Closing date for applications for 2024 funding closes 31 October 2023


South Africa's National Development Plan (NDP) outlines the need for strategic approaches to drive the country towards a competitive knowledge society and develop the required human capacity in key areas. Central to a highly productive, globally connected economy are high-level skills and extensive participation in research scholarship. The Nelson Mandela University Vision 2030 Strategy highlights the institution's aspiration to invest in the attraction, development and retention of socially diverse, research active postgraduate students to promote talent continuity, research productivity and academic excellence. Nelson Mandela University will be implementing a new postgraduate funding policy in 2023 which seeks to advance social justice, equality and inclusion by providing postgraduate funding as a lever to address the challenges of inequity of access, success and throughput, in an ongoing effort to represent excellence. Citizenship, gender and disability are considered in the allocation of funding, with transformation of the postgraduate cohort as the core objective. Financial need is included as a criterion for determining the level of funding.

In order to develop a future cohort of researchers and scholars, it is vital that postgraduate students complete their studies without delay and that they continue through to completion of their doctoral studies. To advance these priorities, financially needy students, students living with a disability, and outstanding academic achievers who gain admission into postgraduate programmes will be funded without interruption from the honours to the doctoral degree level, subject to satisfactory performance at each consecutive postgraduate level. To attract and retain a diverse range of students, funding levels cover the full cost of study for students who meet the required criteria. This approach is aligned with the national postgraduate funding landscape and will enhance synergy between undergraduate and postgraduate funding. This framework document outlines the context and operational procedures for the Postgraduate Research Scholarships (PGRS) and should be read in conjunction with the policy on masters and doctoral degrees (IRC 403.01).

Eligibility Criteria

PGRS funding is open to South African citizens, permanent residents and international candidates who intend to undertake full-time honours, masters and doctoral studies at Nelson Mandela University in the 2023 academic year. Additional eligibility criteria applicable to first-time applicants for honours, masters and doctoral funding and extension support applicants for masters and doctoral studies are listed in section 3 of the attached Call framework document.

Application Process

Students must first identify the honours, masters or doctoral programme they want to be enrolled in for their postgraduate degree and apply for admission before applying for PGRS funding. Applications for funding in 2024 must be submitted on the PGRS Online Submission System by accessing the link The closing date for 2023 scholarship applications is Tuesday, 31 October 2023. The supporting documents to be attached to the application are listed in the attached Call framework document.

Funding Principles

This scholarship programme aims to attract, nurture and retain outstanding academic achievers in the system to pursue postgraduate studies up to the doctoral level. PGRS funding will be allocated in line with the following transformation targets:

  • 90% South African citizens and permanent residents
  • 10% students from SADC countries and beyond
  • 55% women

The South African Citizens and permanent residents’ targets are further disaggregated in terms of race and disability as follows:

  • 75% Black (African, Coloured, and Indian)
  • 24% White
  • 1% students living with a disability

Scholarship Values

The scholarship categories and values for Full Cost of Study (FCS) and Partial Cost of Study (PCS) are presented in the table below.

Maximum Funding Period

The maximum period of support for each postgraduate level of study is indicated in the table below.

Contact Details

For technical enquiries related to the PGRS Online Submission System, please contact the ICT Helpdesk (Mondays to Fridays from 08h00 to16h30) on: Tel: +27 (0) 41 504 3000 or E-mail:

For any other programme related enquiries, refer to the relevant contact people below:


Masters and Extension Support

Doctoral and Extension Support

Closing Date for 2024 Funding:
31 October 2023

The PGRS FAQs section covers topics including:

  • documentation to be uploaded with the application
  • value of the award
  • expenses covered
  • eligibility
  • etc.



Masters and Extension Support

Doctoral and Extension Support

Technical Enquiries