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NRF funded Masters/PhD bursaries

Unbundling Higher Education:
Researching digital technology and emerging models in unequal landscapes.

NRF funded Masters/PhD bursaries available

(Please note: this is a re-advertisement and previous applicants need not reapply)

Applications are invited for 2 Masters and 1 PhD bursary, funded by the NRF, on the ‘unbundling higher education’ project. The project is based at the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at the University of Cape Town. It investigates the opportunities that unbundling and new provision models offer for addressing South African and English higher education challenges.

The South African Higher Education System is changing rapidly.  Educational technologies, public-private partnerships and shifting employer expectations are changing the nature of Higher Education in South Africa. There are also exciting new ways of doing courses and qualifications, including through online short courses and Massive Open Online Courses. 

So far, there has been very little research on how exactly the higher education system is changing in South Africa. How are new models and technologies being used by universities and private providers? How do they address social and educational inequalities?

Possible areas that applicants might research include, but are not limited to: 

1) The rise of private higher education in South Africa
2) The use of technology in higher education: staff and student experiences
3) Online learning and educational inequalities

More information on the broader project, run in conjunction with Leeds university, can be found at



Masters bursaries are for R60 000 per annum (offered initially for 1 year, renewable for a further year subject to suitable progress)

PhD bursaries are offered at R80 000 per annum (offered initially for 1 year, renewable for a further two years subject to suitable progress)


Application process: 

Applications are welcomed from students who have completed, or are about to submit, an Honours degree in a relevant field of study, for example Education, Sociology, Politics, Philosophy, History, Psychology, Economics or a cognate discipline.

Applicants should be willing to contribute to the team’s research and must show an interest in research relating to the themes of the project, international development, educational technologies or the changing nature of Higher Education. 

Please send Dr Rada Mogliacci ( the following documentation, by no later than 5 March 2018:

  1. a full CV;
  2. academic transcripts;
  3. the names and contact details of at least two academics who have taught, supervised or worked alongside the you; and
  4. a motivation letter, detailing your background, experience, and your interest in the project. 

Shortlisted applicants will be contacted for an interview with the project team. Informal queries regarding the bursaries can be sent to Dr Rada Mogliacci.

The University of Cape Town reserves the right to:

  • disqualify ineligible, incomplete and / or inappropriate applications, and
  • change the conditions of award or to make no awards at all.

These bursaries are subject to the following terms:

  • Preference will be given to South African nationals
  • Bursary holders are only permitted to undertake 12 hours of paid work per week during term time.