PhD in Business Management and Admin | PhD Degree Skip to main content

Become an expert – enrol for our PhD

Do you have an appreciation for the art of business science? Do you enjoy the challenge that knowledge creation offers? Do you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field?

Stellenbosch Business School’s internationally accredited PhD can help you achieve this. Becoming an expert within a particular field means knowing, understanding and building on the debates and discussions around the existing knowledge within that field. In becoming an expert, one learns how to use the principles of business science to address complex business problems.

Our areas of expertise for PhD-related research include Business Management, Development Finance, Futures Studies, and Coaching.

  • Use business science to address pressing real-world business problems: Our PhD students read and absorb a significant number of academic peer-reviewed journal articles and understand how their research will add to ongoing academic discourse on a subject matter as well as how it will apply to African organisations. By doing research on doctoral level, students are enabled to help solve real-world business problems.
  • International collaboration: As Stellenbosch Business School has many international partners, our PhD students become part of an international community where they are exposed to academics from various universities. Our students also attending class and colloquiums alongside PhD students from other countries.
  • Complete your PhD within 4 years: This PhD is awarded solely on the successful completion of a research-based dissertation. Year 1 consists of 2 blocks of on-campus sessions (2 weeks each) to help you prepare and finalise your research proposal. Years 2 to 4 consist of 1 on-campus block (1 week each year) plus supervised research. It is therefore possible to obtain your PhD while you work.

PhD

PhD


Applications: Open SA Application Closing:
SADC Application Closing:
Start Date:
Fees:
R123 772 (2024)
Duration:
4 years
Apply Now

Establish yourself as an expert

Do you enjoy the challenge that knowledge creation offers? Do you have an appreciation for the art of business science?

If so, applying for our PhD programme might be for you.

Course work followed by supervised research

Year 1: Follow a discipline-based core curriculum and submit a comprehensive proposal before proceeding with your thesis. 

Years 2 to 4: Attend 1 on-campus block a year and undertake supervised research, culminating in a doctoral thesis.

Timetables

Year 1 (2025)*:

10 – 22 February

2 – 14 June

Once you have completed Year 1, you will become a fully registered PhD student. This is followed by the research phase of the programme from Year 2 onwards.

*The Business School reserves the right to change programme dates and times.

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Undertake PhD research in these fields

Development Finance

Business Administration

Futures Studies

Coaching

 

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Confirm your credibility

Contribute to new knowledge and become an expert in your field

 

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Duration

4 years

 

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Application deadline

30 August each year

Course Structure and Content

This PhD has been designed to help students develop advanced-level research skills and to equip them with a sound understanding of the relevant principles and theories underpinning Development Finance, Business Administration, Coaching and/or Futures Studies.

The duration of the PhD programme is four years. First-year students are granted provisional registration for the PhD. Full registration for the PhD is only allowed after the successful completion of the course work and approval of the research proposal.

As the doctoral dissertation is the only document that is examined with a view to award the doctoral degree, PhD candidates need assistance and guidance to complete such a dissertation. At Stellenbosch Business School, the PhD is structured by:

  • Assigning a supervisor(s) to the student: PhD supervisors are only assigned to students after students have been accepted onto the programme. Supervisors are assigned to students based on the proposed research topic of the research proposal submitted for application.
  • Mandatory attendance of on-campus classes during the first year of registration: To guide PhD students to successfully defend their PhD proposals, course work is offered during Year 1 of the PhD programme. The course work is non-credit bearing, and on-campus attendance is mandatory. Specific dates for on-campus classes vary each year, but the first two-week block is usually scheduled for mid-February while the second two-week block is scheduled for mid-June of every year.
  • Successful PhD proposal defence to the PhD Admissions Committee: PhD students are required to defend their research proposals to a PhD Admissions Committee within the first year of registration. The PhD Admissions Committee consists of members of the PhD Committee, faculty, as well as an internal and external examiner. The PhD Admissions Committee evaluates the comprehensive research proposal and determines whether the proposed study will meet the requirements of a PhD degree. Specifically, the PhD Admissions Committee evaluates and considers the following issues: (1) Would the proposal lead to a successful PhD study? (2) Is the study expected to make a sufficient original subject contribution? (3) Is the candidate capable of completing the study successfully? (4) Who could possibly act as supervisor and is it perhaps necessary to appoint one or more co-supervisors?
  • Mandatory on-campus attendance of PhD colloquiums during the second and subsequent years of the PhD: Students successfully admitted to the PhD programme must attend at least one on-campus Doctoral Colloquium in each year of their studies. Colloquia consist of masterclasses and workshops, and student presentations where each student presents and defends their research progress. Colloquia take place twice a year on campus, and students are required to attend at least one a year. Exact dates are communicated in the beginning of each academic year, but the one-week on-campus PhD Colloquia are usually scheduled for July and November.
  • Submission of dissertation for examination and defence: A PhD dissertation is typically examined by two external examiners, and one internal examiner. Once the examiner reports have been received by the Faculty Office, and the examiners are satisfied that the PhD shows a theoretical contribution, the student may proceed to defend the PhD to the Examination Panel during a public defence. Only once the student has successfully presented and defended the PhD before the Examination Panel will the PhD be awarded to the student.

If you would like to make a contribution to the body of knowledge in the field of business management and our understanding of this field, this internationally accredited PhD will prove your proficiency, show your commitment to life-long learning, and confirm your credibility.

This PhD is aimed at leaders, managers, strategists and consultants focused on solving real-world issues through evidenced-based problem solving, critical thinking and in-depth research in business management.

This will prepare you to work in industries focused on research and innovation, consultancies, and academic institutions.

You will develop personal and transferable skills that can be used in a range of applied situations, enabling you to become an expert in your field of study.

Programme Fees

Application fee for 2024

Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all students):
R850

Tuition fees for 2024

South African
2024
2025
Total
Provisional Quote
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission (Included in tuition fees)
R12 000.00
R12 000.00
Generate Quote
PhD Business Management and Administration
R61 886.00
R61 886.00
R123 772.00
Southern African Development Community
2024
2025
Total
Provisional Quote
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission (Included in tuition fees)
R31 826.00
R31 826.00
Generate Quote
PhD Business Management and Administration
R63 651.00
R63 651.00
R127 302.00
Non-Southern African Development Community
2024
2025
Total
Provisional Quote
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission (Included in tuition fees)
R31 826.00
R31 826.00
Generate Quote
PhD Business Management and Administration
R63 651.00
R63 651.00
R127 302.00
Rest of the world
2024
2025
Total
Provisional Quote
Deposit payable on acceptance of admission (Included in tuition fees)
R31 826.00
R31 826.00
Generate Quote
PhD Business Management and Administration
R63 651.00
R63 651.00
R127 302.00
Stellenbosch Business School reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

Important:

 

The programme fees for 2025 are published on the Business School’s website at www.stellenboschbusiness.ac.za/phdbma once this information becomes available. Also note the following:

  • Payment of full programme fees for South African students: Students can pay the full programme fees upon registration, or they can pay 80% of the annual fees by the end of May and the balance of 20% by the end of September. Payment schedule (based on outstanding fees after deposit payment):
    28 February to 31 May: 20% x 4 months (80%)
    30 June to 20 September: 5% x 4 months (20%)
  • Payment of full programme fees for international students: International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The remainder is due upon registration. The South African exchange rate favours international students.
  • Deposit: All students pay a deposit on acceptance of admission. South African students must pay a set deposit on admittance. International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The deposit payable is non-refundable and will be deducted from the total programme fees.
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Assessment of international students’ applications: International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. The Business School’s International Affairs Office will first handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. For this to happen, you need to complete the online application, upload all certificates with your application, and pay your application fee. The International Affairs Office will then, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application. However, should the International Affairs Office be unsure about the status, recognition or accreditation of your qualification, we reserve the right to refer you to SAQA before we consider your application further.
  • Fees for second and subsequent years of enrolment: These fees will be adjusted to make provision for annual price increases.
  • Payments: Please use your student number as reference when making payments. Send proof of payment to [email protected]. Quote your student number in all correspondence.
  • Travel and accommodation: Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and costs.
  • Fee changes: The Business School reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

 

 

Please use your Student Number as reference | Email proof of payment to [email protected] | Quote your student number in all correspondence.

Financing

Capitec’s credit for education solution

Capitec offers credit for education at a discounted rate, which allows prospective students, or their parents or guardians, to apply for a loan of up to R500 000 and pay it back over 84 months.

Applicants must be permanently employed and have a valid SA ID. A provisional quote or admission letter from Stellenbosch Business School is needed to process the credit application. Apply for credit at Capitec’s credit solution through the Business School

Initiation, service fees and T&Cs apply. Capitec Bank is an authorised financial services provider (FSP 46669) and registered credit provider (NCRCP13).

Admission Requirements

Minimum requirements

  • An overall average of minimum 65% for your Master's degree
  • A grade of at least 70% for your Master's dissertation or research component
  • Proficiency in English

Preliminary Research Proposal

  • Write a pre-proposal on your research topic to help us determine whether your topic is viable and whether we can provide the supervision and resources you need
  • 10 pages maximum (excluding references)
  • Submit this with your application

The 2025 Application Assignment

  • Write an essay addressing two specific questions (see below)
  • 800 words in total
  • Submit this with your application

Checking the minimum requirements

  • Minimum average of 65% for Master’s degree
  • 70% for the research component of the Master’s degree
  • Proficiency in English

Writing the proposal and completing the assignment

  • Write the research proposal (about 10 pages, excluding references)
  • Complete the PhD Application Assignment (see above)

Submitting the online application before the deadline (30 Aug)

  • Full academic records of undergraduate and postgraduate studies
  • The preliminary research proposal
  • The 2025 PhD Application Assignment
  • A copy of the Master’s thesis, dissertation or research assignment
  • Any published research articles or papers
  • CV with 2 academic references

Processing the applications

  • Submitted documents are verified
  • The PhD Committee considers applications, and contacts references
  • A shortlist of potential candidates is compiled and matched with supervisors
  • Shortlisted candidates are contacted for interviews
  • Shortlisted candidates are interviewed and the final selection of PhD candidates is made

Providing feedback

  • After 10 weeks, all successful and unsuccessful applicants are notified via email of the outcome of their applications

Successful candidates register for the PhD

  • All students should be registered before classes commence in February 2025

PhD students are welcomed on campus and attend 2 blocks of classes (2 weeks each) in Year 1

  • Mandatory blocks of on-campus classes in February and June 2025
  • Each block of classes runs for 2 weeks

 

Our PhD programme is highly competitive, and only a few places are awarded each year. To be eligible to apply for a PhD at our Business School, the minimum requirements are:

  • An overall average of minimum 65% for your Master's degree
  • A grade of at least 70% for your Master's dissertation or research component
  • Proficiency in English

Completing a PhD will require of you to follow a logical process. This process is systematic and planned, and requires you to consult academic peer-reviewed journal articles to justify and show why a research study should be undertaken. The research undertaken should be done in a robust way, where all decisions are justified based on evidence. Consequently, completing a PhD takes a considerable amount of dedication and time (on average, four years). Applicants should, therefore, consider the above highlighted issues carefully before applying.

When completing your PhD application (specifically the PhD Proposal and Assignment – see below), please keep in mind that all research is provisional and is open to question and debate. Make sure that your proposal and assignment adhere to the requirements of academic writing.

 

As part of your application pack, you need to submit your preliminary research proposal of maximum 10 pages (excluding references).

This research pre-proposal will assist the PhD Admissions Committee to evaluate at an early stage whether your topic is viable and whether we can provide appropriate supervision and resources. It will also help us to determine whether you have thought through your interest in and commitment to the programme, and whether you are suitable for admission to our PhD programme.

Download template for this assignment here.

 

All applicants need to submit the 2025 PhD Application Assignment as part of their PhD application for 2025. For the 2025 PhD Application Assignment, applicants should write an essay that addresses these two questions:

  • Question 1: Why do you want to complete a PhD? (300 words)
  • Question 2: When is it acceptable for managers and/or policy makers to make decisions using anecdotal evidence only? (500 words)

Your essay should include an appropriate title, as well as your name and the references you used. Please submit your assignment in PDF format. Download template for this assignment here.

Plagiarism, outsourcing and/or the use of AI tools to complete this assignment will be penalised and could result in the PhD application to be discarded.

Before you start

  • About the online application process: The online application form consists of various sections. To progress from the one section to the next, all the information in the current section must be completed and accepted by the information management system. You will be able to complete the form in steps without losing information (i.e. you do not have to complete the application form in one sitting). The application process is the same for South African and international students. It is best to use Google Chrome as web browser when completing your application.
  • Assessment of international students’ applications: International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. The Business School’s International Affairs Office will first handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. For this to happen, you need to complete the online application and upload all certificates with your application. The International Affairs Office will then, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application. However, should the International Affairs Office be unsure about the status, recognition or accreditation of your qualification, we reserve the right to refer you to SAQA before we consider your application further.
  • Checking the status of your application: You can go back to your application and check the status of your application.
  • Vetting process: All degrees undergo a formal vetting process to eliminate fraudulent applications.

The application process

Click on the APPLY NOW button and complete the online PhD application form by completing each of the required sections. You also need to upload the following supporting documentation:

  • A full academic record of (all) undergraduate and postgraduate studies (average obtained in Master’s at least 65%)
  • A preliminary research proposal (no more than 10 pages, excluding references)
  • The 2025 PhD Application Assignment
  • A copy of the Master’s thesis, dissertation or research assignment (with at least 70% obtained for the Master’s thesis, dissertation or research assignment)
  • Any research articles or papers published in academic journals and/or academic conference proceedings
  • CV with two academic references
  • Consent form to verify your qualifications (please download, complete and upload the form in order for Managed Integrity Evaluation (Pty) Ltd to verify your qualification documents)
  • Certified copy of your ID (or passport for non-South African students)
  • A marriage certificate (where the applicant’s new surname does not match the surname on the degree certificates)

Payment of your application fee and selection test fee can be done online:

  • Bank details: Bank: Standard Bank; Type of account: cheque account; Account name: US Business School; Account number: 073003069; Branch name: Stellenbosch; Branch code: 050610; Beneficiary name: Stellenbosch University; SWIFT code: SBZAZAJJ.
  • Enquiries about payments: Please send an e-mail to [email protected].

Deadline for PhD applications: 30 August each year


Contact Us

Please contact us if you need more information on this programme or the application process:

Programme enquiries and support with the applications process
Customer Liaison Officer
Telephone: +27 (0) 21 918 4246
Email: [email protected]

Admission and registration enquiries
Marissa Groenewald
Telephone: +27 (0) 21 918 4114
Email:  maris@stellenboschbusiness.ac.za

Contact Us

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Frequently asked questions

In our process, we encourage prospective PhD students to provide some original and independent thinking in the pre-proposal. Prior contact with a potential supervisor may make it difficult to distinguish the applicant’s thinking from the supervisor’s guidance.

You can find information about funding on our website. Additionally, please feel free to explore the funding opportunities available via the Stellenbosch University Postgraduate Office (http://www.sun.ac.za/english/research-innovation/Research-Development/postgraduate-funding-support)

  • Contribution: What makes a PhD different to any other degree is that it must contribute to knowledge. At Stellenbosch Business School, we understand this contribution to be a theoretical one. (Read more about contribution here, and the definition of theory here). Try and avoid submitting a pre-proposal that reads more like a consulting report focusing on a specific context.
  • Academic writing: PhD students should be able to write in alignment with the standard academic conventions, which includes full referencing. Pre-proposals are submitted to a text-matching programme to check for potential text recycling.
  • Fit with Stellenbosch Business School’s interests: We strongly prefer projects in the private and non-profit sectors, as opposed to those in the public sector.

As mentioned, we encourage original thinking in the pre-proposal, and sharing such examples will make it difficult to distinguish your thinking from third-party ideas.

Unfortunately, our minimum requirements are fixed. Currently we do not offer any supplementary modules that will help you make up the minimum.

 

The allocation of appropriate supervisors is the responsibility of Stellenbosch Business School. While we do work with external supervisors regularly, the appointment of an external supervisor is motivated by the internal supervisor, and an existing relationship between supervisors have been found to be most beneficial to the success of the student’s project.

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