Whether as Honours or Masters by coursework and minor dissertation (when you start courses), or as PhD or full dissertation Masters (necessary for acceptance), you will need to pair with a supervisor. Browse the CSAG/EGS websites, have a look at current projects, people profiles, past supervision, etc. and first identify a few potential supervisors. Contact them directly (UCT emails are, with an updated CV/transcripts, a few research ideas, a plan for funding, etc. Engage them, discuss research topics, and slowly advance toward identifying the right supervisor(s) for you.

On the importance of funding. If you have secured a funding, the major hurdle is to find an available supervisor. If you have not secured a funding the major hurdle is to do so. Potential supervisors only (very) rarely will have funding available for you, and if they do, you would likely have replied to the advert they sent out. Your best play: find your own funding, allowing you to apply for the topic you want, where ever you want. See linked information below on “seeking funding” for further assistance.


IMPORTANT: you need to apply to the University of Cape Town AND the Environmental and Geographical Science Department.

Deadlines: 31-MAR and 31-OCT ( for start in following JULY and JANUARY respectively)

Identifying a supervisor is NECESSARY for application

Deadline: 31-AUG yearly (for start in following JANUARY)

Identifying a supervisor is NOT necessary for application

Deadline: 31-OCT yearly (for start in following JANUARY)

Identifying a supervisor is NOT necessary for application

Assuming you submitted all in time, your application will first go through a faculty curriculum check and then to a departmental merit selection. For Honours and Masters by coursework and minor dissertation, acceptance is decided at this stage. For PhD and full dissertation Masters, your application will then go through to potential supervisors, starting with the ones you named in your application. Your application will be accepted only if a supervisor is found. Consequently, we suggest that you seek and engage with potential supervisors prior to application, hence allowing you to identify adequate supervisors (scientific match and availability).


There are too many opportunities for funding for us to list here. Here are a few suggestions and starting points.

  • Timing. Often you will need to apply for funding even before you apply to your postgraduate programme. Be proactive and apply rather than wait.
  • Scientific fit. Target funding that is sufficiently aligned with your research ambitions. Feel free to discuss best application strategies with potential supervisors.
  • Individual fit. A number of funding opportunities target specific groups (e.g. citizenship, gender). Take advantage of these targeted opportunities.
  • Subscribe to a few opportunities newsletters and be automatically updated on new opportunities.

Past Students Funding Examples: