Business School-01

The UFS Business School is firmly established as a leader in the provision of management and leadership programmes in the country, fully accredited by the Council for Higher Education (CHE), a member of the South African Association for Business Schools (SABSA), Central and East European Management Development Association (CEEMAN), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The Business School has been awarded three Palmes by Eduniversal and belongs in the Third League of the 1000 Best Business Schools.

The programme is offered on NQF Level 10 and carries 360 credits.

With the PhD programme, the school completes its menu of academic options.

Applications for admission for the 2024 academic year will be open from January 2023 until 30 June 2023.

The PhD represents the equivalent of full-time research of at least two years. The content of a PhD is defined as original research work and should make a distinct contribution to the knowledge base of and insight into the particular discipline. A PhD thesis requires a high level of competence, methodological and conceptual skills, clarity in exposition and development of argument, sound judgment, interpretation and originality. A substantial part of the thesis should merit publication in peer-reviewed journals of repute and develops the following graduate attributes:


  • Broad, well-informed, and current knowledge of field or discipline;
  • Expert, specialised, and current in-depth knowledge of specific area of research;
  • Insight into the interconnectedness of one’s topic of research with other cognate fields;
  • Ethical awareness in research and professional conduct; and
  • An original contribution to the field of study.


  • Evaluation, selection and application of appropriate research approaches, methodologies, and processes in the pursuit of a research objective;
  • Reflection and autonomy;
  • Communication skills, including relevant information and digital literacy skills; and
  • Critical and analytical thinking for problem-solving.

Admission and Entrance Requirements

The minimum entry requirements for the PhD programme are as follows:

  • A first degree or equivalent with an average of 65% for all the modules (credits must be at least 360 and the qualification should be at NQF level 7);
  • An MBA or equivalent master’s degree with an average of 65% for all the modules;
  • At least 65% for Business Research Methods done on a master’s level; and
  • At least 65% for an expanded MBA or equivalent dissertation (minimum 60 credits) with a duration of at least one academic year.
International students

SAQA website

Application Process

Annual application dates:  January to June

Our selection process is designed to be transparent and select exceptional candidates who can significantly contribute to their intended field of study.  Therefore, we only accept PhD candidates if we have the supervisors available who have expertise in the proposed field of study. This ensures that the PhD candidates have the benefit of supervisors with the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills to guide them through the PhD journey.

To apply, complete the application form and submit it, along with the relevant documentation and proof of payment of the selection fee, to the PhD office.

Selection process

The process for admission to the PhD programme is initiated by the confirmation of the selection fee payment (non-refundable).  Once this payment is received, the selected process consists of the following three phases:

Phase 1: Evaluation of previous academic performance and compliance to minimum admittance requirements by considering the following documentation

  • Under-graduate academic records
  • Post-graduate academic records
  • SAQA accreditation (for international students)
  • Application form
  • Applicant Admission Checklist

If an applicant meets the minimum entry requirements, their proposed topic (indicated on the Admissions Checklist) is used to consider the availability of promotors. Should the Business School not have available promotors, the student may reconsider another topic.

Phase 2: Panel evaluation of abbreviated proposal

An applicant will be required to submit a shortened/abbreviated proposal for consideration by an evaluation panel of your proposed topic by the end of September each year

The guidelines for the proposal are:

  1. Length – maximum 2 000 words (excluding reference list);
  2. The following aspects need to be addressed in the proposal:
    • 2.1 A real-world problem;
    • 2.2 An abbreviated review of the existing literature;
    • 2.3 A problem statement and rationale for the study;
    • 2.4 The primary objective of the study, possibly extended into secondary objectives;
    • 2.5 The proposed method to be employed; and
    • 2.6 A consideration of the viability of the study in terms of the literature available, the data needed, and the financial and other resources required to reach the stated objectives of the study.

Submission of the proposal will not necessarily guarantee admission into the programme.
Admission into the programme is subject to final approval from the Director of the Business School as well as the availability of promotors.

Phase 3: Availability of promotors for the proposed research topic

The panel will also consider the availability of promotors during the evaluation of submitted proposals.  The panel decision will be communicated by the end of October of each year.  All candidates admitted into the programme will be required to attend a compulsory Research Proposal Writing Workshop in November and to register in January of the following year.

Important Notices, Fees and Cost Structures

Fees for the PhD programme is confirmed by the finance department of the university on an annual basis.  Consult the attached documents.

For information about PhD programmes, visit the Postgraduate School webpage:

Postgraduate School

For information about tuition fees and your student account, contact the finance department:

Finance Department

Important dates

Selection process

11/12 July 2023

Phase 1 - Academic performance and topic consideration

14 July 2023

Phase 1 - Provisional acceptance letters issued

18 August 2023

Phase 2 - Submission of abbreviation proposals

1 September 2023

Phase 2 - Selection committee evaluation of proposals

6 September 2023

Phase 3 - Letters of acceptance issued

Compulsory writing workshop - November 2022

Internal proposal presentation and title registration dates

Refer to the PhD Rules and Procedures manual for further information about this process. 

PhD Business School Internal presentations – 2023

Faculty Title Registration dates - 2022

Due date for students to submit documentation to the PhD office

Presentation dates
(specific dates will be confirmed)

Submission of documentation to the EMS Research Committee

Research Committee & presentations
(starts at 08:30)



04 February 2023

22 - 23 February 2023

30 March 2023

12 - 13 April 2023

15 April 2023

10 - 11 May 2023

25 May 2023

7 - 8 June 2023

29 July 2023

16 - 17 August 2023

13 July 2023

19 - 20 July 2023

15 September 2023

27 - 28 September 2023

30 September 2023

18 - 19 October 2023

Dr Edson Badarai

A journey that initially seemed insurmountable, a journey which my promotor, Prof Tina Kotze, and co-promotor Prof Petrus Nel hand-held me, a journey that Prof Helena van Zyl, the GBS Director believed in and supported, and a journey that is remembered for the final triump!!"
This is how I would describe my PhD journey. I am now more sharpened and a respected expert in transformational leadership and organisational performance. My employer, the government, hugely benefits from this knowledge that I gained, so is the citizenry whom we serve. 

I urge all those thinking of pursuing a PhD in Business Administration to think about UFS first. You will thrilled and will thank me later.

- Dr Edson Badarai


For more information contact:

Elvira Oberholzer
T: +27 51 401 3163

Dr Cornelie Crous CA(SA)
T: +27 51 401 9017


+27 51 401 3497

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