PhD application procedure


The School currently offers:   

  1. The general PhD (by thesis OR including publication)
  2. The PhD including publication in the area of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Practice

The application procedure detailed below pertains to the general PhD by thesis OR including publication

For information on the application process to the PhD including publication in the area of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Practice, please contact Professor Gillian Eagle at: 

1. Applications to the general PhD by thesis OR including publication.

In line with the University’s enrolment conventions, the application process begins with a formal submission to the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). The School is represented at SEnC by a postgraduate team who will facilitate the submission. The School requires that the following documents be included in the submission:

  1. Fill in the online application form by going to If you are not able to access the online application system you can download the application form here.
  2. A full academic transcript of all previous university courses taken including percentage scores where possible (students who are or have been registered at Wits need not submit a transcript).
  3. A SAQA equivalence certificate in the case of an applicant who did not complete a Master’s degree at a South African University.
  4. A copy of the Master’s research report or dissertation
  5. A concept paper relating to the proposed research. A template for the development of such a concept paper is available at
All queries related to the submission should be directed to SEnC postgraduate team at After taking receipt of the documents, the application is forwarded on to the Faculty and then the School for screening.

2. Screening process

Upon receipt of the application, the documents will be sent for independent review by two members of staff in the School. The reviews should be complete within 2 weeks of receipt of the application from SEnC.

The reviews will then be scrutinised by the School’s PhD Committee and the supervisor suggested in the application. The application is then accepted or rejected. If the committee isundecided, a follow-up telephonic interview with the candidate will be requested. The outcome will then be communicated to Faculty. The Faculty officer will then inform the student of the outcome.

In the case of acceptance for candidature, the applicant will be invited to register with the Faculty of Humanities for the PhD at its next postgraduate intake slot. The candidate will also be informed she/he is expected to present a proposal of acceptable quality to the School Committee within 6 months of registration with the Faculty. The Committee does however reserve the right to terminate her/his candidature at any point during this 6 month period at its discretion.

The Committee is able to take the following decisions at the 6 month proposal presentation:

  1. Accept the proposal for submission to the Faculty
  2. Accept the proposal for submission to the Faculty subject to revisions undertaken to the satisfaction of the supervisor.
  3. Call for re-presentation
  4. Reject the proposal and terminate her/his candidature.

Should the Committee take decision 3, the candidate will be expected to re-present the proposal in 1 month at which time the Committee is able to take the following decisions:

  1. Accept the proposal for submission to Faculty
  2. Accept the proposal for the submission to Faculty subject to revisions undertaken to the satisfaction of the supervisor
  3. Reject the proposal and terminate his/her candidature

Following approval by the SHCD the candidate’s PhD process will be governed by the generic Faculty structures outlined at

 The Faculty also provides a comprehensive graduate handbook available at:  

The document includes information on the graduate infrastructure and support offered by the University and importantly provides guidelines for preparing the final proposal for submission to the School and Faculty after the 6 month formal preparation period.

3. Funding

Many students will find it difficult to self-fund their PhD studies. This means that a large proportion of our students do their PhD part-time. Unfortunately doing your PhD part-time means that you are not eligible for many of the funding opportunities. Visit for information on University opportunities for funding. In addition, some research projects may come with funding linked to the supervisor. It is recommended that you speak to potential supervisors about this possibility (please note that this funding is usually attached to specific research projects).

4. Research support in doing your PhD

The School holds various workshops for PhD students during the course of the year. The School also holds writing retreats where we set aside dedicated time to work with our PhD students to help them progress with their PhD. The Faculty also stages workshops throughout the year. Click on the following link to access their latest programme.

Should you have any queries regarding the PhD process, please contact the Chair of the School’s PhD Committee, Prof. Andrew Thatcher at

We look forward to receiving your application.