Scholarship to study Arts, Culture, Research or Statistics

The South African Cultural Observatory in partnership with the Department of Arts and Culture is offering scholarships for postgraduate studies to students at South African universities. The scholarship is aimed at future academic staff development without neglecting other sector demands for academically trained personnel.

The South African Cultural Observatory is a Department and Arts and Culture funded entity that aims to professionalise the cultural field by promoting research development of disciplinary studies, training programmes and updating and technical assistance schemes, intended to legitimize and strengthen the field of administration and management of cultural and creative sectors.

One of the major objectives of the South African Cultural Observatory is to significantly increase the number of post-graduate candidates receiving quality education & training; of contributing significantly to our national efforts of human capital development, especially at our tertiary institutions but also for the public and private sectors.

Target Group: Any South African citizen who obtained an average of 65% in the degree preceding the Masters or PHD, and who has shown academic excellence in their field of studies. Priority will be given to designated groups.

The programme addresses young and rising candidates who aim at acquiring a Master’s or PHD degree. Preference will be given to full-time registered young South Africans. South African permanent resident university staff-members studying towards a PHD qualification will also be considered.

Scholarship Description: Scholarship holders will be expected to present a paper based on the dissertation component of their degree, at a workshop in the research group which is relevant to their area of specialisation.

Upon completion of the degree, scholarship holders will be required to submit this and publication will be subject to standard quality verification standards.

Duration of award: Maximum Two Years

Scholarship values are as follows:

Coursework Master’s degree: R50 000
Research Master’s degree: R 80 000
PhD degree: R 120 000

Eligibility Criteria

Please carefully read through the eligibility criteria before applying.

  • Applicants must be South African citizens or hold permanent residence status in South Africa.
  • Applicants must have obtained a minimum accumulative grade average of 65% in the previous degree to be considered.
  • Applicants may come from all those fields of study that have a strong relevance to the national development of the country.
  • Scholarships-holders are allowed to hold supplementary bursaries, grants or emoluments if these bursaries or grants are not from Government Departments or other State Agencies.
  • University staff members applying into the programme will have to provide a supporting letter from their human resource department clearly indicating their working hours and status of employment during the tenure of the award.

Application Documents

The following documents are required in the application attachment section:

  • Proof of South African Identity Document (ID)
  • Official and certified university degree certificates and transcripts indicating a minimum accumulative academic requirement of 65% in previous degree.
  • Admission letter indicating full-time registration (if available). This will be required if successful.
  • A motivation of between 100 and 150 words outlining your intended direction of research, and why the South African Cultural Observatory should consider you for the scholarship above other applicants.

It is the responsibility of the student to find a suitable supervisor and ensure that the supervisor supports the application.

Selection Panel

Applications will be adjudicated by an independent selection panel consisting of South African experts in the various fields, which may include representatives of the Department of Arts and Culture, the South African Cultural Observatory, well as South African academics from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Rhodes University and Fort Hare University.

Post-Awarding Process

Successful candidates will be notified in writing by the South African Cultural Observatory regarding the Scholarship award.

All successful candidates should complete all the necessary documents / conditions of scholarship related to the acceptance of the award.

Quarterly Progress Reports must be submitted to the South African Cultural Observatory by the scholarship-holder and the supervisor detailing progress of the research work.

The South African Cultural Observatory may, during the course of the scholarship, hold annual research events – which the scholarship-holder is expected to attend and may have to present their research work. The same applies should the scholarship holder be invited to be a representative for award ceremonies or other events.

How to Apply

Application form can be obtained from Ms N Mashologu via email:


For any further assistance and information around the South African Cultural Observatory Scholarship programme, please contact Ms N Mashologu (Capacity Building Officer) via email:

Scholarship Application Deadline

15 June 2016 – 16h00. All applications must be submitted via email to Or Fax: 086 644 8211. Any applications received after the deadline will not be considered. No hand delivered or postal applications will be accepted.

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