NRFNational Research Foundation 

The NRF provides various funding opportunities for postgraduate honours, master’s and doctoral students intending to study at UCT.

By now you are aware of the extended application deadline of 19 July 2024.

We urge current postgraduate students and prospective Honours students who meet the requirements to apply timeously and not wait until the last minute.

Due to budgetary constraints the NRF will strictly apply the following conditions for 2025 and going forward:

  1. Professional degrees are ineligible;
  2. Degrees with research weightings of LESS THAN 50% are not considered and
  3. Applications for EXTENSION funding for 6 or 12 months ARE NOT GUARANTEED, therefore, candidates must secure additional / alternative funding opportunities.

We are looking forward to receiving applications and maximizing NRF scholarship funding.


Chantal Swartz

DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the 2025 Academic Year - NOW OPEN

The DSI and NRF are pleased to announce a call for new applications for DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the academic year 2025.All continuing students with an NRF grant in 2024 who are eligible for a second or third year of funding must submit a Progress Report and not a new application. Eligible students who do not have an NRF grant in 2024 should apply as first-time applicants.

The NRF minimum academic requirement for postgraduate funding is 65%. The entry age requirement is 28, 30 and 32 years or younger for honours, master’s, and doctoral studies respectively, in the year of application, regardless of first year of registration. Successful applicants will be funded either at Full Cost of Study (FCS) or Partial Cost of Study (PCS).

The FCS funding will be awarded to South African citizens and Permanent Residents only, who are either financially needy (i.e., those whose combined household family income is less than or equals to R350 000 per annum), living with a disability or exceptional academic achievers. However, the PCS funding will be awarded to 5% of international students including South African citizens and Permanent Residents who could not be funded under FCS but meet other minimum requirements for the NRF scholarship funding criteria.

The 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.

All applicants will be expected to apply online on the NRF Connect system. No manual applications will be accepted. Applicants may apply for one of the application categories listed below.




*First-time Masters 



EXTENDED TO 19 July 2024

First-time Doctoral 



EXTENDED TO 19 July 2024

Extension support for Masters and Doctoral Scholarships

Extension support for Master’s and Doctoral Scholarships

15 September 2024

SARAO: Masters

SARAO Masters

15 August 2024

SARAO: Doctoral

SARAO Doctoral

15 August 2024

SARAO: Honours - Call will open 22 July 2024

SARAO Honours

20 August 2024

Honours (General) - Call will open 22 July 2024


30 September 2024

*Masters scholarships are awarded on the basis that the study shall consist of at least 50% research.

Honours applicants requiring ISFAP assessment should submit their applications by 02 September 2024.

Please refer to the Application and Funding Guide and Framework documents when completing the online application form at every step of the process.

DSI-NRF Master’s and Doctoral application and funding guideline – 2025 (download)

DSI-NRF Extension Support Master’s and Doctoral application and funding guideline – 2025 (download)

2025 DSI-NRF Postgraduate Scholarships Framework (download)

Supervisor Recommendation Letter Template – 2025 (download)

As requested by the funder, the NRF, ALL postgraduate students applying for master’s or doctoral NRF scholarships must upload a recommendation letter from their supervisor/head of department. Please provide your supervisor or head of department (in the event supervision is not finalised) with the below template for completion. Once completed and signed, it must be included as attachment for the application to be considered complete and for funding support. THE ONUS REMAINS ON THE APPLICANT TO ENSURE THIS DOCUMENT IS COMPLETED AND ATTACHED TO THE APPLICATION. Please note, the Designated Authority (UCT NRF Staff) will stamp the letter during their review period.

ISFAP – Application Consent Form (download)

Frequently Asked Questions (download)

NRF Statement of expectation for Postgraduate Training (download)

2025 SARAO Master’s Scholarships Application Guide (download)

2025 SARAO Doctoral Scholarships Application Guide (download)

Medical Research Council (MRC)

For more information regarding the requirements for the MRC's 2 scholarships, please visit the Medical Research Council's website.