Most doctorates to date to be awarded at SU Graduation ceremonies

From 11-14 March, Stellenbosch University (SU) will confer the most doctorates during a single graduation week to date.

Oudpres Joaquim Chissano

Former president Joaquim Chissano

At the four March Graduation ceremonies – from Monday 11 March to Thursday 14 March 2013 – 130 doctorates are to be conferred. Combined with the doctorates awarded in December 2012 (degrees awarded in March form part of the previous academic year) it is also the most doctorates awarded in a single academic year (2012) namely 240.

This increase must be viewed in the light of a critical shortage of doctorates in South Africa. The country delivers some 28 PhD degrees per million people of the population. This is much less than what is needed to support a knowledge-based South African economy (measured against the 48 in Brazil, 187 in Korea and 264 in Australia). According to the National Development Plan, the number of doctorates awarded annually has to be increased to 5000 by 2030 (100 per million people). It was 1421 in 2010.

Some 2940 Maties will receive their degrees at the four ceremonies in the DF Malan Memorial Centre at Coetzenburg in Stellenbosch while three honorary doctorates will also be awarded.

The degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), honoris causa, will be awarded to Joaquim Chissano as a respected statesman who played a major role in Mozambique’s independence from colonial rule, and in his country’s socio-economic growth and political reforms; and for his continuing role as peace broker in Africa.

The Degree Doctor of Science (DSc), honoris causa, will be awarded to James Laing Barnard for his discovery and development of economical biological nutrient removal (BNR) – the most important international wastewater treatment innovation the past fifty years – and for his dedication to advancing and sharing knowledge on BNR resulting in incalculable improvements in the quality of life for millions of people, cost-effective water treatment and secure water resources while mitigating the environmental impact.

The University will bestow the degree Doctor of Science (DSc), honoris causa, upon Prof Wieland Gevers, for his truly outstanding contribution to the promotion and advancement of science and the development of research capacity in South Africa; and for his sound leadership in the establishment and direction of numerous academic and scientific management structures.

On Monday 11 March, at 16:30, degrees will be awarded in the Faculties Arts and Social Sciences, Law, Theology and Military Sciences, while student of the Faculties of AgriSciences and Economic and Management Sciences (Group A), will receive their degrees on Tuesday 12 March, also at 16:30. Students in the Faculties of Education, Economic and Management Sciences (Group B) will be awarded their degrees on Wednesday at 16:30 while it is the turn of students in the Faculties of Science, Engineering and Medicine and Health Sciences on Thursday 14 March – also at 16:30. The honorary doctorates will also be awarded at Thursday’s ceremony.

Nineteen PhD graduates who registered in 2010 and 2011 for doctoral studies via the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, a HOPE Project initiative in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SU, have been awarded doctoral degrees in the 2012 academic year. (17 will be awarded at the graduation ceremony on Monday). The Faculty is also celebrating another milestone: a record 56 graduates obtaining their doctoral degrees in the 2012 academic year.

Graduates are requested to report to the venue at least two hours prior to the event while friends and family are reminded to allow for ample travelling time as traffic to and from Stellenbosch can be congested at times.

  • Visit for more information. The ceremonies will also be streamed live at
  • Click here for more information on the recipients of honorary degrees.