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Postgraduate Merit Awards

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 or Block release basis. Please note that a block release programme is viewed as part-time studies.

The Postgraduate Merit Award does not fund all courses. These courses are: all undergraduate degrees, undergraduate professional degrees, LLB, MBBCH, Bsc Eng, BEdu etc. are not funded by this award as well as all Postgraduate Diploma’s, Advanced Diploma’s and  Postgraduate Certificates.

Tuition fees to a maximum of R51 200 will be awarded to students who qualify. This award is based purely on academic merit.

Please note that the PMA does not pay for international registration fees, clubs and societies, parking ect.

All applications for Postgraduate Merit Award and Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship are done online through the Student Self-Service portal. All supporting documentation should also be uploaded online. Hard copies or emailed copies will NOT be accepted.

The below listed consists of the different funding:

Postgraduate Merit Award: Divided into two Intakes

First intake

  • For students registering in the January – April. 2. Applications close on the 31st of October of the year prior to the academic postgraduate year.

Second Intake

  • For students registering in the July – September. 2. Applications close on the 30th of April of the intended academic year of study.
Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship Consists of only one Intake
  • This is the January/April Intake.
  • Applications close the 30th of November the year before the intended registration period.

NB: A Second Intake application cannot be changed to first intake due to the financial implications, except in instances where a student has formally and successfully appealed.

Supporting Documentation Required

Postgraduate Merit Award Ful-Time, Part-Time & Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship

  • Certified copies of Academic Transcripts and Degree Certificates (applicable to applicants that did not study at The University of Witwatersrand)
  • Certified Key to Grades in percentages (applicable to applicants who completed studies at an international University. This should explain marks in percentage form).

Submission of missing information for all new Wits students is 15 December prior to the academic year applied for(first intake) and 15 June for second intake. Please note that certify means that it must be certified by a Commissioner of Oaths/ Notary. The certification date should be within 3 months of the application.

NB: Please note uploading documentation to the admission application is a separate task. All applicants are to upload supporting documentation to the funding application as well. ALL DOCUMENTS MUST BE CERTIFIED BY A COMMISSIONER OF OATHS.

Criteria
  1. A student applying for a PhD degree will receive a Postgraduate Merit Award if he/she submits their Masters degree within two years full-time or three years part-time.
  2. A student applying for a Masters degree by coursework will receive a Postgraduate Merit Award if he / she receives an average mark of 70% or above for their Honours degree or Postgraduate Diploma. For a student applying for a Masters by Dissertation, an average mark of 67% is required in the Honours degree or Postgraduate Diploma. Allocations will occur in January as students will be ranked and awards will be given to the highest marks until the funds run out.
  3. A student applying for an Honours degree will receive a Postgraduate Merit Award if their last year of their undergraduate degree (YOS 3) or 3 year National Diploma is a minimum average mark of 65% and above. Modules completed for Non-degree purposes will not be evaluated.

Please note: If a student has repeated a year of study, this will be taken into account

PMA obligation for Full-time students

Departmental Duties

  1. These duties are at the discretion of the School in which the student is studying and is compulsory for the Postgraduate Merit Award Full Time and Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship recipients.
  2. These duties should be academically related and not administrative.
  3. FAILURE TO PERFORM THESE DUTIES WILL LEAD TO THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE AWARD.
  4. The duties are accompanied by quarterly stipend claim forms signed by both the student and the Head of School and a specific stipend amount is paid per block to the student depending on the level of study.

The below listed are awarded as follows:

  • Honours R1 900
  • Masters R2 100
  • PHD R 2 700
  • Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship R 2700

NB: Please make sure that your bank details are on the system with Fees Office before submitting the first stipend. The last stipend will not be paid out if the student has outstanding fees after payment of the last stipend is made.

Renewals

Renewal of the Postgraduate Merit Award & the Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship for the normal tenure is NOT automatic. Students must submit a new application every year. Please note that the normal maximum tenure is as follows:

  • Postgraduate Merit Award - Full-Time PHD - 3 years Masters- 2 year Honours - 1 Year
  • Postgraduate Merit Award – Part- time PHD - 4 years Masters- 3 years Honours- 2 years
  • Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship Honours - 1 year Masters- 1 year PHD- 3 years
Acceptance Letters (applicable to Postgraduate Merit Award & Honours to PHD 5 Year Scholarship)

Students are required to sign an acceptance letter that will change the offer from Provisional to firm offer.

This can only be done after the registration period. The acceptance letters are emailed to the wits student email and not the personal email.

NB: The deadline stated on the acceptance letter must be adhered too. Failure to sign this acceptance letter will result in the withdrawal of the award and failure to submit the acceptance by the stipulated deadline will also result in the withdrawal of the award.

Appeals

Appeals are not guaranteed and can be limited by the availability of funds. Formal Appeal forms can be obtained from the Financial Aid & Scholarships office. Appeal forms should be accompanied by documentation to support the appeal reason.

Should the budget allow 1st Intake Appeals are looked at, at the end of April.

The 2nd Intake Appeals are looked at, at the end of August.

Please note that changing from Part-time to Full- time is not automatic by request due to the financial implications of the changes, but a formal appeal form has to be submitted and a decision by a committee will be taken.

NB: A student is not limited to applying for either Full-time or Part-time; hence if the student is uncertain of the form of study, we advise the student to apply for both Part-time and Full-time.

Students will also not be able to change the level of study (Honours, Masters & PhD), if the student is unsure the student would need to apply for more than one level of study.

Students that are considering an upgrade or conversion will need to apply for both levels of study (Masters and PhD). Your application will only be considered if your Masters programme is discontinued on the system and you meet the minimum academic requirements for PhD Merit Award.

Application Status

Received

  • Implies that you have successfully made an application and the Financial Aid & Scholarships office has received the application.

All Documents Processed

  • Implies the application is complete.

Provisional Offers

The offer is provisional as there are obligations attached to the award, these include:

  • The student registers for the specific level of study, attendance type and intake that he/she has applied for.
  • The student performs the academic departmental duties of 6 hours per week, per block if the student receives the Postgraduate Merit Award for Full Time study.
  • Students that have received the Postgraduate Merit Award for Part-Time are not to perform academic duties related to this award.

Maximum Supplementation/ PG Merit Award Refused Insufficient Funds

  • Implies that the student has met the requirements of the award but due to the lack of funds the award cannot be given to the student.

Below Prescribed Academic

  • Implies that the student has failed to meet the minimum academic requirements for the Award and the application has been unsuccessful. 

Outstanding Information

  • This implies that there are documents pending on the application. This should be uploaded online and be recently certified with actual obtained marks; if not, a certified key to grades detailing the ranking system used should be attached as well. ( To note: all documents submitted are verified manually and not by the system) It may take some time to verify the documents. Emails are sent to notify the student as to whether the documents have been accepted or rejected with the reason.

Maximum Tenure

  • Implies that the student has reached the maximum limit/years that the Postgraduate Merit Award and Honours to PHD 5 Yr Scholarship funds for the specific degree

Not Eligible

Implies that your application has been unsuccessful due to one of the reasons below:

  • The programme you have been accepted/enrolled for is not supported by the mentioned award.
  • You have been accepted/ enrolled for a different programme to the application.
  • You have been accepted/ enrolled for Part Time studies
  • You have enrolled for the incorrect intake
  • The minimum requirements for the mentioned award have not been met.

Course not supported by Postgraduate Merit Award

  • Implies that the Postgraduate merit Award does not fund the course you are accepted/enrolled for. These courses are: The undergraduate professional degrees, LLB, MBBCH, Bsc Eng, BEdu ect. are not funded by this award as well as all Postgraduate Diploma’s, Advanced Diploma’s and Postgraduate Certificates.
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