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PhD in Maternal Child Health & Health Communication

Are you a Masters prepared nurse or other health professional with the drive to study further and have an interest in Maternal Child Health or Health Communication?

The Children's Nursing Development Unit is in its third year of facilitating PhD candidates who will acquire their degrees through dissertation. Structured and individualised supervision is provided throughout and our aim is to develop maternal child health leaders into competent researchers who will be able to increasingly contribute to developing local practice models and evidence around indigenous knowledge in the care of children and their families. Candidates registered for a PhD in Maternal Child Health will focus their research in the area of paediatric and child health, with a specific interest in involving families in the care of children.  Currently we are aligning the work of candidates keen to pursue the growing field of Health Communication to the area of involving families in the care of their children and the range of communication challenges this brings.

There are two PhD programme options:

  • PhD in Maternal Child Health
  • PhD in Health Communication

(HEQF qualification: PhD degree, offered over min two years, with set periods of time at UCT )

For information about PhD programmes, please visit the UCT Health Sciences Faculty Handbook – postgraduate programmes. 

How is the PhD programme structured? 

The PhD programme is structured around a series of seminars aimed at intensive and intentional project design and professional academic growth. During their first year in the programme, students choose, refine and develop their topics, choose their theoretical frameworks, and develop their research methodology. The outcome for Year One is submission of a full research proposal to the Human Research and Ethics Council (FHS – UCT) following a rigorous peer review process. Students will spend six months of the year at the CNDU in Cape Town, working closely with peers as they develop their research ideas. Years 2 and 3 will, firstly, see them deployed in their chosen fieldwork settings where they will be gathering data, then in their home settings where they will be analysing and writing up their data. 

Most of their contact with CNDU, outside of intensive study blocks based at CNDU, will be through electronic means.  A bespoke programme addressing personal, professional and academic development is in place to maximise this learning opportunity and ensure full integration between PhD students and the wider work of the Initiative. 

What are the admission requirements for a PhD in Maternal Child Health and the PhD in Health Communication?

  • 2000 word proposal for your study (in alignment with CNDU directive) – including your study context; problem statement and approach
  • Certified copy of Master’s degree certificate
  • Original degree transcripts
  • Certified copy of Identity Document and Passport
  • Short Curriculum Vitae

Candidates from anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa or from elsewhere, but wishing to work in in Maternal Child Health in sub-Saharan Africa on graduation, will be welcome to submit proposals indicating their interest in our field of research with a specific interest in involving families in the care of children. Proposals may be as wide as policy, health systems strengthening, health communication, education and community development.

Each application will be individually assessed to ensure that our resources are best aligned to you and your study goals.

How do I apply for the course?

Whilst formal application for the PhD needs to happen online through the UCT website, informal discussion with Prof Minette Coetzee is encouraged prior to application. All initial enquiries to be addressed to Mrs Jane Vos, Programme Manager (jane.vos@uct.ac.za).