PhD Business Management and Administration

Find solutions to real-world business problems through in-depth research

  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
  • Apply
Course Overview
Course starts Dependent on application
Fees R 114 604
Applications Rolling applications

This internationally accredited PhD Business Management and Administration is aimed at those who want to acquire personal and transferable skills through rigorous research and want to become an expert in their field.

This requires a contribution to new knowledge through in-depth research. Equipped with our PhD Business Management, you will help to find solutions to pressing business problems in the real world. The Business School emphasises the creation of knowledge that is particularly relevant to African organisations.

This degree will stand you in good stead if you want to establish yourself as an expert in a particular field, and if you want to work in industries focused on research and innovation, or at an academic institution.

  • Duration: At least 2 years of registration
  • How to apply: Click here to see the 8 steps of the application process.
  • Deadlines for applications and SHL tests: The programme has a rolling intake, and the Admissions Committee reviews applications monthly from February to November. Your completed application, supporting documents and SHL test results must be submitted by the document deadline dates.

2023 Tuition Fees

South Africa

  Tuition fees Deposit   Application Fee


Year 1


R12 000 R850 R2 950
Year 2 R57,302 R12 000






  Tuition fees Deposit   Application Fee


Year 1


R30,984 R850 R2 950
Year 2






Rest of the World

  Tuition fees Deposit   Application Fee


Year 1


R33,591 R850 R2 950
Year 2






  • Payment of full programme fees for South African students: South African students can pay the full programme fees upon registration, or they can pay 75% of the annual fees by the end of May and the balance of 25% by the end of September.
  • Payment of full programme fees for international students: International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The remainder is due two weeks before commencement of the programme.
  • Assessment of international students’ applications: International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. The Business School’s International Affairs Office will first handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. Students need to complete the online application and upload all certificates with their application. The International Affairs Office will conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application. Should the International Affairs Office be unsure about the status, recognition or accreditation of your qualification, we reserve the right to refer you to SAQA. The Business School will only assess your application once we have received your application fee and SHL fee.
  • Deposit: All students pay a deposit on acceptance of admission. South African students must pay a set deposit on admittance. International admitted students pay 50% of the annual fee as deposit. The deposit payable is non-refundable.
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is non-refundable.
  • Fees for second and subsequent years of enrolment: These fees will be adjusted to make provision for annual price increases.
  • Travel and accommodation: Students are responsible for their own travel and accommodation arrangements and costs.
  • Fee changes: The Business School reserves the right to change the fees at any time.



Capitec offers credit for education at a discounted rate which allows prospective students to apply for a loan of up to R250 000. To apply, the applicant must be permanently employed, 18 years or older, and have a valid South African ID document. A provisional quote or admission letter from Stellenbosch Business School is needed to process the credit application. You can only apply for Capitec’s credit solution through the Business School’s website. Initiation, service fees and T&Cs apply. Capitec Bank is an authorised financial services provider (FSP 46669) and registered credit provider (NCRCP13).



Stellenbosch Business School’s PhD in Business Management and Administration is awarded solely on the successful completion of a research-based dissertation. This dissertation must contribute to and enrich the academic knowledge and understanding of theory and professional practice. The minimum period of registration for the PhD is two years.

The thesis may be written as a single whole, or may be by publication, where a number of articles and/or chapters are presented together with an introduction and conclusion that draws the parts into the whole.

The preparation of your pre-proposal

Every application must include a pre-proposal, written in scientific language, on your intended research. The pre-proposal serves to demonstrate whether you have a mature approach to high-level research. It also helps us evaluate whether the topic is viable and whether we can provide appropriate supervision and resources. The word count of the pre-proposal is approximately 4 000 words (excluding references). This is what the pre-proposal must cover:

  • Title
  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Research methodology
  • Potential contribution of the research
  • References

The dissertation pre-proposal will also help Stellenbosch Business School to determine whether you have thought through your interest in and commitment to the programme, and whether you are suitable for admission to the Stellenbosch Business School PhD programme.

The preparation of your comprehensive research proposal

Once your pre-proposal has been approved, you need to submit a comprehensive research proposal. Your provisional supervisor will guide you in the preparation of your proposal. Your comprehensive research proposal will serve as your road map for the completion of your PhD. You will be formally registered for your PhD once your comprehensive research proposal has been accepted.

The actual research process and its deliverables

Through their research, PhD registrants must demonstrate the following:

  • Expertise, knowledge and reflection of theories and methods at the forefront of a field or discipline
  • The ability to apply theories, acquire new knowledge and generate new insights to confront practical and theoretical problems with the aim of proposing relevant and ethical solutions
  • The ability to communicate your work to an audience of researchers
  • The ability to take part as a researcher in the international research community

Your final dissertation will be evaluated by three examiners. This will be followed by a public oral defence of the dissertation – the viva voce.

Creating intellectual capital

The PhD Business Management and Administration is a combination of scientific rigour and managerial relevance. To develop applicable knowledge underpinned by theory and practice, PhD students need to conduct research on real-world problems, and develop personal and transferable skills that can be used in a range of applied situations. ​Stellenbosch Business School emphasises the creation of knowledge that is relevant to South African organisations, and from there to beyond our borders. This forms part of our social responsibility to strengthen our country to the benefit of all those involved.

Who should enrol?

If you would like to make a contribution to the body of knowledge in the field of business management and our understanding of this field, this internationally accredited PhD will prove your proficiency, show your commitment to life-long learning, and confirm your credibility.

This PhD is aimed at leaders, managers, strategists and consultants focused on solving real-world issues through evidenced-based problem solving, critical thinking and in-depth research in business management.

This will prepare you to work in industries focused on research and innovation, consultancies, and academic institutions.

  • Academic requirements: A relevant master’s degree in an appropriate management-related area, with an average of 65%. The major part of the master’s degree (weight within degree) must consist of a written thesis, of which a grade of at least 65% should be obtained.
  • Minimum period of registration: Two years
  • Selection test: SHL test (see below).

Note: International students require a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation certificate to evaluate their degrees according to South African standards. Stellenbosch Business School’s International Affairs Office will handle the credential evaluations of international students free of charge. You therefore need to complete the online application, and upload all certificates to your application. The International Office will, as part of the application process, conduct an in-house credential evaluation after you have submitted your application.

SHL selection test

You need to complete the SHL abilities selection test as part of your application process. The test consists of a verbal critical reasoning assessment, numerical critical reasoning assessment, inductive reasoning test, and Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ) on behavioural preferences, which are used for selection and for the identification of your development areas.

The SHL is not about failing or passing. It is about determining your strengths and growth areas. The early identification of growth areas allows you to prepare yourself well and focus your efforts on academic and career success. As a responsible institution, Stellenbosch Business School needs to ensure that all students admitted are provided with the best possible chance to succeed in their studies and careers. The SHL is used in combination with the dissertation pre-proposal, prior academic results and work experience to form a clear picture on which to base admission and development decisions. Click here for more information on how we use the SHL to help students.


  • Duration: Approximately 3 hours.
  • Preparation: No preparation is required. However, you are encouraged to perform a practice test to familiarise yourself with the test format. See
  • About the test: The SHL test is done online. (Random verification might be requested.) You will be provided with a link to the SHL test once you have paid your PhD BMA application fee and SHL selection test fee, and after you have submitted your application form and have received your provisional student number. (You need to use this provisional student number when writing the SHL.)
  • Cost: For fees, please see (click on Fees tab). See bank details under How to apply and use your provisional student number as reference. The application fee and SHL selection test fee can be paid online.
  • Link to the SHL selection test: You do not have to arrange with Stellenbosch Business School to write the SHL test. You will receive a link to the test once the relevant payments have been received and you have submitted your application form. Stellenbosch Business School will receive your results directly from SHL and will upload it to your application form on your behalf.
  • Additional information:
  • Important: The SHL selection test is valid for 18 months. If your SHL selection test results are older than this, you should ideally rewrite the test as people grow and develop and assessments need to take this into account. Stellenbosch Business School does not consider SHL tests from other institutions as you may have written a different type or level of test, or you may have been compared to a different comparison group. If you have completed the SHL with Stellenbosch Business School during the past 18 months, you do not have to rewrite the test.

Discover more about the programmes


Related programmes

Related programmes

  • Modular
  • Blended

MBA – Master’s of Business Administration

  • Business Management and Administration

Stellenbosch Business School’s MBA degree has been designed to turn managers, professionals, specialists and entrepreneurs into responsible leaders, expert decision makers, strategic thinkers, effective communicators and stewards of society.

View Programme
  • Modular
  • Blended

Postgraduate Diploma Business Management and Administration

  • Business Management and Administration

The Postgraduate Diploma in Business Management and Administration is an accredited programme aimed at working professionals who are interested in general management skills that build an entrepreneurial approach to business.

View Programme


Programme enquiries and application support

Charmaine Garcia: Client Liaison


Admission enquiries

Marissa Groenewald



In our process, we encourage prospective PhD students to provide some original and independent thinking in the pre-proposal. Prior contact with a potential supervisor may make it difficult to distinguish the applicant’s thinking from the supervisor’s guidance.

You can find information about funding on our website. Additionally, please feel free to explore the funding opportunities available via the Stellenbosch University Postgraduate Office (

  • Contribution: What makes a PhD different to any other degree is that it must contribute to knowledge. At Stellenbosch Business School, we understand this contribution to be a theoretical one. (Read more about contribution here, and the definition of theory here). Try and avoid submitting a pre-proposal that reads more like a consulting report focusing on a specific context.
  • Writing: PhD students should be able to write in alignment with the standard academic conventions, which includes full referencing. Pre-proposals are submitted to a text-matching programme to check for potential text recycling.
  • Fit with Stellenbosch Business School’s interests: We strongly prefer projects in the private and non-profit sectors, as opposed to those in the public sector.

As mentioned, we encourage original thinking in the pre-proposal, and sharing such examples will make it difficult to distinguish your thinking from third-party ideas.

Unfortunately, our minimum requirements are fixed, and currently we do not offer any supplementary modules that will help you make up the minimum.

The allocation of appropriate supervisors is the responsibility of Stellenbosch Business School. While we do work with external supervisors regularly, the appointment of an external supervisor is motivated by the internal supervisor, and an existing relationship between supervisors have been found to be most beneficial to the success of the student’s project.