Pre-Doctoral Programme

The Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University offers a one-year pre-doctoral programme in conjunction with its programme of support for its Doctoral scholars comprising doctoral weeks and online communication.  Thus, in addition to the Doctoral scholars in the programme, there are a number of Pre-Docs. Pre-Docs are people who join the programme without being registered students and are thus guests at the University.


There are a number of reasons for people being Pre-Docs rather than registered Doctoral scholars. Pre-Docs may elect to participate in the programme in this more informal manner because they are unsure of their research field or topic and use the programme as a mechanism of support through which to determine this. Alternatively Pre-Docs may be advised to join the programme because they are new to the field of Education or a particular specialisation within the field and need the additional time to become familiar with this or to grapple with conceptual and theoretical issues.

The Pre-Doc programme comprises participation in the online forum, attendance at a research design week and at three Doc Weeks which run over the course of the year. The programme includes formal assessment throughout the year whereby Pre-Docs get formative feedback on their work as they prepare for possible PhD study.

There are numerous benefits associated with participation in the programme such as having a community of fellow researchers with whom to engage, having access to a forum to present one’s ideas and plans and having access to various resources.

The Pre-Doc year contributes to Pre-Docs being able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of key issues in higher education in general and their specialisation in particular
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the scope of the field of study
  • Demonstrate engagement with relevant literature and an ability to position the prospective study in the light of the literature
  • Develop a researchable research question for their prospective study
  • Decide on an appropriate research methodology to address the research question
  • Consider practical and theoretical aspects relating to the generation, documentation and analysis of data
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of, and insight into, research design.


More information about the Pre-Doc programme is available here: Pre-Doc in Higher Education Studies.

If you wish to apply for the Pre-Doc programme, please send a brief concept note (approx. 3-5 pages) outlining your research interests as well as your CV to Dr Kirstin Wilmot (


Last Modified: Mon, 24 Jan 2022 12:46:53 SAST