2023 MSc and PhD Research Opportunities at SAAO Bursary

To do postgraduate research at SAAO students must register with a South African University and those who require funding must apply to the NRF, following the standard procedures.




Note that NRF are advising students to apply as soon as they can to prevent IT overload near the cut-off dates.

Students of any nationality are eligible to apply for NRF bursaries, however, strong preference is given to South African citizens and permanent residents.

Application process


If you are a student wishing to do research at SAAO under the (co)supervision of an SAAO staff member you should:

1) Send your CV to the SAAO staff member(s) offering the project(s) you are interested in. Discuss the research with them to determine if you have the required qualifications, skills and abilities to undertake the project. You may contact as many potential supervisors as you like.

2) If an SAAO staff member agrees to supervise you, discuss with them which university you should apply to register with.

3) You will need to register with ORCID (https://orcid.org/) and get a number before you can apply for the NRF grant through the university.

4) Apply to the NRF for funding through the university, with the active support of your proposed SAAO supervisor, who will ensure you fill in the correct details in all sections. This is important as applications are often rejected on technicalities.

5) Once you have finished this process send your application number to your SAAO supervisor.

The closing date for NRF applications for 2023 via UCT is 8 July 2022. Other universities could be earlier, so please check directly. Completing the NRF application will take time, and requires various documents and letters. It is essential that you complete your discussions with your potential supervisor(s) well before the deadline.

IMPORTANT: If you require funding, you must ensure that you qualify for NRF support as this is the primary mechanism we have to provide you with a bursary.

Any general enquiries about postgraduate studies at SAAO should be sent to pdp@saao.ac.za.

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