Welcome to CST, the pioneering research and training hub that draws together researchers and practitioners interested in the dynamics of transition using complexity thinking, sustainability science and transdisciplinarity methodologies.


What can you do with a postgraduate degree in partnership with CST?

  • Integration of knowledge across disciplines.
  • Co-creation of knowledge with (rather than for) society that transcends disciplines.
  • Become a thought leader in the area of complex systems in transition.
  • Learn how to understand and influence complex transitions to advance human wellbeing and achieve a more sustainable world.
  • Become part of a research team that merges modellers, theorists, applied researchers and societal stakeholders.
  • Pioneer a mode of research that will contribute to developing distinct advantages within the South African, African and global context.
  • Develop and support evidence-based policy and decision-making that could contribute to sustainability transitions.
  • Develop capabilities to interpret, disseminate and communicate co-generated information and knowledge of transitions in complex socio-ecological systems to different target audiences, from the scientific community to policy-makers to a wide variety of societal actors and stakeholders.

The CST has a vibrant research community, with its own research commons where staff and students collaborate and interact in the boardroom and lounge area.


How to become part of the research and training hub:

  • Students apply to become research partners with CST.
  • CST builds on existing Master’s and Doctoral programmes at Stellenbosch University.
  • Students are required to choose from the existing research themes.
  • Research topics allocated to students will be closely aligned with the six research themes, and will be conducted in conjunction with the transdisciplinary case studies (TDC’s).
  • Prospective students are supervised by CST-affiliated staff.

The existing programmes that will be expanded include:

  • Transdisciplinary Doctoral Programme in the study of sustainability and complexity (TD-PhD). Participants in this programme are registered in specific departments (including, but not limited to, those mentioned below). They usually have 2 or 3 co-supervisors drawn from different Departments and participate in joint Doctoral Seminars every two weeks.

School of Public Leadership (SPL)

Strengths: sustainability, complexity (including systems dynamics modelling), governance, transdisciplinary research

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Development (PGD-SD) – course work (8 x 15 credit modules)
  • MPhil in Sustainable Development (MPhil-SD – Note: PGD-SD is only recognised entry qualification) – 2 courses (15 credits each) plus thesis (150 credits)
  • MPhil in Environmental Management (MPhil-EM)
  • Specialist training courses in systems dynamics modelling (already offered as electives in the MPhil programme)

Sustainability Institute (SI)

Strengths: seventeen years of experience in the transdisciplinary teaching and learning about sustainability, strong working partnerships with a range of civil society formations in SA and across Africa, manages various large-scale transdisciplinary research projects for international, African and South African institutions.

Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering (DMME)

Strengths: sustainability (with special reference to technical aspects of renewable energy)

  • Postgraduate Diploma in Engineering (Renewable and Sustainable Energy)
  • Masters in Engineering (Renewable and Sustainable Energy)

Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology (DCEE)

Strengths: social-ecological systems, sustainability

  • MSC in Conservation Ecology
  • PhD in Conservation Ecology

Department of Curriculum Studies

Strengths: sustainability, complexity, transdisciplinary research, governance

  • Master of Education (specialising in environmental education/epistemologies of education)
  • DPhil or Doctorate in Education (specialising in environmental education/epistemologies of education)

Department of Information Science

Strengths: complexity; decision-making; knowledge management

  • MPhil in Information & Knowledge Management
  • PhD in Arts and Social Sciences (Information & Knowledge Management)

Application Information

Prospective Postgraduate Students click here

Information on bursaries and scholarships are available on the Bursaries and Loans webpage of Stellenbosch University.

For information on applications, fees, accommodation or any other queries please contact: cstenquiries@sun.ac.za