Call for Applications:
DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the 2023 Academic Year

The DSI and NRF are pleased to announce a call for new applications for DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the academic year 2023. All continuing students who are eligible for a second or third year of funding must submit a Progress Report and not a new application.

The NRF minimum academic requirement for postgraduate funding is 65%. The entry age requirement is 28, 30 and 32 years or younger for honours, master’s and doctoral studies respectively, in the year of application, regardless of first year of registration. Successful applicants will be funded either at Full Cost of Study (FCS) or Partial Cost of Study (PCS). The FCS funding will be awarded to South African citizens and Permanent Residents only, who are either financially needy (i.e., those whose combined household family income is less than or equal to R350 000 per annum), living with a disability or exceptional academic achievers. However, the PCS funding will be awarded to 5% of international students including South African citizens and Permanent Residents who could not be funded under FCS, but meet other minimum requirements for the NRF scholarship funding criteria. Scholarships are intended to support honours, master’s and doctoral candidates to pursue studies in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology, Social Sciences, and Humanities.

All postgraduate students will be expected to apply on the NRF Connect system by accessing the link: No manual applications will be accepted. Please download the "NRF-Create Application User Guide" for more information on how to register and create a new application on the nrfconnect system. 

The cut-off dates for submission of applications to institutions are dependent on the internal cut-off dates of the individual institutions. Applicants are strongly advised to adhere to the institutional cut-off dates so as NOT to miss the opportunity for their applications being submitted to the NRF for review.

Please refer to the Application and Funding Guide and Framework documents when completing the online application form at every step of the process. Documents available for download follow:


Additional Notes:

(1) For Honours, Masters and Doctoral students: Applications without the required attachments as specified in the applicable Application funding guide will be rejected (see pg. 23, step 22 for Honours applications and pgs. 26-28, step 25 for Masters and Doctoral applications ). Please also note that all documents must be certified where required and uploaded as a single PDF file.

(2) All Masters and Doctoral applicants must please consult with their supervisor/prospective supervisor before submitting an application and ensure the supervisor proof reads the application before submission. Masters applicants who does not have a supervisor as yet must please consult a senior academic in the discipline to assist with the details of research section, ensuring scientific rigor of the proposed research project.

(3) For Masters and Doctoral applications only: Importance of supervisor/referee responses (see pgs. 25-27 of the “DSI-NRF Masters and Doctoral application and funding guide 2023”)

It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the following:

  • Identify a suitable supervisor;
  • Types of references required are listed below: Applicants must ensure that the contact/email details for the referee are correct.

Master’s applicants

  • Master’s supervisor (Reference role = Proposed master’s supervisor or Current master’s supervisor)
  • HoD if a supervisor has not been allocated (Reference role = Head of Department)

Doctoral applicants

  • Doctoral supervisor (Reference role = Proposed doctoral supervisor or Current doctoral supervisor)

NB: Applications with outstanding referee reports will be rejected. The referee reports must be reflected by the internal deadline date. After the application is submitted, applicants are requested to immediately inform their referees to expect an email link from the NRF system in order to complete the online referee report (automatically generated). Applicants are able to check whether a referee has responded by viewing their application status under the “Application support input” section of the online application.

(4) The Application Category section is a very important section.
• Scholarship applying for = each level has different types of scholarships linked to it. Please refer to the Framework Document for further details and associated eligibility criteria. Only one option can be selected.

Please note, Grantholder-linked students i.e. applicants who have been recruited to work under an NRF funded project (SARChI, CoE, Thuthuka, NASSP, General Research Grants [pgs. 16 and 17 of Masters and Doctoral funding guide]), MUST choose ‘Scholarship linked to NRF-funded research’ under the relevant academic level.

(5) Carefully read through the eligibility criteria in the Framework document (“DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Application and Funding Framework for 2023 Funding” - point 4) before starting an application.

(6) For Masters and Doctoral applicants: Should you require assistance or ‘tips’ on how to complete certain sections of the application form, please email , who will then forward you a ‘tips document’ which will hopefully aid you in submitting a good application for review.


Related Information

Internal Closing Dates:
Honours: ISFAP Applications (i.e. students requiriing a financial means test) - 29 July
Honours: Final submissions - 10 September
First-time Master's: 17 June
First-time Doctoral: 17 June
Master's and Doctoral Extension Support: 29 July

Applications online at:

DSI-NRF FAQs covers many topics including:

  • application process
  • financial means test
  • funding period
  • eligibility criteria
  • PG students living with disability
  • funding exclusions
  • review process
  • awarding criteria

Imtiaz Khan / Terry Adams (Masters/Doctoral)
Tozama Mnonopi (Honours)