Economics (AERC)

Conduct your own research in the field of Economics supported by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC)


Applications are invited from qualified and motivated candidates for a PhD programme in the field of Economics. This programme, supported by the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), combines the traditional PhD structure in the School of Economic and Finance (SEF) and a partnership with other universities in Africa. It offers a rigorous and competitive training leading to the award of a doctoral degree in economics at the University of Witwatersrand.

During the programme, candidates will have the opportunity to learn in conjunction with students from other degree-awarding universities in Africa, both at our campus and at a Joint Facility for Electives in Nairobi, Kenya. The programme extends over four years, involving training in core subjects, electives, a thesis proposal, fieldwork, thesis preparation and defence. Students will spend some time at the University of Cape Town and in Nairobi, Kenya for coursework and then at WITS for their thesis component. 

A limited number of full scholarships will be offered competitively to applicants from the sub-Saharan Africa region. Applicants from within the SADC region are therefore encouraged to apply.

The programme begins in January each year and the closing date for the 2023 Intake applications is 31 July 2022. Please note that this programme is offered on a full-time basis only, and accepted candidates must start the programme in January 2023.

For more info, click here. Alternatively, contact the Academic Administrator

Entry Requirements


  • A Master's degree in Economics or an equivalent. 

Please note that for this particular programme (the AERC PhD programme) you do not have to upload your documents onto the Wits online application system. You must email Ms. Kamo Nhlapo for the application form and send the following supporting documents to Please send any queries to her.

  1. Copies of your degree certificates
  2.  Copies of ALL academic transcripts
  3. SAQA evaluation (This is an evaluation carried out by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) on all International qualifications – application details available at ). If you don’t have SAQA now, please ensure you start the application process immediately.
  4. Proof of English proficiency (if qualification completed at an Institution where the medium of instruction was not English)
  5. Curriculum Vitae
  6. Letter of motivation
  7. A brief (5-10 page) proposal outlining your research interest

University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.