Doctoral Programme (DBA/PhD)

Programme Information
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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 unique 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 learner 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

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 whose proposal is not yet well enough developed to allow them to successfully defend within a year, we offer a 9-month Postgraduate Diploma in Business Studies that allows individuals to develop the skills to understand a focused area in business, as well as the theoretical and methodological components of the knowledge base in management and business.

Requirements for admission to the doctoral degree include the following:
  • An MBA degree from a recognised tertiary institution which gives entry to the DBA and PhD, or a Master's degree from a recognised tertiary institution in a related field (e.g. Statistics, Psychology, Economics, etc.) which gives entry only to PhD;

  • Familiarity with basic statistics;

  • A compelling 20-page research proposal;

  • References from two referees, emailed directly to the GIBS research director at by 12 September 2017; and

  • A recent GMAT result (since 2012) or completion of an admissions test arranged at GIBS (Johannesburg), or testing centres in Durban or Cape Town. Details are provided under the section dealing with the application process in the download brochures.​

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

We will sele​ct the 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, which can be downloaded. 


Fees and Regulations

The fees for the doctorate at GIBS are calculated per year. For 2017, the full registration and tuition fees will be R42 000. These fees cover all tuition, materials, catering and use of facilities at GIBS for the year. ​

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.​


GIBS Entrance Test dates


  • 7 July 2017
  • 18 August 2017
  • 15 September 2017
  • 13 October 2017


  • Tbc

Cape Town

  • Tbc

Who should apply?

Do you enjoy pushing the boundaries of current accepted 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 scientifi​cally 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

​Please see below for the following information that can be downloaded:

Fees and Cancellation Policy;

Contact Sessions; and

Application Checklist

Please engage with us on Twitter: @GIBS_SA | #gibsforum, #gibsconference, #gibsevent, #gibsmba
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