The DSI and NRF call for new applications for DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the academic year 2025 is now open. Applicants must adhere to the institutional cut-off dates so as NOT to miss the opportunity for their applications being submitted to the NRF for review.

All continuing students who are eligible for a second or third year of funding must submit a Progress Report and not a new application.  

 

All postgraduate students are expected to apply on the NRF Connect system by accessing the link: https://nrfconnect.nrf.ac.za/. Kindly note: No manual applications will be accepted. 

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.

Please refer to the Application and Funding Guide and Framework documents below when completing the online application form at every step of the process.

 

Additional Notes:

(1) Before commencing the application, applicants MUST complete the “My Profile” and CV sections on the NRF Connect system.


(2) Carefully read through the eligibility criteria in the Framework document before starting an application. (“DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Application and Funding Framework for 2025 Funding” - point 4) before starting an application.


(3) IMPORTANT: Please follow the step by step instructions in the Application and Funding guides.


(4) 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 23 for Honours applications and pgs. 26-27, 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.

(a) The official academic record must be obtained from the Department of Student Records (studentrecords@mandela.ac.za). In the case of applicants who have outstanding fees owed to the university, an official stamped student account statement obtainable from the Department of student accounts must be uploaded in place of the academic record. Please note: The academic record or student account statement downloaded from the student portal is not accepted by the NRF.

(b) A recently (not older than 6 months) certified copy of ID must be uploaded under the Personal Profile section.

(c) A Medical certificate in the case of students with a disability must be uploaded under the attachment section.

(d) Applicants who were previously or currently funded by NSFAS, must upload proof of funding in a form of (see step 17 of the application and funding guide):

  • an official university stamped financial statement clearly showing that the funds are coming from NSFAS or,
  • a letter form NSFAS or the Financial Aid Office (North Campus) stating that the applicant received NSFAS funding for their previous degree. *Please do not upload unsigned NSFAS bursary agreements (i.e. the NBA agreement form).


(5) 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.


(6) For Masters and Doctoral General Scholarship applicants: It is mandatory for your supervisor/prospective supervisor to complete the attached ‘NRF Supervisor Report General Scholarships’ word document. (see also pg. 26 of the “DSI-NRF Masters and Doctoral application and funding guide for 2025”). The completed form must be uploaded under the ‘attachment’ section of the online application form.

Only applicants that are applying for their first year of Masters studies and who have not identified or have not been assigned a supervisor at the time of application, can request for the Head of Department to complete the attached reporting template. The reporting template must be stamped and signed by the HoD and supervisor respectively.

*NOTE This requirement of attaching a supervisor report to the online application is NOT APPLICABLE to those applying under “Scholarship linked to NRF funded research” (which includes institutional and research grants as listed on page 16 of the Masters and Doctoral application and funding guide for 2025) and “Global Change”.

For Masters and Doctoral Extension Scholarship applicants: It is mandatory for your supervisor to complete the attached ‘NRF Supervisor Report Extension Scholarships’ word document. The completed form must be uploaded under the ‘attachment’ section of the online application form.

NB: Applications with outstanding or incomplete supervisor reports will be rejected.


(7) The Application Category section is a very important section.
General NRF Scholarship category: The scholarship is intended to support candidates at South African public universities, in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology, Social Sciences and Humanities, including Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

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 [pg 16-17 of the Masters and Doctoral Application funding guide]), MUST choose ‘Scholarship linked to NRF-funded research’ category under the relevant academic level.

Note: A change of scholarship type will not be allowed once the application has been submitted to the NRF.

 

Related Information

Internal Closing Dates for 2025 Funding:

  • 1 August 2024: ISFAP Applications for Honours (excluding PG Diplomas, advance diplomas and 4-year degrees) (ISFAP applications are for students requiring financial means test). Kindly note that Honours General Scholarships will open on the 1st July 2024.
  • 8 November 2024: Honours (excluding PG Diplomas, advance diplomas and 4-year degrees)
  • 03 July 2024 : First-time Master's (excluding MBA's)
  • 03 July 2024: First-time Doctoral (excluding DBA's)
  • 12 August 2024: Master's and Doctoral Extension Support


Applications online at:


FAQs:
The DSI-NRF FAQs cover many topics including:

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


Enquiries: