PhD Programme Background


According to the National Qualifications framework, the Doctorate Degree (General) provides training for an academic career and requires a candidate to undertake research that culminates in a thesis. Furthermore, the research that is produced should be of a publishable standard, thereby demonstrating an original contribution to the body of knowledge. This implies that there is no assessed course-work component, although course work may be included to facilitate the completion of the degree.

 In keeping with its essence, the Business School offers a PhD programme that seeks to contribute to the body of knowledge related to “Leadership for Sustainability”. Topics currently being focused upon include leadership development, responsible strategic decision making, leadership identity, the triple helix, the entrepreneurial university the entrepreneurial ecosystem [incubators and accelerators].

At Rhodes Business School we do not have a DBA programme.

The PhD programme 

Duration: At a minimum, a full time PhD candidate is registered academically for two years and a part time candidate for three years.  Usually the degree takes longer than this minimum period to complete, and more realistically requires registration for five years to complete the degree which consists of 360 credits or 3 600 notional hours. This amounts to spending an average of almost 15 hours a week for 50 weeks of the year, over a five year period.

The PhD week: The PhD candidate is required to demonstrate an ability to conduct independent research of a publishable standard.  This can prove to be a tough and lonely journey.  Consequently, the Business school requires candidates to attend compulsory PhD weeks, twice a year [usually in March and August], as a means of offering support and building a network with other PhD candidates. The main purpose of this week is for PhD candidates to meet with their supervisor and fellow PhD candidates and to receive further guidance on their research progress.  There is time allocated for lectures on research methods sustainability and leadership; one-on-one supervision; independent study; and to visit the library. Candidates are also expected to make presentations in this week related to their own research progress. Individuals who may be eligible to register as PhD candidates in the near future are also invited to attend this week and to deliver short presentations of their ideas.

Publishing:  An effective way to embark upon the PhD journey is to publish intermittently, before handing the thesis in for examination.  This provides smaller milestones along the way, and allows the candidate to receive peer feedback, which assists in appraising the potential contribution of the PhD topic. The Business School does not only encourage this practice of publishing once a PhD candidate is registered, but also encourages PhD applicants to co-author conference and/or journal publications with a prospective supervisor prior to registration.  This collaborative experience is invaluable in exposing applicants to the rigours of academic research, provides some insight into the demands of the PhD, and allows the applicant and supervisor to work together prior to formally committing to the demands of a PhD.

Last Modified: Fri, 17 Jul 2020 08:58:35 SAST

PhD Programme Eligibility

 The following criteria are used in selecting PhD candidates:

  • Qualification: Hold a Master’s level qualification [i.e. NQF level 9] in a relevant discipline [e.g. Commerce, Management, Leadership or Business Administration].  This would include course-work Master’s degrees such as an MBA degree.
  • Academic performance: Achieved an aggregate mark above 65% for the Master’s degree.
  • Research capability: Proven ability to conduct independent research. This would be reflected in good research performance and output during the Master’s programme.  Evidence of publishing research findings would be a distinct advantage.
  • Attendance: While the PhD degree is usually offered on a part-time basis and not in attendance, candidates are expected to attend PhD weeks twice a year in Grahamstown.
  • Capacity and alignment: Matching supervisor and student research interests, along with supervision capacity.
  • Access to data: Have access to a potential site for conducting field work.
  • Self-Funding: Little funding is available for part time PhD study.  Candidates would need to budget for the costs of their annual registration fees, research costs, conference attendance, and visits to Grahamstown to attend PhD weeks and to meet with the supervisor. The fees booklet can be found on the Student Fees Page . 


Last Modified: Fri, 17 Jul 2020 09:00:10 SAST

PhD Programme How to apply

Initial enquiry: Enquiries related to PhD studies can be sent to Please write “PhD enquiry” in the subject heading of the email and attach a copy of your curriculum vitae. In the body of the email, please provide the following information:

  • Name:
  • Highest qualification and name of institution:
  • Proposed topic:
  • Academic performance: Aggregate mark achieved for the Master’s degree:
  • Research capability: A description of your research performance and output.
  • Access to data: Describe the potential site for conducting field work.
  • Self-Funding: Confirm that you are able to fund your own studies.
  • Location: Being able to travel here for the PhD week and  supervision meetings
  • Duration: The number of years within which you intend to complete the degree.

 Upon receiving your enquiry, the School will first consider if we are able to supervise the research and if you are eligible as a PhD candidate. The School reviews its capacity to take on extra supervision, and the alignment of the research topic with the research interests of the School.  Thereafter the eligibility of the applicant is reviewed. A member of the Rhodes Business School faculty will then respond to your email, either advising you that (1) you are ineligible for the PhD programme, (2) that we are unable to consider your application at this stage, or (3) putting you in touch with a prospective supervisor.

 Research Collaboration: In the case of the applicant being put in in touch with a prospective supervisor, the two parties will begin to explore the topic in more detail and to collaborate on a research paper for delivery at a conference, or for publication in a journal. The applicant will also be invited to attend and present at the next PhD week.

Formal Application: Once the prospective supervisor is satisfied that s/he is ready to take on the supervision of the applicant, a formal application to the university can be made.

Last Modified: Fri, 17 Jul 2020 09:01:14 SAST

PhD Programme Fees

The fee due for PhD candidates at registration for 2020 are R24 208.

PhD candidates who attend PhD weeks are required to pay a fee that is TBC.

Last Modified: Fri, 17 Jul 2020 09:02:27 SAST