Working to Advance Health Equity in Africa


Developing African academics to approach health challenges in Africa

The aim of the doctoral programme is to produce a high calibre of leaders in the area of health research. The programme provides robust training to emerging scholars on understanding how evidence-based research interfaces with policy issues, in solving complex health problems. Further practical training in devising, evaluating or implementing policy solutions is also offered. Graduates are supported as early career scientists through post-doctoral scholarships and related professional development initiatives.

Students work in an interdisciplinary environment where real issues, rather than the nuances of debates within specific academic disciplines, take priority in the formation and execution of research questions and strategies. They focus their research on practical challenges, facing a range of different governments and publicly oriented agencies. In addition to developing their academic expertise, students learn how to communicate their findings and analysis effectively so as to have real impact on governments.


**Please note that applications for the 2017 scholarships have now closed.**

PhD Applicants

HEARD launched its new PhD programme in Global Health at the start of 2015, designed to produce leaders in HIV and AIDS and African health research. Our Scholarship Programme aims to emphasise the mastery of quantitative and qualitative methods for understanding policy problems and for devising, evaluating and/or implementing policy solutions. The aim of providing PhD scholarships is to produce expertly qualified graduates to advise or to be part of influential policy making organisations in Africa.

Through its emphasis on the mastery of quantitative and qualitative analysis, the programme provides robust training for understanding policy problems and for evaluating, devising and implementing policy solutions.

Award of the HEARD PhD research scholarship is conditional on candidates meeting the requirements for a PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Students will be required to participate in a compulsory training component during the first year of study. The training component will be conducted over four one-week blocks during the first year of study. Candidates will produce a thesis related to one of HEARDs priority research nodes, as detailed above.

During their PhD, students will be strongly encouraged to present their work at international meetings and funds will be made available for this purpose.

Applications are invited from citizens of all African countries. Female candidates and, in the case of South Africa, those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, are especially encouraged to apply.

Applicants must:

  • Hold a Master’s Degree in a Social Science or Economics (first or upper second class pass or its equivalent)
  • Undertake to register for a PhD dissertation (full time) at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) on a topic relevant to HEARD’s strategic focus areas
  • Meet the requirements for PhD registration at UKZN.
  • Make a commitment to be based on the African continent for at least two years after graduation.

Applications for the 2017 scholarships have now closed.

The value of each scholarship is R270, 000 and intended for personal expenses as full time PhD students do not pay fees. The money will be paid in tranches of equal value over three years. Tranche payments will be paid subject to satisfactory research progress.  Successful candidates will be based in Durban, South Africa, for the duration of the scholarship, with the exception of the time during which they may undertake field research elsewhere.

  • Acceptance will be based on supervision capacity in relation to the selected topic.
  • Funding will be renewed annually over the three-year period subject to satisfactory progress.
  • The first scholarship tranche will be released on proof of PhD registration and the opening of a South African bank account.
  • Forms not submitted on the required online form will not be considered.
  • If you have not received a reply within 8 weeks of the closing date, kindly consider your application unsuccessful.