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Postgraduate funding

University and external funding opportunities

Please note that the Postgraduate Travel Grant and Wits Bursaries funding have been discontinued.

Postgraduate Merit Award

The aim of the University Postgraduate Merit Award (PMA) is to assist graduates to complete Honours, Masters or PhD degrees by research or by a combination of course work and research on both a full-time and part-time basis. No application is necessary for the Postgraduate Merit Award. Please note, the Award does not fund all courses. 

PLEASE NOTE REVISED 2020 RULES (VCO) for the PG Merit Award

  • HONOURS: 70% Average in 3rd year of an Undergraduate Degree
  • MASTERS: 75% Average in Honours, 4th Year of a professional degree or PG Diploma
  • PhD: Masters submission must be done within 2 years full time and 3 years part time
  • Provisional offers will be sent to eligible students.
  • Students that do not meet this criteria will not receive any communication.
  • Please refer to the terms and conditions for more details.

PMA terms and conditions

  • Full time students that have been awarded the PMA need to fulfil duties with their schools each block.
  • Please speak to your school administrator once registered. Your duties will be assigned to you and schools will submit a list of all the students who have completed their duties each block.
  • Schools need to submit lists by the following dates:
    • 1st block – 15th March
    • 2nd block – 18th June
    • 3rd block – 10th September
    • 4th block – 12th November
NRF Postgraduate Scholarships 2021

The DSI and NRF are pleased to announce a call of new applications for NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the 2021 Academic year. 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%.

Applicants for honours, masters and doctoral funding must be 28, 30 and 32 years of age or younger respectively in the year of application. Successful applicants will be funded either at Full Cost 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 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, masters and doctoral candidates to pursue studies in all areas of Science, Engineering, Technology, Social Sciences, and Humanities.

The NRF has phased out the block grant nomination process as well as the grant-holder linked modalities of funding postgraduate students in 2020. As from 2021 funding year, all the postgraduate students will be expected to apply on the NRF Online Submission System by accessing this link: no manual applications will be accepted.

Universities will set their own internal cut-off dates for applications and the applicants must abide by those dates.

The WITS internal closing dates are as follows:

  • Masters Applications: 26 June 2020
  • Doctoral Applications: 26 June 2020
  • Masters and Doctoral Extension Support Applications: 26 June 2020
  • Doctoral Abroad (Nuffic) Applications Split - Site:  26 June 2020
  • Doctoral Abroad (Nuffic) Applications Single - Site:  1 June 2020
  • Honours Block Grant– students that have selected the means test: 15th August 2020
  • Honours Block Grants - academic merit and general scholarship: 31st October 2020


Please refer to the attached presentation when completing the online application form.

Contact Details:

Mandela Rhodes Scholarship

The Mandela Rhodes Scholarship is available for full-time students who are citizens of African countries.

Registered Wits students studying towards an Honours or Masters Degrees under the age of 30 years old may apply online at

NRF Opportunities

The NRF offers Scholarships for Honours, Masters and PHD. The Free-standing, Innovation, and Scarce Skills NRF scholarships are offered to full - time students who are South African citizens and permanent residents. A small percentage is awarded to non-SA citizens. 

To view NRF opportunities please click here.