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Wits-Edinburgh Doctoral Programme In Sustainable African Futures (WESAF) 2024 For African Students


The WESAF doctoral programme aims to provide research training to equip students (primarily academics already holding tenured positions) to complete interdisciplinary doctoral research on areas related to sustainability on the African continent.

The blended programme is designed to enable students to complete primarily an online master's followed by a primarily online doctorate.

The Masters by Research and Ph.D. programmes will combine in-person elements, including sustainability schools (in-person schools focussed on enhancing knowledge in the field of sustainability research) in South Africa and contact sessions in Edinburgh alongside workplace-based internships. Supervision will be jointly delivered online by academics from both UoE and Wits.


Costs covered during the 12 months of the MSc by Research programme are:

  • MSc by Research fees

  • Participation in two sustainability schools (in person) in Johannesburg. Covered costs include visa applications for South African entry, vaccinations as necessary, accommodation and subsistence while in Johannesburg, return flights and internal travel.

  • Laptops and connectivity where appropriate

  • Reading material will be accessible through the University of Edinburgh online library and other resources will be made available by course lecturers (no cost will be attached to courses or dissertation)

Costs covered during the Ph.D. programme are:

  • Tuition fees

  • Participation in two sustainability schools (in person) (one in Edinburgh (2025) and one in Johannesburg (2027)), including visa applications for South Africa entry, vaccinations as required, accommodation and subsistence while in Johannesburg, return flights and internal travel.

  • Research placements of between 1 and 6 months will be arranged for students at some point in the second or in the third year of the Ph.D. A stipend to cover costs for the placement with an external industry (or appropriate workplace) partner. Scholarships are granted for 3 years for full-time study and six years for part-time study for the Ph.D. Annual reporting on progress will be mandatory.


MScR Programme in Sustainable African Futures

The target group for scholarships is emerging researchers and academics who meet the requirements to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh. To apply for this programme, applicants must:

  • have successfully completed a university degree that will qualify for entry into a Master’s programme at the University of Edinburgh (A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent).

  • demonstrate a level of English language competency that will enable one to succeed in the studies, regardless of nationality or country of residence.

  • have generally completed their last university degree not more than three and a half years ago and/or have demonstrable experience in academia/research at the time of application.

  • be nationals or permanent residents of an African country

  • be a) a staff member at one of the partner universities, OR b) a candidate being considered for teaching or research staff recruitment by the partner universities. Female applicants, applicants from refugee and displaced backgrounds, and candidates from other less privileged regions or groups are especially encouraged to apply.

Ph.D. in Sustainable African Futures

Only candidates that have completed the MScR in Sustainable African Futures are eligible to apply for the Ph.D. programme. Candidates invited to apply for this programme will submit an online application form. In addition to the online application form, applicants must upload the following mandatory documents:

  • A time plan that demonstrates that the doctoral thesis dissertation will be completed in good time

  • A recommendation letter from the Master's supervisor at the University of Edinburgh

  • A 2-5 page concept paper for the proposed Ph.D. project.


15th May 2023

Click here for more details.


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