Call for applications: 2020 NIHSS-SAHUDA doctoral scholarships

The closing date for applications is 25 September 2020.

The National Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS) invites applications from suitably qualified students to study full-time towards a doctoral degree in the humanities and social sciences.


The NIHSS collaborates annually with the South African Humanities Deans Association (SAHUDA) to extend 150 scholarships per annum to full-time PhD students based at South African universities. The main objective of this programme is to promote scholarship and address inequities in the humanities and social sciences in South Africa, specifically among designated groups and historically disadvantaged institutions. To ensure that successful applicants are provided with structured intellectual and mentorship support, the NIHSS-SAHUDA cooperation has created an ambitious national doctoral programme for the humanities and social sciences.

Areas of support

Applications are invited from ALL humanities and social science disciplines, particularly those engaged in interdisciplinary research.

Applications are also especially encouraged from (but are not limited to) the following disciplines: Visual and Performing Arts; African Languages; African Philosophy; History; Anthropology; Economics; Heritage Studies; Education; Social Work; Indigenous Knowledge Systems; African Music and Musicology; including BRICS related research.


  • Only South African citizens from designated groups, with a preference to those from previously disadvantaged groups of the population.
  • Not older than 45 years of age at the time of the application.
  • Successful completion of a master’s degree; or entering the first year of PhD/doctoral study; or currently registered for PhD study in first year of enrolment.
  • Confirmation by the prospective department/supervisor of your intention to enrol for a PhD-level programme of study at a participating university.

Value of award

The value of the award is R140 000 in the first year. Annual renewals are subject to proof of satisfactory progress and availability of funding.

Application process

The online application form is accessible through the link:

Students are required to register on the NIHSS Grant Management System (GMS) before they can access the application form. Application guidelines of the submission process will be available on the landing page on the GMS.

  1. Letter of confirmation by the prospective department or supervisor that you will be admitted to the participating university for registration for PhD study.
  2. A motivation letter (not longer than one A4 page – 500 words).
  3. A recent intellectual autobiography: a narrative of the major influences in your intellectual life (not longer than one A4 page – 500 words).
  4. A research proposal outlining the problem statement, methodology, feasibility of your study and the contribution it will make to the body of knowledge in the particular field of study.
  5. Two letters of recommendation from academics who are familiar with your work, of which one must be the supervisor of your master’s thesis.
  6. A certified copy of your full academic transcript/s.
  7. A certified copy of your ID.
  8. A certified copy of your master’s degree certificate.
  9. Sample copies of your best writing, such as a chapter from your master’s study or any published academic work.

Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

Posted by: Mr Tau Moholoopa, Research Grants Assistant, Research Support Directorate (>

Publish date: 2020/09/09