Doctoral studies in peacebuilding 2018


Durban University of Technology offers Doctoral degrees in peacebuilding by research. From both practical and theoretical perspectives, we examine how conflicts can best be prevented from becoming violent and how individuals, communities and societies can best recover from violence. Our emphasis is on how to transform the conflicts which underlie violence by working to improve the relationships between the parties involved.
The degrees are offered by distance but students are required to spend two months as full-time, on-campus students in the first year (in 2018, from 9am on Monday, 5th February to 5 pm on Wednesday, 28th March), plus one week in their second year (probably in the third week of January). Students are more than welcome to stay longer; indeed, we recommend it.
During their time on campus, students will attend seminars and submit papers on research methods, the thesis writing process, key concepts in peacebuilding and have workshops on applied peacebuilding skills. Field trips to peace-related sites are also organised. This provide the necessary foundation to begin their research proposals, the final version of which will be due in July.
Applications must be received by Thursday, 31 August 2017. Applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application by email in the week commencing Monday, 11 September 2017.
We are currently not accepting Master’s students (see Frequently Asked Questions [FAQ] 2).

Entry requirements
A successful applicant will normally meet all of the following requirements:
• A Master’s degree with a research component, normally at an upper second class level (70%) or above. For universities following a US grading scheme e.g. Africa University, the normal requirement is an A- average or above.
• Strong written and spoken English.
• Good access to email and the web.
• Relevant life experience beyond studying at university.
• A commitment to attend the university full-time (see the dates above) at the start of their studies, and a week at the start of their second year.
• A commitment to devote a minimum of 12-15 hours per week to thesis work, on average, following the on-campus period. Where students are employed, support for this commitment will need to be negotiated with their employer.

Thesis topics
Students are encouraged to work on action research topics which directly build peace among individuals and communities. Action research means that some peace can be built as part of the thesis work (see FAQ 8). Some examples illustrate this emphasis:
• Topics in restorative justice e.g. planning and implementing a victim: offender mediation service; family conferences for prisoners and their families; restorative discipline practices in schools
• Prevention of gender-based violence
• Planning and implementing programmes to build more peaceful schools
• Planning and implementing a nonviolent campaign
• Planning and implementing a programme to build peace within an organization, between long term opponents e.g. political parties; or between ethnic or religious groups
• Planning and implementing a programme to help individuals heal from trauma e.g. as a result of community violence.
A list of completed PhD theses is provided below.

Currently, DUT offers free tuition for Doctoral students for the first three years. Thereafter, it is possible that tuition fees will be charged; in 2018, these were around R20 000. It also supports the costs of data collection and for the preparation of the final version of the thesis for submission.
Students need to meet any visa fees and the cost of travelling to and from Durban for the on-campus sessions – one in 2018 and one in 2019 – plus accommodation and food costs here.

Applications for 2018
Applications should be submitted to not later than 5pm, Thursday, August 31, 2017. All applicants will be notified by email of the outcome of their application in the week commencing Monday, September 11, 2017. See page 7 for a list of the documents required.

Further information
Professor Geoff Harris, International Centre of Nonviolence, Durban University of Technology, Box 1334, Durban 4000, South Africa. Telephone +27-31-373-5609 (international) or within South Africa 031-373-5609
Dr Sylvia Kaye, International Centre of Nonviolence, Durban University of Technology, Box 1334, Durban 4000, South Africa. Telephone +27-31-373-6860 (international) or within South Africa 031-373-6860,
PhD graduates, as at mid-2017
Olusegun Adebayo (Nigeria), Building capacity for conflict-sensitive media reportage of elections in Nigeria.
Jean de Dieu Basabose (Rwanda), Anti-corruption education as a way of building positive peace in Rwanda.
Bosco Binenwa (Rwanda), Reintegrating ex-combatants: an action research project in a Rwandan agricultural cooperative.
Diaku Dianzenza (DRC/South Africa), Training young men in responsible, loving and nonviolent parenting.
Mediel Hove (Zimbabwe), Nonviolent campaigns in Zimbabwe, 1995-2013: strategies, methods and effectiveness.
Oseremen Irene (Nigeria), Institutionalising peace in Nigeria: a participatory action research project.
Jean Chrysostome Kyala Kimbuku (DRC/South Africa), Preventing children’s participation in armed conflict in North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo
David Makwere (Zimbabwe), Developing peacebuilding skills among community service organisations in Zimbabwe.
Ntombezakhe Moyo (Zimbabwe), Peacebuilding among prisoners and their families: enhancing the impact of the Second Chance Rehabilitation Centre, Bulawayo.
Cyprian Muchemwa (Zimbabwe), Building friendship between Shona and Ndebele in Zimbabwe.
Dumisani Ngwenya (Zimbabwe), Healing the wounds of Gukarahundi: a participatory action research project.
Kudakwashe Shonhiwa (Zimbabwe), Facilitating the reconciliation of divided communities in Mashonaland, Zimbabwe.

Frequently asked questions
1. When should I apply in order to commence in 2018?
Before the end of August, 2017. You will be emailed the result of your application in the week commencing Monday, September 11, 2017.
2. Is it possible for me to do a Master’s degree in Peacebuilding at DUT?
Currently no, but we are involved in a new Master’s programme, using a mixture of full-time sessions and distance study, which begins in Bulawayo in mid-2017. Further details can be obtained from We can provide a list of other South African universities which offer Master’s degrees in peace studies.
3. Is attendance at the university compulsory for the required period in 2018 and a further week in 2019?
Absolutely. We realise that attendance may involve sacrifice. However, it will be a fantastic learning experience and our experience tells us that without such an investment, your chances of completing a Doctorate are low.
4. Are there scholarships and financial assistance?
DUT currently offers free tuition fees for the first three years of the PhD. There is also assistance for fieldwork and other research costs (up to a total of R15 000).
As noted, for non-South Africans, there are travel, accommodation, medical aid (if over three months in South Africa) and costs associated with the visa process. DUT currently offers scholarships for PhD students of R4,000 a month for 30 months, which is just enough to live as a single person in Durban. If you are employed and are therefore a part-time student, or are on leave with pay, it is assumed you are able to finance yourself from your income, savings or support from your employer. If this applies to you, please do not apply for a scholarship.
There are some alternatives but these only apply to genuinely full-time students.
• South Africa’s National Research Foundation (NRF) offers various postgraduate scholarships for South African citizens and permanent residents, with a small number for those from elsewhere. For further information, see and click on Funding. The basic scholarship is the NRF Free Standing Master’s and Doctoral Programme.
For South Africans holding a university post, the NRF administers DAAD in-country scholarships (same website).
• The Canon Collins Educational Trust in the UK offers scholarships for study in South Africa to citizens and those with refugee status in the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For further information, see
• Next Generation of Social Scientists in Africa, focusing on peace, security and development. Aimed at early career academics in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Three types of support are offered: proposal development, dissertation research and dissertation completion. For further information, see
You are expected to be completely honest and transparent when applying for any financial assistance. If you are given a scholarship but then secure employment of more than 10 hours per week, you must relinquish the scholarship. This will allow other full-time students who are not working to receive one.
5. What does it mean to be a full-time as opposed to a part-time student?
To register as a full-time student means that you are able to devote 40 hours per week (five full days) to study. Part-time students are expected to devote a minimum of 12-15 hours per week.
6. Does the university provide accommodation during my on-campus period?
No, but we will advise you about where you can stay (at your expense).
7. How quickly can I finish the degree?
The normal minimum time for completion of a Doctoral degree it is three years. If you are studying part-time, it will take five years. Good research takes time. It cannot be hurried.
8. Why do we insist on action research?
The main reason is that we want you to do research that builds some peace now. Put a little differently, we want you to do much more than sit in front of a computer writing a long report which will be read by a only a handful of people. We want you to be out where there is conflict and violence, listening to the people involved and working with them to build peace. This will help you acquire research skills and to integrate peace theory with peace practice.
9. Will a non-South African degree qualify me for entry to a PhD?
Probably yes. We will make a judgement concerning your previous degree(s) and you do not need to apply for a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) evaluation.
10. What if I am still completing my current degree and will not have the degree certificate and transcripts until much later than the cut-off date for applications?
DUT will not accept you without proof of completed qualifications so you will probably have to defer your studies.
11. When I go back home, what support will I get?
We will be in touch with you regularly by email. Depending on the technology available in your country, we may be able to arrange for skype and webinars.
Using the foundation provided by your on-campus time, you will complete assignments and finalize your research proposal. After the proposal has been accepted, you begin your fieldwork. You are encouraged to keep in touch with your supervisor and to send in draft chapters when these are completed. These will be returned timeously with comments.
12. Do I need web access as well as email?
Yes, definitely.
13. Can I come back to the university to spend time writing up and consulting with my supervisor?
Yes, you will be welcome.
14. What are the biggest challenges I am likely to face?
Finding time for your studies is the most common challenge. You will have to reorganize your life and give up some current activities.
15. What if I don’t perform at the required standard?
There are regular performance reviews designed to help us make any necessary decisions about your future.
16. I am a not a South African. When I complete my degree, what is the likelihood that I could get a job in South Africa?
Very, very small. In any case, it is our hope that you will use your studies to build peace in your own country.
17. How can I find out more?
See the university website
For the International Centre of Nonviolence, see
For the Postgraduate Students Handbook, see

The application process for 2018

Please read the 2018 information booklet carefully.

Minimum entry requirements:

• A Master’s degree with a research component, normally at an upper second class level (70%+) or above. For universities following a US grading scheme e.g. Africa University, the normal requirement is an A- average or above
• Strong written and spoken English.
• Relevant life experience beyond studying at university.
Three points to note:
• We will acknowledge receipt of your application; if you do not receive a reply within a week, please enquire
• Competition for places is always very strong
• We will be striving for gender equity and diversity
Please submit the following:
• Postgraduate application form
• Application in terms of rule G10 … form
• Copy of your passport or South African identity document (certified)
• Certified copies of your university degree certificates and transcripts [i.e. courses, marks]. These do not need to be evaluated by SAQA)
• Your CV
• A 1-2 page essay in which you state
o Your motives for wanting to undertake the degree
o The topic which you plan to research
o Your hopes for the future, after completing your studies
• On a separate page, an explanation of the time you will have available for study. Bear in mind that the normal minimum time for a full-time PhD student to complete is three years.
Applications should be submitted to not later than 5pm, Thursday, August 31, 2017. All applicants will be notified by email of the outcome of their application in the week commencing Monday, September 11, 2017.