Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Application Further Information

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education  can take either a traditional form or it can be presented in the form of peer-reviewed articles and papers in partial fulfilment of the degree

Areas of research supervision in which the Faculty can offer support include the following:

  • Higher Education Studies (including Academic Development)
  • Psychology in Education
  • Environmental Education / Education for Sustainable Development
  • Global Change and Transformative Social Learning
  • Education Leadership and Management
  • Educational Evaluation Theory and Practice
  • Information Communication Technology in Education
  • General Education Theory
  • Geography Education
  • Language Teaching
  • Mathematics and Numeracy Education
  • Science Education

Prospective applicants need to be in possession of a suitable Master’s degree (or equivalent).

Take note: PhD application for the academic year 2023 has been closed. We are pleased to announce that the PhD application for the academic year 2024 is now open. The deadline for submission of applications is November 15th, 2023. We encourage all interested and eligible candidates to submit their applications before the deadline.

Application may be made at any time of the year, though applications received after 1 May will be considered for registration in following year. We strongly advise that before a formal application is made, prospective candidates first identify and have an initial conversation with a prospective supervisor whose research interests align with their intended topic of study, or with the doctoral programme coordinator. (The coordinator in CHERTL for Higher Education Studies topics is Kirstin Wilmot,, the coordinator in the Education Department for all other education topics is Clement Simuja,

Formal applications need to be submitted via the Registrar’s office at Rhodes University,, and must be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. A completed application form
  2. Full transcripts of previous degrees (unless they are Rhodes University degrees).
  3. An abbreviated CV, highlighting the areas which are of relevance to the proposed study including publications and conferences attended.
  4. A proposal concept or essay of 5-8 pages in which you provide a motivation for your proposed research drawing on relevant academic literature. This concept paper should articulate your proposed research questions, and situate these in a proposed field of study relevant to education, and should be professionally referenced. This need not contain information on the methodology of the proposed study.

After receiving your application from the Registrar’s division, the Faculty will decide whether it has the capacity to provide you with appropriate supervision. If the decision is favourable you may be called to a personal interview with your potential supervisor(s). (Such interviews can be conducted online.) The interview will focus on your research interest (as described in your draft proposal). Should you have been in discussion with a prospective supervisor before the application is submitted, please indicate the name of the supervisor on your application as this will facilitate internal processing of the application.

Based on the process above, you will be informed if you are accepted for PhD studies.

If you are accepted as a doctoral student your next task will be to develop your research proposal (which can take up to a year of intense work), after which you are required to present a seminar to the Faculty on your proposed research. You will be mentored by your supervisor in preparing the proposal. The purpose of the seminar is to obtain critical feedback in preparation for your final proposal and your research programme. Your final proposal needs to be approved by the Education Faculty Higher Degrees Committee before you may proceed with your research.  Ethical clearance from the Rhodes University Ethics Committee is also required before you may commence with the research.

Doctoral students are expected to attend the Faculty of Education Research Methodology course in the first year of study. This course is offered twice a year and lasts for 6 days. The course focuses on research design and will provide support for the process of preparing a research proposal.

 The Faculty of Education also offer three one-week doctoral study weeks (PhD weeks) each year, and doctoral students are encouraged to attend these, as they provide an advanced professional learning environment and provide access to a community of scholars. The doctoral study weeks cover the following areas of study, which are offered via an interactive, co-engaged approach:

  • Social Theory, Philosophy, Epistemology and Methodology
  • Advanced Educational Theory and Practice
  • Quality, Ethics, Evidence and Analysis
  • Specialist Study in the field of Educational Research (e.g. Higher Education Studies, Environmental Education, Mathematics Education).
  • Academic Literacies and Professionalism

 Further information on post-graduate studies at Rhodes University can be found on the postgraduate gateway:  The gateway provides information on programmes offered by the Centre for Post Graduate Studies, the University Supervision Policy and the Higher Degrees Guide.


For enquiries on the general academic dimensions of PhD scholarship in the Education Department, contact Dr Clement Simuja on and for enquiries on the general academic dimensions of PhD scholarship in the area of Higher Education Studies contact Dr Kirstin Wilmot on


For enquires related to registration, application procedures and fees, contact The Registrar on


More information relating to Postgraduate studies at Rhodes University can be found at Essential Reading (


Online applications can be made via the online portal at ROSS.

For further information contact:

The Registrar
Rhodes University
Grahamstown, 6140
Tel: (046) 603-8276
Fax: (046) 603-7350


Last Modified: Mon, 05 Jun 2023 16:09:13 SAST