NIHSS-SAHUDA 2020 Call for Applications - PhD/Doctoral Scholarships


The National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) invites applications from suitably qualified students to study full-time towards a doctoral degree in the humanities and social sciences at any of the participating South African public universities.

Programme Objective

The main objective of this programme is to promote scholarship in the humanities and social sciences in South Africa, specifically among designated groups and Historically Disadvantaged Institutions.


  • Only South African citizens from designated groups, with a preference to those from previously disadvantaged groups of the population.
  • Not older than 45 years of age at the time of the application.
  • Successful completion of Master’s degree; or entering the first year of PhD/doctoral study; or currently registered for PhD study in first year of enrolment.
  • Confirmation by the prospective department/supervisor of your intention to enrol for a PhD-level programme of study at a participating university


Applications are invited from ALL humanities and social science disciplines, particularly those engaged in interdisciplinary research.

Applications are also especially encouraged from (but are not limited to) the following disciplines: Visual and Performing Arts; African Languages; African Philosophy; History; Anthropology; Economics; Heritage Studies; Education; Social Work; Indigenous Knowledge Systems; African Music and Musicology; including BRICS related research.

Selection criteria

  • Academic merit
  • Coherence of the proposed research project
  • Feasibility of the project
  • Likely contribution of the project to the body of knowledge in the field

Value, period and conditions of the award

The value of the award is R140 000 in the first year. Annual renewals are subject to proof of satisfactory progress and availability of funding.

Application procedure

Candidates should submit the following documentation for application:

  1. Online application form which is accessible through the link: . Students are required to register on the NIHSS Grant Management System (GMS) before they can access the application Form. Application guidelines of the submission process will be available on the landing page on GMS.
  2. Letter of confirmation by the prospective department or supervisor that you will be admitted to the participating university for registration for PhD study.
  3. A motivation letter (not longer than one A4 page – 500 words).
  4. A recent intellectual autobiography: a narrative of the major influences in your intellectual life (not longer than one A4 page – 500 words).
  5. A research proposal outlining the problem statement, methodology, feasibility of your study and the contribution it will make to the body of knowledge in the particular field of study.
  6. Two letters of recommendation from academics who are familiar with your work, of which one must be the supervisor of your Master’s thesis.
  7. A certified copy of your full academic transcript/s.
  8. A certified copy of your ID.
  9. A certified copy of your Master’s degree certificate.
  10. Sample copies of your best writing, e.g. a chapter from your Master’s study or any published academic work.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Closing Date: 25 September 2020

QUERIES: [subject line: RE: 2020 SAHUDA CALL]

  • GENERAL PROGRAMME RELATED: Ms Thandiwe Sechele: 011 4802338
  • TECHNICAL/IT RELATED: Mr Kambale Muhongya: 011 4802328

The following South African public universities are participating in the programme:

Cape Peninsula University of Technology; Durban University of Technology; Nelson Mandela University; North West University; Rhodes University; Stellenbosch University; Tshwane University of Technology; University of Cape Town; University of Fort Hare; University of the Free State; University of Johannesburg; University of KwaZulu-Natal; University of Limpopo; University of Mpumalanga; University of Pretoria; University of South Africa; University of the Western Cape; University of the Witwatersrand; University of Venda; University of Zululand; Vaal University of Technology; Walter Sisulu University and Sol Plaatje University.