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Doctoral Programme (DBA/PhD)

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Enhancing business thought-leadership and best-practice in the context of a dynamic continental and global market.

With an urgent mandate for businesses across the African continent to address the opportunities and challenges that managers and leaders face in this unique environment, it is critical to continually develop new ways of thinking and approaches to problem-solving that are relevant to the context in which these businesses operate.   

The Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) Doctoral Programme is aimed at developing the required knowledge and business leadership skills that enable high-performing individuals to contribute to business thought-leadership that will drive growth on the African continent. As an ideal opportunity for senior professionals who are dedicated to contributing to the knowledge-base from which business decisions are made, scholars can play their part in shaping the future of business on the continent and in the global dynamic context.

The Doctoral Programme aims to help scholars find solutions to real-life challenges faced by businesses and their leaders by using a combination of in-depth research and practical application, underpinned by academic rigour and critical thinking. Learning methodologies are further entrenched in theories and models of practice.

The programme is designed to meet the needs of the mature, self-motivated scholar. It provides a blend of individual and peer interactive learning challenges that stretch and test scholars' potential. As an outcome, the successful scholar will be equipped to create scientifically grounded knowledge and contribute to positive business results through intellectual leadership.

We look forward to welcoming you to be a part of this vibrant and growing community of scholars.

Professor Helena Barnard, Programme Director

 Doctoral Programme

Doctoral Programme 2021 Block Dates
4 and 9 February
2 and 16 March
12 - 16 April
26 - 27 May
14 - 15 July
15th - 16th September
17th - 18th November

Doctoral Programme Qualifications

GIBS Doctoral Programme offers three qualifications: DBA, PhD and MPhil (Evidence- Based Management)

Programme Outline
​​The programme is divided into two phases. The first phase involves the preparation and defence of a proposal within the first year, and the second comprises ethics clearance, data gathering and writing up the thesis over the following two years. For students who lack a research background and/or whose proposal is not yet well enough developed to allow them to successfully defend within a year, we recommend starting with the MPhil (EBM).

Minimum Requirements

Requirements for admission to the doctoral degree include the following:
An MBA degree or a Master's degree from a recognised tertiary institution in a related field (e.g. Statistics, Psychology, Economics, etc.);
Familiarity with basic statistics;
A compelling 20-page research proposal if you are applying for the Doctoral Programme. If your proposal is not sufficiently well developed, the Doctoral Office will recommend that you enrol for the MPhil (Evidence- Based Management);
A compelling 10-page research proposal if you are applying for the MPhil (Evidence- Based Management);
Two short application essays:                                               
Essay Topic 1: Provide a full description of your personal profile, outlining strenghts and weaknesses, aspirations, goals, values and major achievements. Please include the evolution of your career to date. How do you see your career progressing over the next 5 to 10 years?                                   
Essay Topic 2The COVID-19 forced many tertiary education institutions to make extensive use of online learning. Do you think this was a positive or negative development for the student? Explain your position.

References from two referees, completed by 27 April 2021; and GIBS admissions test.
We will sele​ct students:
​Who best meet the academic criteria above and for whom we have supervisory capacity;
Whose proposed research best meet the strategic orientation of the programme – to better understand the challenges of management and business in such an underdeveloped, but dynamic context as Africa; and
Who are most likely to contribute to the intellectual life of the cohort through a combination of rigorous thinking and intellectual generosity.
Please note that doctoral study is not for everyone and it is important that you assess yourself against the profile given in the Application Checklist. 

For non-South African residents who apply for admission, please note the following requirements:

A study permit is required for registration at the University of Pretoria. Please enquire at the International Office, University of Pretoria at or +27 12 420 6610; and
SAQA accreditation is required if your academic qualifications are awarded from an institution outside of South Africa. Please go to the following website to apply:

Fees & Regulations

The fees for the doctorate at GIBS are calculated per year. For 2021, the full registration and tuition fees for the Doctoral Programme will be R55 800. These fees cover all tuition, materials, catering and use of facilities at GIBS for the year. ​

Application fee Doctoral Programme and MPhil EBM: R3 300 (non-refundable; payable upon application submission)

GIBS does not charge VAT on tuition fees. 

All costs associated with attending courses at GIBS, fieldwork, research-related travel, special software or equipment required for purposes of research, as well as printing and binding of the thesis will be for the student's own account.​

Applications 2021:

Doctoral Programme

Applications for the June 2021 intake will open on the 29 March 2021 and close on 27 April 2021. Applicants will be required to pay an application fee and write the GIBS Entrance test.

MPhil (Evidence-Based Management)

Applications for the June 2021 intake opened on 29 March 2021 and close on 27 April 2021. Applicants will be required to pay an application fee and write the GIBS Entrance test.

Acceptance fee: R17 000 payable upon acceptance onto the programme, offset against the cost of tuition.

MPhil Fee structure
MPhil  Full Tuition fee - R168,487.00.

R75,743.50 will be payable by 31 January 2021

R75,743.50 will be payable by 31 January 2022 as the balance of fees due

More Information

Who should Apply?

Do you enjoy pushing the boundaries of current knowledge? A doctoral student is a career-focused candidate who enjoys research and is looking to develop knowledge in their field.

How you will Benefit

The successful doctoral candidate will be equipped to create scientifically grounded knowledge and contribute to positive business results through intellectual leadership.

  • The PhD is intended for those who are considering an academic career, and
  • The DBA for those who want to work as a consultant​.​

Additional Information

        This programme is a SAQA accredited              NQF level 10 qualification. SAQA ID: 4911

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