Structure of the Programme

Our PhD scholars do not need to travel their doctoral journey on their own. We have a range of support mechanisms to ensure that they are part of a collaborative community.

To begin with, we have significant supervision expertise. Scholars choose or are allocated a supervisor (or more than one) with whom they work on an ongoing basis. 


A number of research weeks are run per year. Students come to Rhodes University for these 'Doc Weeks' (usually three per year) and participate in a range of activities designed to support their own research process. The structure and content of the research weeks is negotiated by the candidates and can include guest seminars on particular topics of interest, discussions around key texts, skills workshops, meetings with supervisors and presentations in which candidates report on progress and benefit from feedback from other students and supervisors.


The Faculty of Education has run a series of PhD weeks for a number of years with great success. The Higher Education specific research weeks are held at the same time as the more general Faculty ones and some sessions are offered together. In this way candidates are kept aware of issues in the broad field of education and benefit from membership in the bigger Faculty community of PhD scholars. Many of the sessions are however specific to the field of higher education.

All candidates are also expected to complete the one week research methodology course offered by the Faculty of Education in their first year of study. This intensive course exposes students to the expectations of this level of study and to the range of methodological choices available for such study. The course is focused on supporting proposal development. The course is run a number of times a year and students can select which dates will suit them.


Between seminars, students maintain contact with their supervisors through email, telephone contact or face to face contact. They also participate in the online community on RUConnected set up specifically for them. This virtual space allows for discussions and sharing of resources.


PhD rules and regulations, including completion timelines are set out in the Rhodes University Higher Degrees Guide. Scholars are expected to produce a research proposal within the first 18 months of candidature. The maximum candidature for a PhD is five years.


Last Modified: Thu, 10 Jun 2021 14:56:28 SAST