Undertaking a PhD in English Literature at UCT requires the successful navigation of several administrative procedures and milestones. They are outlined here in chronological order from registration to examination.


Registration is processed in the Faculty Office. The student is required to complete a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and to obtain the signatures of the Programme Convenor or HoD and the Dean’s representative (Deputy Dean of Research, Director of Graduate Programmes, or Graduate Programmes Officer) before the registration is completed and recorded on the system.

If the recommendation of the HDC is a provisional registration pending further work to the proposal, such a student may be provisionally registered for a period of six months after which the registration is reviewed. Provisional registration will only be extended if a revised proposal is submitted and approved by the HOD. If no revised proposal is forthcoming, the registration will be cancelled.

Detailed research proposal

Doctoral candidates should complete a 4 000-word detailed research proposal within six months of initial acceptance by the department to the satisfaction of a Departmental Proposal Committee, the Faculty and the UCT Doctoral Degrees Board. Proposals may be returned for revision. If, on resubmission, they are still found to be unsatisfactory, the Department may terminate a student’s registration.

Progress monitoring 

Continuing students' performance is monitored annually. Before re-registration is recommended in subsequent years, supervisors confirm through the HDC that progress has been satisfactory (in October each year). The HOD reports to Faculty Examinations Committee on the progress of students registered for a PhD.

The Faculty Office enters the appropriate code for each student (CON for continue or IND for poor progress). Students whose progress is deemed by the supervisor and HDC to be unsatisfactory are informed by the GSH that re-registration will not be permitted. Students exceeding the recommended time for the degree are also informed of this.


Examination of Doctoral theses is administered by the Doctoral Degrees Office (DDO). Candidates are required to advise the DDO of intention to submit by advertised dates. Once such notice is received, the DDO requests nominations for examiners from supervisors. Nominations are put to the Doctoral Committee of Assessors for Faculty approval, and if supported, submitted to DDO for Doctoral Degrees Board approval. Thesis is submitted to DDO for examination.


Download this information as a Word document (including guidance on writing your research proposal)