PANGeA Doctoral Scholarship Programme

The PANGeA doctoral scholarship programme was launched in 2010 as part of Stellenbosch University’s contribution to the PANGeA network through the establishment of the Graduate School, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Over 75 candidates, nominated by PANGeA partner institutions, have enrolled in the full-time doctoral scholarship programme since 2010 of which 57 have since graduated and resumed their academic positions at their home institution. A total 85% of PANGeA PhD graduates completed in 3 years or less.

  • We offer partially structured PhD programmes in the arts, humanities and social sciences
  • Address problems relevant to Africa's development in multi-disciplinary research themes
  • Provide broad-based research and scholarship support through weekly seminars, workshops, colloquia and short courses; and
  • Enhance academic collaboration and mobility in partnership with leading African universities (through PANGeA)

To enable students to complete their doctoral studies within three years, the Graduate School maintains a comprehensive Framework for Doctoral Programme Support, consisting of the following four elements:

  1. Full-time study: The study programme is a partially structured, full-time, residential programme over three years. The Graduate School co-ordinates the provision of scholarships and academic support by incorporating foundational training and regular monitoring to enhance students' experience, quality and completion.
  2. Interactive learning environment: The Graduate School and the department where the student is enrolled, create an interactive learning environment conducive to advanced scholarship development. This is currently achieved by the following means: (a) an anchor seminar series and training programme organised by the Graduate School, which is compulsory for all students during their first year of study; (b) a requirement that students attend and participate in regular scholarly activities such as guided postgraduate, departmental, or theme-oriented seminars, reading groups, conferences or specific training modules offered at Stellenbosch University; and (c) regular meetings between students and supervisors as well as regular student progress reports to the Graduate School office.
  3. Research Themes: The students' research topics form part of one of the Faculty's approved Research Themes which are largely focused on Africa's development and international development themes.
  4. Collaborative research partnering: Where appropriate and feasible, students are encouraged to participate in the Faculty's efforts to engage in collaborative research projects with leading African universities through PANGeA. In cases where students will spend significant periods of time away from Stellenbosch or on partner campuses, appropriate measures are taken to arrange suitable supervision on partner campuses.
  1. The first year of study is devoted to submission and approval of a doctoral proposal including a study plan and literature review (to be completed in the first semester); induction into scholarly discourse in the research theme or field of study through participation in an advanced seminar series or colloquium; training in generic and elective modules organised by the Graduate School; preparing or starting the field work, experimental work or archival work based on an approved research design and methodology for the study; obtaining ethical approval where necessary; and completing at least one full chapter of the dissertation
  2. In the second year, students continue to execute the research or study plan through further reading and/or writing and to complete their field work, experimental work or archival work; attend further seminars in the Graduate School research themes or to follow (additional) modules offered at Stellenbosch University; and, where appropriate, feasible and subject to the availability of suitable supervision, students will be encouraged to spend some time from the second year onwards at PANGeA partner universities
  3. The third year is devoted to completion of analysis and writing and to presentation of preliminary results in advanced research theme seminars; and submit the dissertation for examination.
Students are required to remain in regular contact with their supervisors and co-supervisors throughout their study programmes. Student progress is centrally monitored with input from supervisors three times per year by means of a comprehensive progress report. Payments of scholarship instalments (four per year) are dependent upon satisfactory progress reports.
  1. Democratisation, poverty and conflict
    Deconstructing the political economy, deepening democracy and promoting human security.
    [Political science; political philosophy; political sociology]
  2. Land, environment and society in Africa
    Land is utilised as a source of livelihood and of social identity, celebrated in African literature and the arts.
    [Sociology; Social anthropology; Geography and environmental studies; History; Ancient studies]
  3. Transitions and translations: Africa in local and global imaginaries
    Africa is capable of generating its own authoritative representations in literature, media and entertainment.
    [English; African languages; General linguistics; Visual arts; Journalism; Ancient studies]
  4. The arts as knowledge
    Artistic practice and research generate new knowledge and empower the arts and acting as transformative agencies in society.
    [Music; Drama; Visual arts]
  5. Science, technology and society
    What role could, did and/or ought science and technology play in African development and how can its misapplication be prevented?
    [Philosophy; CREST; Sociology]
  6. Consolidated geographical information technology application
    Integrating spatial information technology platforms with natural, human and social data bases to enhance knowledge application and utilisation.
    [Geography and environmental studies]
  7. Language, culture and communication
    Language as the most complex and pervasive expression of humanity involves language and mind such as it formal cognitive aspects, interaction (discourses) and content in social and public life.
    [African languages; Afrikaans and Dutch; Journalism; Modern foreign languages: French and German; General linguistics; Ancient studies]
  8. Public mental health
    Promoting public mental health in Africa requires individual and institutional interventions to overcome effects of disasters such as droughts, wars and endemic poverty.
    [Psychology; Social work]

For more information please visit the Graduate School website

To apply please click here to see our call for application.

  1. Democratisation, poverty and conflict
    This Research Theme should be conceptualised as a cluster of three overlapping analytical circles that amplify many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's), but relate specifically to three of them, namely:

    • endemic poverty (political economy),
    • the promotion and deepening of democracy (democratisation) and
    • the promotion of human security, including food security and peace initiatives (conflict).

    Participating departments: Political Science, Political Philosophy, and Sociology and Social Anthropology
    Current convenor: Prof Pierre du Toit (Political Science)
  2. Land, environment and society in Africa (LESA)
    Understanding the dynamics of land and the environment for the economic, political and social health of Africa in all their complexity requires innovative, critical and socially grounded analysis. While there are important differences among countries, most households depend significantly on land-based livelihoods for survival. Important processes of social change are underway, driven, inter alia, by urbanisation, migration and globalisation. Environmental challenges - climate change, loss of bio-diversity, pollution - threaten sustainable development, while territorial conflicts undermine political stability. Land is also an important source of social identity, and relationships to land and the environment are celebrated themes in African literature and the arts more broadly. This multi-disciplinary research programme brings together scholars in the social sciences and humanities, to explore cross-cutting themes around land, environment and society, both currently and historically, within and across countries and regions in Africa.

    Participating departments: Sociology and Social Anthropology; Geography and Environmental Studies; History; Modern Foreign Languages; Music; Philosophy; Psychology; Visual Arts
    Current convenor: Prof Ronnie Donaldson (Geography and Environmental Studies) and Prof Sandra Swart (History)
  3. Transitions and translations: Africa in local and global imaginaries
    This theme is concerned with modes of representation and interpretation, and specifically with the ways in which Africa is figured in local and global imaginaries. It seeks to engage critically with current representations of Africa and to refigure the discourse of Africa to enable new interpretive paradigms that engage with Africa not as a peripheral phenomenon dependent on European and Anglo-American representations, but as embedded in dynamic relationships with a range of local and global cultures and capable of generating its own authoritative representations.

    Participating departments: English; African Languages; Afrikaans and Dutch; Ancient Studies; General Linguistics; History; Modern Foreign Languages; Music; Sociology and Social Anthropology; Visual Arts
    Current convenor: Prof Grace Musila and Prof Tina Steiner (English)
  4. The arts as knowledge
    Universities are home to scholars and artists. Driven by theory, disciplinary exchange between the arts and social sciences has become common. This contact remains important in how the arts and artistic discourses position themselves in universities. This theme builds on this exchange and underscores the transformative potential of research into and through creative work. 'The arts as knowledge' is concerned with how the performance and visual arts in Africa exist in complex interaction with knowledge structures and how this knowledge emerges through artistic and performative engagements. 'The arts as knowledge' therefore invites conventional academic discourse recognizing the arts as generative of new knowledge in unique ways, but uniquely also integrated research of creative processes and theoretical work. Thus this theme recognizes that practice as research (PAR), as well as academic research into the arts, holds the potential to generate original contributions to knowledge of and insight into the arts and their broader contexts, thereby empowering the arts and acting as a transformative agency in society.

    Participating departments: Music, Drama, Visual Arts
    Current convenor: Prof Stephanus Müller (Music)
  5. Science, technology and society
    In this research theme, an effort is made to better (optimally) understand the impact of science and technology on, specifically, the African segment of the developing world. The central research question that is posed, is what role science and technology have played, could play and ought to play in the effort to develop Africa into a commonwealth of societies that are not only materially and economically well supplied or provided for, but that might also develop into spaces that are conducive to cultural enrichment and the creation of a moral community amidst the havoc and destruction that poverty, corruption and violence have caused and continue to cause on this continent. At the same time, the program investigates the dangers and pitfalls that a wrong understanding and application of science could bring about in Africa.

    Participating departments: Philosophy; Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST); Sociology and Social Anthropology
    Current convenor: Prof Anton van Niekerk (Philosophy) and Prof Johann Mouton (CREST)
  6. Consolidated geographical information technology (GIT) application for sustaining development and the environment
    This theme involves the building of consolidated institutional capacity in geographical information technology (GIT) through development of infrastructure, staff, curricula and innovative applications in spatial human and natural systems analysis and management. The technologies involved in GIT include the disciplines of photogrammetry (accurate map-making from remotely sensed imagery), computer cartography (electronic map making and plan construction), satellite remote sensing (RS) which should include aerial photographic analysis, and global positioning systems (GPS). GIS is the apex spatial information technology platform that allows the integrated analysis of information from RS and GPS sources with secondary information concerning natural resource data bases, and human development patterns and manifestations. In application its aim is to support planning decision-making across a broad range of government and private institutions from international to local levels involved with spatially distributed phenomena. Application fields range from natural resource analysis and human disaster management to business and social service delivery planning.

    Participating departments: Geography and Environmental Studies
    Current convenor: Prof Adriaan van Niekerk (Geography and Environmental Studies)
  7. Language, culture and communication
    This Theme comprises of the following strands:
    Language and mind: Research on cognitive aspects of language (including syntax, lexical semantics, morphology, psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics etc.
    Language and interaction: Research on discourse (spoken and written) and pragmatics; interpersonal, group, public and mass communication (e.g. language in, law, politics, government, media, and health professions).
    Language and content: Research on issues relating to language in society (including language planning and policy), bilingualism and multilingualism, lexicography, translation, language learning and teaching (both first (child) language learning/acquisition ) and second/additional language, academic literacy and professional communication, language technology, language and culture, ideology, power and identity.

    Participating departments: African Languages; Afrikaans & Dutch; General Linguistics; Journalism; and Modern Foreign Languages (German, French)
    Current convenor: Prof Marianna Visser (African Languages); Prof Rufus Gouws (Afrikaans and Dutch); and Prof Carlotta von Maltzan (Modern Foreign Language)
  8. Public mental health
    This Research Theme is a core component of the work of the Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH) which is a joint initiative of the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU) and The Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT). The CPMH is an independent, high quality research centre using research evidence for teaching, advocacy and consultancy to promote mental health in Africa. The CPMH aims to become widely acknowledged as a key party in the strengthening of expert capacity in all levels of health policy institutions in Africa, as well as a reliable and respected source of information and knowledge for uptake and utilisation.

    Participating departments: Psychology; Social Work
    Current convenor: Prof Leslie Swartz (Psychology)
The call for applications for the 2020 intake opens on 01 August 2019. Apply Now 

+27 21 808 2115  or  +27 21 808 4198



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