Application and selection process
Who can apply?
Applications are welcome particularly from students in Africa. Citizens of African countries are the main target group for this programme. Special consideration will also be given to African students who can fund their studies. Applicants from Africa, therefore, qualify for sponsorship consideration if selected for the programme. Applications are also welcome from other parts of the world and a few students have been admitted from the United States of America, Spain and Finland. However, applicants who are not citizens of African countries do not qualify for financial sponsorship and must cover all expenses to attend the programme.
Can I receive application materials through the post?
There are no brochures or application paraphernalia which are sent by post. All information about the programme is available on the website of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) - www.chr.up.ac.za
Is there an application fee?
There is no application fee.
In the selection process is preferential treatment given to female candidates and other minorities?
The programme pays attention to issues of gender balance, the inclusion of LGBTI persons and persons from indigenous and minority groups. In doing so, the issue of non-discrimination is taken very seriously so that other candidates are not unfairly or unjustly treated. The overriding criterion in the selection process remains academic excellence, the need to select candidates who are able to complete the programme successfully and work in the field of human rights and democratisation.
How many students are admitted to the programme?
A maximum of 25 sponsored students are admitted to the programme every year. Five additional students may be admitted if they are self-sponsored. The total number cannot exceed 30 students for pedagogical reasons. Also, there are limitations in terms of numbers that can be accommodated in the classrooms and the residences.
Is there a maximum number of students who are admitted from each country?
The aim of the programme is to admit as many nationalities to the programme as possible. Attempts are made to ensure that 25 countries are represented but this is not always possible. In instances where a country has very good applications and other countries did not apply, then generally not more than 3-4 individuals from any one country are admitted.
How does one apply for funding and is one assured of a scholarship?
When you submit your application you should motivate why you should be considered for financial assistance.
The 30 selected students have in the past been assured of full scholarships. However, the programme is donor-funded and the situation could change if the required amount of money is not raised.
Non-African students, i.e. students who are not citizens of African countries, do not qualify for scholarships. This is on the basis of conditions laid down by the funding institutions.
My university does not give transcripts to former students yet I am required to submit all my documentation together, what should I do?
Submit whatever information you have and make sure that you enclose a letter explaining the fact that your former or current university cannot allow you access to your transcript. You should however make arrangements for your university to send your transcript directly to the CHR. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the transcript has reached the CHR. The CHR cannot assist applicants to retrieve their transcripts or other official documents.
Is it only academics who should write my recommendations
The applicant is free to get references from anyone who can vouch for the applicant’s suitability for the programme. Ideally one of the referees should be an academic but if not possible it will not prejudice an applicant who does not submit a reference.
Is the selection process very strict on the length of documentation submitted in the application, e.g. letters of motivation and curriculum vitae (CV)?
In view of the large number of applications received and in order to ensure equality of arms when assessing applications, the length of documents submitted is taken seriously. Unless the documents are official and therefore the applicant has no control on their length, or unless it is a letter of recommendation, applicants must respect the limitation on the length.
After submission of my application, when should I expect feedback?
After the closing date of the application, it takes approximately two months before the selection process is complete and candidates are informed. Unsuccessful candidates are also notified.
How many stages do applications go through during the selection process?
Applications go through four (4) stages of selections. All applications are considered at the same time. There is no provision for rolling admissions. Short-listed candidates are required to write an essay which is assessed and forms part of the selection process.
Can I apply for admission to the programme if I never studied law?
Yes you can. To be eligible to apply for the programme, applicants should have the following degrees:
Law students - A degree allowing access to the legal profession (eg LLB or licence en droit)
Other students (non-law students) - An Honours degree in a discipline relevant to human rights and democratisation
Will I be admitted if I did not undertake my undergraduate studies in English?
Yes, you can be admitted. You will, however, be required to prove that you are competent in the English language. This can be proved through submission of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test results. This is a requirement for admission at the University of Pretoria.
How are applications for admission assessed?
In assessing applications a number of criteria are taken into consideration. These include academic performance, human rights experience or interest, writing skills and ability to cope with the intense nature of the programme.
Does the programme admit only students from Africa?
Students from other parts of the world are welcome to apply and can be admitted to the programme. However, such students do not qualify for sponsorship by the CHR.