Master’s and Doctoral scholarships in SA, 2019


The National Research Foundation (NRF) has opened the call for applications for master’s and doctoral scholarships for full-time studies in 2019 . The Scholarships are funded by the NRF core grant allocation from National Treasury, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) the International Institution for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) for Human Capital Development (HCD).


Programmes: Master and Doctoral Degree Programmes

Application Deadline: June 11, 2018

Eligible Countries: SA citizens, SA permanent residents as well as a limited percentage of foreign nationals who will register at a South African public university in 2019 on a full-time basis.

Provider:  The university of South Africa


The scholarships are intended to support master’s and doctoral candidates to pursue research studies in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities, Including Priority Research Areas* at public universities. The list below presents the breakdown of the broad disciplines supported by the NRF:

Broad disciplines supported for master’s and doctoral scholarships:

  • Accounting
  • Actuarial Science
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Astronomy
  • Auditing
  • Bioinformatics*
  • Biotechnology
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Climate Change*
  • Computer Science
  • Demography Drug Discovery and Development*
  • Earth Sciences
  • Earth Observation*
  • Ecology
  • Economic Sciences
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Financial Management
  • Functional Genomics*
  • Geology (Global Change, Society and Sustainability*)
  • Health Sciences
  • Information Science
  • Information Systems
  • Indigenous Knowledge Systems*
  • Law
  • Mathematical Science
  • Marine Sciences*
  • Medicinal Plant*
  • Medical Sciences
  • Nanotechnology*
  • Nuclear Technologies in Medicine and Biosciences*
  • Palaeosciences*
  • Polar Science*
  • Physics
  • Renewable Energy*
  • Social Science and Humanities
  • Space Science*
  • Statistics
  • Transportation Studies
  • Tourism


NRF-TWAS Doctoral

Extension Support

Master’s and Doctoral

Must register at a South African public university in 2019 on a full-time basis.

May be based at Science Councils and National Research Facilities.

Full-time master’s or doctoral studies in South Africa are eligible to apply.

SA citizens, SA permanent residents as well as a limited percentage of foreign nationals who will register at a South African public university in 2019 on a full-time basis.

Citizens and permanent residents from developing countries in and outside Africa. South Africans are not eligible to apply.

Applicants applying for extension support at master’s level should have commenced their degree in 2017.

NRF master’s scholarship-holders who wish to register for Doctoral degrees in 2019 must apply for funding.

Visa and immigration laws of the applicant’s home country and South Africa must be met by the applicant. The applicant must secure his / her own Visa or study permit under the programme for study in South Africa.

Neither NRF nor TWAS will be responsible for assisting with visa requirements.

Must be current recipients of NRF scholarships for the current degree in 2018. Extensions will only be provided under exceptional circumstances and will only be granted for six (6) or twelve (12) months as the NRF expects all students to complete their qualifications within regulation time.

SASAC doctoral scholarships, details of the proposed research must demonstrate clear alignment with IIASA’s research programmes and national research priority areas (Advanced Systems Analysis; Ecosystems Services and Management; Energy; Evolution and Ecology; Air Quality and Greenhouse Gases; Risk and Resilience; Transitions to New Technologies; World Population and Water.)

Must be thirty five (35) years or younger on the 31st of December of the year of application for the doctoral scholarship.

Applicants applying for extension support at doctoral level should have commenced their degrees in 2016.

May not be living, studying or working in South Africa at the time of application.

Value of the award:

  • Merit Review-value Scholarship
    • Master’s – R90 000 for 2 years
    • Doctoral – R120 000 for 3 years
  • Institutional Nomination Scholarship:
    • Master’s – R50 000 for 2 years
    • Doctoral  – R70 000 for 3 years 

Application process :

All applications are submitted on the NRF Online system at

Late and incomplete applications will be rejected.



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