Masters Scenario Planning & Systems Thinking

PhD in Futures Studies

PhD in Futures Studies

Become a specialist in strategic foresight through doctoral research

  • Research
  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
Course Overview
Course starts Dependent on application
Application closes Applications Closed

USB’s internationally accredited PhD in Futures Studies will enable you to become a specialist in the field of strategic foresight. This expertise – typically in fields such as the new world of business, social capital, security, sustainability, technology and innovation, and decision-making – will enable you to work in government, public and private corporations, financial institutions, and academic institutions. This is the only PhD degree of its kind in Africa.

  • Duration: Minimum 2 years
  • Format: Supervised research

 

 Programme tuition fees for 2021 2021 (1st year) 2022 (2nd year) Total Provisional Quotes
Students from South Africa R50 365 R50 365 R100 730 Download
Students from Southern African Development Community
(SADC) countries
R54 865 R54 865 R109 730 Download
International students from the rest of Africa (non-SADC countries) R59 895 R59 895 R119 790 Download
​International students from the rest of the world R59 895 R59 895 R119 790 Download
​​​​​​​Deposit payable on acceptance of admission​ for 2021
​​​​Students from South Africa R12 335
​​​​Students from Southern African Development Community
(SADC) countries
R27 433
International students from the rest of Africa
(non-SADC countries)
R29 948
​International students from the rest of the world R29 948
​​​​​​​Application fee​ for 2021
Application fee (non-refundable; applicable to all students) R850
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is not refundable.
  • Travelling, accommodation and meals are for students’ own accounts.
  • USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

Overview

The programme consists of supervised research in Futures Studies, culminating in a doctoral dissertation. The minimum registration period is two years.

USB’s PhD in Futures Studies is internationally accredited by EQUIS of the European Foundation for Management Development. In addition, USB is a member of the European Doctoral Programmes Association in Management and Business Administration (EDAMBA). As a PhD student from an EDAMBA member institution, you will benefit in the following ways:

  • Eligibility for grants, awards and opportunities
  • Attendance of the annual EDAMBA Research Summer Academy
  • Participation in the Doctoral Thesis Competition. Winning entries are published in the EDAMBA Journal.

This degree allows you to become an expert in Futures Studies. Your dissertation must therefore:

  • Represent an original and significant contribution to the enrichment and advancement of knowledge in your chosen field of research
  • Demonstrate originality of thought, a theoretical underpinning, relevance to the discipline and rigour in execution
  • Create intellectual capital, which is the cornerstone of the knowledge society of the 21st century.

USB’s MPhil in Futures Studies which includes a substantial written thesis.

NOTE: International students require a SAQA evaluation to evaluate your degree according to South African standards.  USB’s International Affairs Office will handle your credential evaluation free of charge.  Please complete an online application, upload all certificates to your application. The international office will conduct an in-house credential evaluation, after we received your submission and application fee, as part of the process.

PROGRAMME HEAD
Professor André Roux

Professor André Roux is the programme head of USB’s Futures Studies programmes. His areas of expertise are Management Economics and Futures Studies. He holds a PhD from Stellenbosch University. He lectures on Economics and Futures Thinking at USB, in other African countries and in Europe. In 2016 and 2017, he won the Best Lecturer Award in Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Try our program finder

  • Who should enrol?
  • What will you gain?

This PhD is aimed at professional futurists, decision makers and strategic planners who would like to distinguish themselves through in-depth research aimed at helping people to bring about a more desirable future – a future that supports the growth agendas of South Africa and Africa.

This will prepare you for senior-level positions in government, public and private corporations, policy-making institutions, financial institutions, and sub-regional, regional and international organisations. It could also enable candidates to become lecturers at academic institutions.

  1. Expertise in strategic foresight and long-range decision-making: This expertise – typically in fields such as the new world of business, social capital, security, sustainability, technology and innovation, and decision-making – will enable you to work in government, public and private corporations, financial institutions, and academic institutions.
  2. The ability to help contain risks and sense opportunities: The input of futurists in organisations can lead to better decision-making and better outcomes because their knowledge of how different futures can play out helps to mitigate risks and to leverage opportunities. This can be translated into a significant competitive advantage.
  3. The ability to deal with rapid and complex changes: The ability to make strategic long-term decisions will help you to deal with rapid and complex changes both locally and internationally. It will also equip you with techniques and methods to react meaningfully to the growing complexity in the organisational environment and world affairs, especially from an African perspective.
  4. Authority as a futurist: The depth brought about by doctoral studies will strengthen your authority as a professional futurist. It will also strengthen your consultation and facilitation capabilities, as well as your stakeholder analysis, environmental scanning, systems simulation and strategic planning skills.

Testimonials from our alumni

‘The PhD study enhanced my career as analyst and consultant tremendously. Previously, I tended to have a narrow approach as an analyst of global geo-strategic dynamics. The PhD (Futures Studies) changed all that and ingrained a holistic approach based on open-mindedness to see things more clearly from multiple perspectives.’

Jan Naude, Futurist, Institute for Futures Research at the University of Stellenbosch,

‘The road of exploring the philosophy and methodologies of Futures Studies was indeed bumpy but also extremely rewarding. Although many academic disciplines do pursue elements of forward-looking perspectives, only Future Studies provides a multi-, trans- and inter-disciplinary approach.’

Rianne van Vuuren , Advisor at Aquilo Forecasting ,

FAQs

A PhD in Futures Studies will enable you to become a specialist in the field of strategic foresight. This expertise – typically in fields such as the new world of business, social capital, security, sustainability, technology and innovation, and decision-making – will enable you to work in government, policy-making institutions, public and private corporations, financial institutions, and academic institutions.

The input of futurists in organisations can lead to better decision-making and better outcomes because their knowledge of how different futures can play out helps to mitigate risks and to leverage opportunities. The ability to make strategic long-term decisions will help to deal with rapid and complex changes, locally and internationally. This can be translated into a significant competitive advantage.

Lastly, the depth brought about by doctoral studies will strengthen your authority as a professional futurist. It will enhance your stakeholder analysis, environmental scanning, systems simulation and strategic planning skills. It will also benefit you in consultation and facilitation roles.

A minimum registration period of two years is required.

Academic assistance is offered via a web-based learning environment, various software and database resources, syndicate groups (dedicated study groups), informal learning groups and tutorials for certain modules.

Related programmes

Blended

Perform your duties as a professional fu...

Blended

Understand the forces and trends that sh...


MPhil in Futures Studies

MPhil in Futures Studies

Learn how to make strategic long-term decisions to create a desired future

  • Blended
  • Course
  • Fees
  • Structure & Content
  • Learning Philosophy
  • Admission Requirements
Course Overview
Course starts 04 February 2021
Application closes 30 November 2020 (SA) / 15 November 2020 (International)

USB’s internationally accredited MPhil in Futures Studies will equip you with strategic foresight to make long-range decisions, enabling you to mitigate risk and sense opportunities. You will learn how to respond to change and to make the right decisions to create a desired future.

As the only programme of its kind presented in Africa, and one of only a few in the world, it will equip you with high-level competencies to react meaningfully to growing complexity in the organisational environment while taking Africa and South Africa’s unique developmental challenges into account.

  • Duration: 2 years
  • Format: Blended learning (on campus or online)

Application deadlines

  • South African applicants: 30 November
  • International applicants from (visa-exempt) SADC countries: 15 November
  • International applicants from the rest of world: 15 November
Thursday evenings from 16:00-20:00
4 February – 9 September 2021

 

Programme fees for 2021 2021 (1st year) 2022 (2nd year) Total Provisional Quotes
Students from South Africa R97 370 R77 900 R175 270  Download
Students from Southern African
Development Community (SADC) countries
R101 870 R82 390 R184 260  Download
International students from the
rest of Africa (non-SADC)
R106 900 R87 420 R194 320 Download
International students from
the rest of the world
R106 900 R87 420 R194 320 Download
Deposit payable
on acceptance of admission for 2021
Students from South Africa R13 060
Students from SADC countries R50 935
International students
from the rest of Africa (non-SADC)
R53 450
International students
from the rest of the world
R53 450
Application fee for 2021
Application fee (non-refundable;
applicable to all students)
R850
  • Application fee: The application fee must accompany the application. The application fee is not refundable.
  • Travelling, accommodation and meals are for students’ own accounts.
  • USB reserves the right to change the fees at any time.

Overview

The content of MPhil in Futures Studies is aligned with the professional and intellectual skills required of futurists. You will, among others, acquire consultation and facilitation capabilities, and learn how to manage projects and do stakeholder analysis, environmental scanning, scenario planning and strategic planning.

This programme runs over two years, covering five modules and a research assignment. For the course-based part of the programme, you can choose between attending weekly classes on campus or online, downstreaming the classes by logging in via any internet-linked device (blended learning). See how blended learning works at USB.

Core Modules

This programme consists of 5 modules:

  • Scanning the Environment
  • Demography
  • Technology Futures
  • Applied Futures Studies
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Futures Studies Methods

Research assignment

You need to complete a research assignment during the second year of enrolment which counts for 80 of your total course credits. This assignment gives you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you have acquired to a field of your choice.

Futures Studies is not about predicting the future, but rather about understanding how various futures will unfold. It analyses the interaction between a wide range of variables or forces, and distils from these forces those issues that will affect the future of a country, government, entity or individual. It studies the world of economics, politics, technology, demography, social values and other subject fields, both locally and globally. It equips decision makers with ways to deal with change and to make the right decisions to survive but preferably thrive in a changing world. Futures Studies is therefore about acquiring strategic foresight to make long-range decisions in order to leverage competitive risk mitigation and opportunity sensing.

Complete and pass USB‘s Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies with an average of at least 65%.

NOTE: International students require a SAQA evaluation to evaluate your degree according to South African standards.  USB’s International Affairs Office will handle your credential evaluation free of charge.  Please complete an online application, upload all certificates to your application. The international office will conduct an in-house credential evaluation, after we received your submission and application fee, as part of the process.

PROGRAMME HEAD
Professor André Roux

Professor André Roux is the programme head of USB’s Futures Studies programmes. His areas of expertise are Management Economics and Futures Studies. He holds a PhD from Stellenbosch University. He lectures on Economics and Futures Thinking at USB, in other African countries and in Europe. In 2016 and 2017, he won the Best Lecturer Award in Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

Programme Ambassadors

These programme ambassadors are current students and alumni who support prospective students in their new stage of life and share their personal experience about studying at USB.

Doris Viljoen USB Alumnus

Doris Viljoen 
Senior Futurist at IFR

dorisv@ifr.sun.ac.za

deidre samson futures studies

Deidre Samson
Futurist; Strategist; Inovation Specialist; Future World of Work

deidre@future-fit.co.za

Masters in future studies
  • Who should enrol?
  • What will you gain?

Futures Studies serves the needs of individuals, groups, organisations and governments that wish to gain an understanding of possible changes in their long-term future and to respond accordingly. This is particularly important in the light of Africa’s and South Africa’s imperative to raise the quality of life. The programme is therefore aimed at:

  • Strategic planners, managing directors, CEOs and anybody involved in strategic planning over five to 20 years and longer
  • Anyone who wants to play a role in creating a better future for South Africa and for Africa.

This programme will prepare you for senior-level positions in public and private corporations, in government, financial institutions and global institutions.

  • Acquire strategic foresight and make better long-term decisions: This qualification will equip decision makers and strategic planners with essential skills to make strategic long-term decisions so that they can deal with rapid and complex changes both locally and internationally.
  • Deal with change and complexity: This programme will equip you with ways to deal with change and to make the right decisions to at least survive but preferably thrive as a result of change. It will also equip you with techniques and methods to react meaningfully to the growing complexity in the organisational environment and world affairs, especially from an African perspective.
  • Make Futures Studies work for you: You will be encouraged to develop your own models and practical applications, design protocols and test these in a variety of environments.
  • Become a professional futurist: The programme content is aligned with the professional and intellectual skills required for futurists – such as consultation and facilitation capabilities, stakeholder analysis, environmental scanning, systems simulation and strategic planning. The research assignment is regarded as the culmination of the learning experience, offering you the opportunity to apply the knowledge and abilities you have acquired to a field of your choice.

Testimonials from our alumni

‘I found the PGDip in Futures Studies incredibly rewarding. Although it is part of the Business School, the course itself is interdisciplinary. It not only helped me in aspects of my job but, more importantly, it has enabled me to see the world at large with fresh eyes.’

Liz Hillock, Postgraduate Diploma in Futures Studies 2014, has subsequently completed her MPhil in Futures Studies,

‘In a rapidly changing world, the ability to interpret and influence your environment can make the difference between securing your relevance in tomorrow’s world – or an irreversible error for your organisation’s future. This multidisciplinary programme is for those who recognise that the globalised and highly dynamic world is no longer business as usual, and who want to stay ahead by strategically shaping today’s developments for tomorrow’s success.’

Isaac Nkama, Director at Facilitation Africa, PGDip and MPhil in Futures Studies,

FAQs

Futures Studies is about acquiring strategic foresight to make long-range decisions in order to mitigate risk and identify opportunities. You will gain an understanding how various futures will unfold so that you can make better decisions. Futures Studies analyses the interaction between a wide range of variables or forces, and distils from these forces those issues that will affect the future of a country, government, entity or individual. It studies the world of economics, politics, technology, demography, social values and other subject fields, both locally and globally. It therefore equips decision makers with ways to deal with change and to make the right decisions to survive but preferably thrive in a changing world.

If you play a role in the direction of a business, the decisions you make must be aligned with where the business world is going. Futures Studies will enhance your understanding of possible changes in the long-term future and equip you with the correct methods to respond accordingly. This will enable you to make better use of opportunities and also to contain risks more effectively.

The programme is therefore aimed at strategic planners, managing directors, CEOs and anybody involved in strategic long-term planning, and also to anyone who wants to play a role in creating a better future for South Africa and for Africa. The content of the programme is aligned with the professional and intellectual skills required of futurists. You will, among others, acquire consultation and facilitation capabilities, and learn how to manage projects and do stakeholder analysis, environmental scanning, scenario planning and strategic planning. This prepares you for senior-level positions in public and private corporations, in government, financial institutions and global institutions.

This programme is conducted over a two year period.

The closing dates for each programme appear on the web page for that programme. In general, the closing dates for international applicants from non-SADC African countries and rest of world close approximately three months prior to the closing date for applicants from South Africa and (visa-exempt) SADC countries. Obtaining a study permit (study visa) from the South African authorities takes up to 12 weeks from the date of being offered a place on a programme at USB – hence the early application deadline for international students. RPL candidates (all programmes) need to apply by 30 October each year. Late applications after the closing dates will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

The course content is presented through a series of lectures and workshops, delivered in blended learning format. With blended learning you can choose between on-campus classes and online classes. This makes the programme convenient and accessible for busy business people and executives. It also means you can study while you work. Students have to be thoroughly prepared for blended learning lectures so as to extract optimal benefit from contact sessions.

For the course-based part of the programme, you can choose between attending weekly classes (4-hour classes) on campus or, alternatively, downstreaming the classes by logging in and participating online using your own computer or device.

Related programmes

Research

This PhD is the only one of its kind in ...

Blended

Understand the forces and trends that sh...