chosen field of study, are invited to apply.

Procedures for applying, including the process leading up to the approval of the research proposal within the Faculty, are set out in Part 1, Section 5.2 above.

The programme involves independent and original research, leading towards the writing of a dissertation on an approved topic, as developed in an approved research proposal and under the supervision of a supervisor and, where appropriate, a co-supervisor. The minimum length of time to complete the programme once the proposal has been approved in terms of Faculty requirements is two years, although in practice many students take longer.

Additional structured work, including participating in selected postgraduate modules in other departmental programmes (for instance, modules on research methods or on sociological theory) may be required of the candidate, in support of his or her individual research programme. This will depend on the nature of the dissertation and the evaluation of the supervisor, and will be negotiated with each student individually.

For more details on doctoral programmes in the Department, see General provisions below.

Programme co-ordinator

Prof Lindy Heinecken
Tel: +27 21 808 2095
E-mail: lindy@sun.ac.za

Candidates with a good Master‟s degree in Social Anthropology or a cognate discipline, as well as a strong commitment to advanced-level research that will make an authoritative contribution to social anthropological knowledge within their chosen field of study, are invited to apply.

Procedures for applying, including the process leading up to the approval of the research proposal within the Faculty, are set out in Part 1, Section 5.2 above.

The programme involves independent and original research, leading towards the writing of a dissertation on an approved topic, as developed in an approved research proposal and under the supervision of a supervisor and, where appropriate, a co-supervisor. The minimum length of time to complete the programme once the proposal has been approved in terms of Faculty requirements is two years, although in practice many students take longer.

Additional structured work, including participating in selected postgraduate modules in other departmental programmes (for instance, modules on research methods or on social theory) may be required of the candidate, in support of his or her individual research programme. This will depend on the nature of the dissertation and the evaluation of the supervisor, and will be negotiated with each student individually.

For more details on doctoral programmes in the Department, see General provisions below.

Programme co-ordinator

Prof Steven Robins
Tel: +27 (0)21 808 2090
or +27 (0)21 808 2420
Email: slr@sun.ac.za

Candidates with a good Master‟s degree with social science content or a strong methodological focus, either in Sociology, Social Anthropology or related disciplines, and a strong interest in advanced-level research that would make an authoritative contribution to knowledge in the field of social science methods, are invited to apply.

The programme entails the writing, over the course of a minimum of two years, a dissertation of 200-250 pages that contains the results of independent and original research regarding a research problem with a strong methodological focus. Thus, in addition to the high level of methodological expertise required to carry out research at doctoral level, candidates in this programme are expected to deal in a rigorous and innovative way with issues relating to social science methods.

To illustrate, some of the dissertation titles of previous, current or prospective students read as follows: “Methods effects in a mixed-methods, quasi-experimental investigation of gendered choices of science subjects in Rwandan secondary schools”; “Methodological triangulation in the study of prosecutorial discretion: Overcoming epistemological challenges in the application of case study and survey methods in understanding prosecutorial decision-making”; “Research designs and methods for the built environment in South Africa”; and “Transforming logic modelling for NGO use in South Africa”.

Additional coursework, in the form of the successful completion of any number of structured modules selected from the exiting modules offered as part of the Department‟s other Social Science Methods (SSM) programmes, may be expected from (or requested by) the candidate. This would depend on the type of training the candidate and/or supervisor deem necessary for the candidate to complete his/her degree successfully, as well as a consideration of any previous, postgraduate methodology training the candidate may have already received.

The content, form and assessment of additional work will be negotiated with each student individually. The dissertation is examined internally and externally; an oral examination is part of the final evaluation. Students are strongly encouraged to publish their final dissertation in the form of journal articles or a book.

Programme co-ordinator

Jan Vorster
Tel: +27 21 808 2132
Email: jhv3@sun.ac.za

Successful PhD students are expected to demonstrate both mastery of the theoretical and conceptual framework(s) relevant to their chosen field and the methodological expertise that is required to carry out research at doctoral level. They must be able to think in a critical, rigorous, and innovative way and to communicate the results of their research through their dissertation effectively and in compliance with appropriate academic norms and standards, including around the presentation of data and the use of references and sources.

Duration

The minimum period of registration for a doctoral programme is two years. In practice most students expect to take three to four years to complete their thesis, due to time needed for fieldwork and also where they are combining their studies with other responsibilities.

The supervisory relationship

Supervisors are appointed by the Department in consultation with the student; a cosupervisor, including from outside the Department, may also be appointed, depending on the nature of the study.

At the doctoral level the supervisory relationship is of critical importance. The Department encourages individual students and supervisors to negotiate a supervisory contract at the start of their research relationship that addresses mutual expectations around communications, time frames, the submission of draft materials by the student, and feedback from supervisors. Feedback from supervisors on progress can be oral or in written form.

Participation in the intellectual life of the Department

Doctoral students are encouraged to participate actively in the intellectual life of the Department, as far as possible. This includes participation in the Department‟s Postgraduate Research Forum (an opportunity for informal discussion among postgraduate students on research issues that meets on a quarterly basis through the year) and the Department‟s general weekly seminar programme.

Students may be asked to present their work to the Department in the form of seminars from time to time.

Progress reports

The Department reviews individual student progress on an annual basis by means of a Progress Report that is completed by both the student and his/her supervisor. This Report affords both students and supervisors an opportunity to reflect on the academic progress of the individual student and to identify any issues or problems requiring attention, including from the side of the Department. Failure to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress may result in the Department not recommending that a student be allowed to re-register for the programme the following year.

Format of the dissertation

The recommended length of the doctoral dissertation is approximately 80,000 – 85,000 words (200 – 250 typed pages). University requirements in terms of formatting and general layout as well as submission are set out in the Higher Degrees section of Part 1 (General) of the University Calendar. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that his/her dissertation meets University requirements.

Examination of the dissertation

Once completed, the dissertation is examined internally and externally, according to the policies and requirements of the University. Examination usually involves a panel of three suitably qualified experts in the field (one internal to the University and two from outside the University).

An oral examination of the thesis is included as part of the final evaluation, under the auspices of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University.

Conferences and publications

Students are encouraged to participate actively in academic workshops and seminars and to present their work at national and international conferences. Financial support towards such activities may be available from the Department and/or Faculty, funds permitting and upon motivation by the student, generally with the support of his/her supervisor.

Students are also encouraged to explore opportunities to publish aspects of their research as articles in academic journals during the course of the study. Once the doctorate has been awarded its publication as a monograph is also strongly recommended