Programme Information

PhD in Psychology
Code: 18414 – 978
Course Coordinator: Prof Leslie Swartz
Postgraduate Administrative Officer: Ms. Gaynöhl Andrews –; 021 808 34641

Application Process and Admissions

Admission Criteria:

A Master’s degree in Psychology or an equivalent qualification which is acceptable according to the regulations of the University.

Application Process:

To apply for the programme, prospective students will need to:

  • Complete the online application form. Please see
  • In addition, at the time of formal application, or preferably before this, applications must be accompanied by a brief, preliminary research topic of the prospective study with clear objectives and a research question (not more than 1000 words), as well as a CV. These must be sent to
  • The department receives many more applications than we can accept, and we encourage enquiries throughout the year. Key to acceptance is the availability of a research supervisor with the expertise and availability to take on the project.
  • There are two ways to try to find a potential supervisor:
    • Applicants may approach potential supervisors directly – for this please look at the People pages on our website;
    • Or you may send the material to Ms Andrews, who will then liaise with the course convenor to distribute the application to staff who may have availability.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Final acceptance into a PhD programme depends on acceptance of a formal, detailed research proposal by an admissions committee, and through a series of other committees and eventually by Senate (please take note of the steps outlined in )

Please take note of the following closing date for applications, taking into account the document above:

  • 30 November of the preceding year (but applications are considered throughout the year, as the path to registration for the degree can take time).
  • International (Non-South African) students must apply through the University of Stellenbosch International Office, accessed at,

Programme Content

This programme, which requires a minimum of two years of study, focuses on the acquisition and broadening of knowledge in a specific area of psychology at an advanced level. It entails the completion of a dissertation (360 credits), the topic of which is determined in consultation with a supervisor. It is preferable that the study forms part of an existing departmental research project context.

The degree is by dissertation only and there is no formal requirement for course-work. Details of formats for PhDs can be accessed by following the links from .

This said, specific applicants may be required to attend skills courses depending on their needs as developing researchers. More information on doctoral programmes in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences can be accessed at .

This is a research degree, and there is no professional training. The degree is not registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.