The major sources of merit-based awards are the 2 state-funded research councils:

National Research Foundation

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

The DSI and NRF are pleased to announce a call for new applications for DSI-NRF Postgraduate Student Funding for the academic year 2024. All continuing students who are eligible for a second or third year of funding must submit a Progress Report and not a new application.
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.

Level of study

Closing dates


10th November 2023

First-time Master’s

For 2024 has CLOSED

First-time Doctoral

For 2024 has CLOSED

Master’s and Doctoral Extension Support

Was 4th August 2023

NOW Extended to 18th August 2023


NRF Application Closing Dates:

Level of study

Closing dates

SARAO Honours

31 July 2023

SARAO Master’s

Was 11th  July 2023 

NOW Extended to 31 July 2023

SARAO Doctoral

Was 11th  July 2023 

NOW Extended to 31 July 2023


All the postgraduate students will be expected to apply online on the NRF Connect system. No manual applications will be accepted.

NRF Travel Grant Applications for Scholarship- and Fellowship-Holders

Call for applications

The cut off dates for institutions to send eligible applications to the NRF are as follows

Call Open Date

Applicants traveling between:

Submission Dates

March 2023

May – July 2023

19 April 2023

August - October 2023

20 June 2023

November – December 2023 (final year grants) November – April 2024(continuing grants)

16 September 2023


Please refer to the application and funding guide and framework documents (as listed below) when completing the online application form at every step of the process.

Document direct links

Medical Research Council (MRC)

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