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PhD Programme | PLAAS


PLAAS offers the PhD by Full Dissertation and PhD by Publications. Doctoral research should not be undertaken lightly and students should normally have a good research background at the masters level before being considered for admission.

PhD by Full Dissertation in Poverty, Land & Agrarian Studies

It offers specialised training in theories, concepts and research methods appropriate to the emerging field of enquiry of poverty, land and agrarian studies. This will contribute to the further development and strengthening of engaged scholarship on issues of great relevance to societies in Africa in particular, experiencing the rapid transformation of their rural economies.

Scholarship of this kind has a great deal to contribute to policy making, and many of the doctoral students who are trained will work in applied professions such as development planning. Thus another purpose that the programme will serve is to build capacity for effective societal responses to social change. Students are required to complete a monograph study on an approved topic.

PhD by Publications in Poverty, Land & Agrarian Studies

This programme offers students an alternative route to gaining a doctorate. It is tailored for students and future academics opportunities to develop a research identity early on in their studies/careers. It contributes to the early dissemination of new knowledge produced and the impact of the research is more immediate. Students complete a thesis by publications.

To be eligible for this programme candidates must meet the general admission requirements as per the University General Calendar Rule A.2.5.; have relevant publication experience; and find a suitable PLAAS supervisor that has published in the relevant field. For those who qualify, please liaise with the Programme Administrator.

Who Can Apply?

For admission to the PhD in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, applicants must have obtained a Masters degree in Social Sciences, Arts, Law, Humanities, Environmental Sciences and Development Studies or any other relevant discipline.

Students should have achieved a minimum average mark of 65% in the relevant Masters degree. Students must demonstrate a good understanding of their chosen research topic and have research experience in one or more of the following themes – poverty, land and agrarian reform, rural development, and natural resources.

Applying to PLAAS

To apply to one of the PLAAS research programmes, applicants are to:

  • Apply online to UWC at
  • Submit an updated CV outlining your relevant qualifications, working experience, community work, and publications (if applicable).
  • Submit certified copies of your academic transcripts and degree certificates.
  • Submit a draft proposal

Please read the complete PLAAS MPhil & PhD Information Sheet before making your application.


Enquires may be directed to Ms Carla Henry, the Postgraduate Programme Administrator.

  • Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS)
  • Email: 
  • Tel: +27 21 959 3727/3733
  • Fax: +27 21 959 3732
  • University of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville, 7353, Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA