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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.

Doctoral Programme Qualifications

The 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).

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 rigor 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

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Information Sessions

Doctoral Information Session
Date: 08 February 2024
Time: 18:00 - 19:00
Mode: Online (Zoom)
RSVP link: Click Here

Minimum Requirements

  • Completed MBA or a Master's degree from a recognised tertiary institution in a related field (e.g. Statistics, Psychology, Economics, etc.);
  • Minimum five years' work experience
  • 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);
  • GIBS entrance test;
  • Applicants from Non-English speaking countries will have to complete an English Proficiency Test. 
  • Two short application essays:                     Essay Topic 1: Provide your personal profile - 500 words                                       Essay Topic 2: Government should make vaccination mandatory and insist that citizens provide proof of vaccination. Do you agree or disagree? Explain  - 500 words

International/ Non-South African Students
 Qualifications: Applicants who hold a foreign qualification need to send their qualifications to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) for evaluation before applying to GIBS. We require the SAQA certificate to verify the NQF level of your qualification. Visit or email: 
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.

Application Dates

Applications Open

1 October 2023

Applications Close

3 April 2024

Acceptance into this doctoral programme is reviewed after the application close date and we highly recommend you apply as early as possible. No late applications will be considered.

Fees & Regulations

Fees and Quotations

Total tuitionR67 048 per annum

Application fee: R3 000 (Non-refundable, will be payable upon application).

The total fees cover all tuition, materials, catering and use of facilities at GIBS for the year. ​
GIBS does not charge VAT on tuition fees. 

Please click here for a quote/ proforma invoice and payment options

Note no payment can be made against a quotation and you can only receive a tax invoice once you have been officially accepted onto the programme.

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.​

Part Time


+/- 4 Years 



View Schedule

Note: This is the tentative schedule and the updated schedule will be available later in the year and sent to all accepted students closer to the start date of the programme. These formats are subject to change and applicants will be notified of any changes timeously.

Admission Process
Step 1

Compile all supporting documents. Click here for the list of supporting documents 

Step 2

Submit your online application along with all supporting documents and pay the application fee. 

Step 3

Forward the reference link  provided to your referees.  Application is processed and documents verified (2-4 weeks).

Step 4

You will be assigned a test date for the GIBS Entrance Test (You will receive an invitation to the test once your documents have been verified).

Step 5

Complete the entrance test and await results from the assessor. References will be verified. 

Step 6

Applicant profile and proposal is reviewed after applications have closed (+/- 4 weeks).

Step 7

Feedback is received from the admissions teams and accepted students will be invoiced.

All accepted students are required to pay the deposit within three weeks of acceptance to secure your place on the programme. 

Feedback will be received +/- 6 weeks after the application closing date. Click here for the application form guideline.

Please ensure the billing details are correct when completing the application form as any request to make amendments will delay your application. Ensure you have the VAT number should your company be funding the tuition fees.

Special Requirements

Special Needs: If you have a special need or disability which may require special assistance including test or examination concessions, GIBS will endeavour to accommodate your requirements. However, it is important to discuss your needs with the admissions office before you submit your application and needs to be clearly indicated on your submitted application form. 

Religious Observance: Observant students must contact the GIBS Admissions Office before you start your application to ascertain if or how your specific needs may be accommodated. Note all programmes include weekend classes and attendance is compulsory.

For any further enquiries, please contact the Admissions Department : / +27 (0) 11 771 4000.

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.

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

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.

Additional information

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

University of Pretoria Programme Qualification Mix (PQM)

The higher education sector has undergone an extensive alignment to the Higher Education Qualification Sub Framework (HEQF) across all institutions in South Africa. In order to comply with the HEQSF, all institutions are legally required to participate in a national initiative led by regulatory bodies such as the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Council on Higher Education (CHE), and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The University of Pretoria is presently engaged in an ongoing effort to align its qualifications and programmes with the HEQSF criteria. Current and prospective students should take note that changes to UP qualification and programme names, may occur as a result of the HEQSF initiative. Students are advised to contact their faculties if they have any questions. 

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