Dear postgraduates

As we send out this communication, we are more than halfway through the extended lockdown, with a virtual orientation week starting for both undergraduate and taught-course postgraduates on Monday 20 April. Classes will start online on 28 April. While we are aiming to complete the 2020 academic calendar as close as possible to the normal year, we must also take into account the possibility of unforeseen further delays. We are also aiming for a staggered return to campus from September but this depends entirely on how soon and in what stages the national lockdown is lifted. For more information, please read this DVC Desk.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Almost all of you will be facing a variety of different challenges as you adjust to working from your new environments during this lockdown. We are aware that for many of you this is a very anxiety-provoking time as you try to maintain your focus and sustain progress on your studies. In an effort to give you the information you need, we’ve created a webpage with FAQs for postgraduates. We’ll keep adding content as we resolve issues, so keep an eye on this website for new FAQs. We are aware that there are a number of critical issues that don’t yet have answers and we’re working hard to get the information that you need. 

NRF postgraduate scholarships for full-time studies in 2021 

The National Research Foundation (NRF) has announced its funding calls for students intending to register for full-time studies in 2021. These scholarships support honours, master’s and doctoral studies.

Note that UCT has its own internal closing dates to apply for these scholarships (see table below). We realise that these deadlines will be challenging for many of you and your supervisors, but these dates are informed by the deadlines set by the NRF. Our internal deadlines are critical to allow for the considerable processing that needs to take place before submitting to the NRF. We have to take into account the processing time of the large volume of applications that we receive and also the time it takes to upload each application onto the NRF system.

Please therefore ignore the closing dates on the NRF website, and note that UCT will have to reject applications submitted after the UCT internal closing dates, as there will not be enough time to process them.

Please also note that, to be eligible for UCT merit and need awards, which will be announced later in the year (via application form 10A), you are required first to apply for these NRF scholarships, if you are eligible.



UCT internal deadline

Nuffic Single-site


18 May 2020

First-time application

Master’s & doctoral

30 June 2020


Master’s & doctoral

30 June 2020

Nuffic Split-site


30 June 2020


Master’s & doctoral

30 June 2020



15 August 2020

First-time application


31 October 2020

More detailed information on each scholarship will be available to download from our postgrad noticeboard early next week. So please keep an eye on this noticeboard for more information.

Minimum requirements and eligibility for NRF scholarships:

  • The minimum academic requirement is 65%.

  • Applicants for honours, master’s and doctoral funding must be 28, 30 and 32 years of age or younger respectively in the year of application.

  • Honours bursaries: Only South African citizens and permanent residents are eligible.

  • Master’s and doctoral bursaries: Open to South African citizens, permanent residents as well as a limited number of foreign nationals who register at South African public universities in 2021 on a full-time basis only.

  • NRF scholarships are intended to support honours, master’s and doctoral candidates to pursue studies in all areas of science, engineering, technology, social sciences and humanities. Students who intend to register for, or who are studying for, a 100% master’s by coursework, professional master’s or professional doctoral degree, are ineligible to apply for NRF postgraduate funding.

Should you have any questions or queries please send an email to

Resources to help you work remotely

The Academic Development Programme at UCT has created a resource document for postgraduates, which contains a list of services (including the Writing Centre) to support you to work remotely. 

UCT student access survey

To date, over half (55,2%) of all our postgraduates have completed the student access survey. This survey is an important instrument through which the UCT executive can get a better understanding of the access needs of the student community. The data from this survey will be used to inform the plans UCT puts in place to cater to all its students, of which postgraduates are an important cohort. If you haven’t done so already, please take 10 minutes to fill it in here.

We are also very aware that this survey won’t reach our students who don’t have access to emails while they’re working remotely. We are working on an effective way to reach these students through other means so that none of our postgraduates are left in the dark. 

Remember, if you need to get help from ICTS:

Other contacts

  • If you have specific course-related questions, please contact the relevant course convenor or course secretary, or your tutor or tutorial convenor.

  • If you have questions regarding administrative matters, please contact the relevant administrator in your department. This information should be listed on your departmental website.

If you cannot reach your supervisor or departmental administrator, connect with us on Twitter. Make sure you follow us on Twitter for important updates on the COVID-19 situation as it relates to postgrads, funding opportunities and other useful information.

Stay informed

Please visit the UCT Coronavirus Disease 2019 web page regularly to stay informed of the latest information from UCT. A DVC Desk to all postgraduates will be sent out on Monday which will contain more information. 

We are rooting for you as you adjust to working under these new challenges.


The postgraduate support services team