ACDI Scholarship: MSc/MPhil degree specializing in Climate Change and Sustainable Development


The ACDI invites applications for a scholarship that is available to fund the completion of the MSc/MPhil degree specialising in Climate Change and Sustainable Development at the University of Cape Town in 2018.

The scholarship has been made available by the ASSAR (Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions) research project. ASSAR is a 5 year, multi-institution, IDRC (International Development Research Centre) and DFID (United Kingdom’s Department for International Development) funded project. ASSAR promotes the building of research capacity of nationals in the study countries – Botswana and Namibia.

General conditions:


  • should be a national of Namibia or Botswana;
  • are required to have attained an Honours or 4-year Bachelor’s degree that is deemed to be the equivalent to an Honours degree from the University of Cape Town. Please note that the degree should include a substantial research component and that some four year degrees from the Universities of Namibia and Botswana are not recognised at the same level as those from UCT and should be supplemented with 5 years of work experience in your field to qualify for Recognition of Prior Learning;
  • should have applied for the Master’s programme in Climate Change and Sustainable Development, as outlined at;
  • can only be offered a scholarship if he/she have been accepted onto the Master’s programme in Climate Change and Sustainable Development as outlined at;
  • are required to register for full-time study in the relevant department at the University of Cape Town;
  • should intend to conduct a research project at an ASSAR study site and on a topic related to ASSAR, and  must conduct their research on adaptation to climate change in semi-arid regions;
  • should declare any other sources of funding in which case the ASSAR reserve the right to reduce the size of the value of the scholarship to assist other students in need; and
  • are required to undertake to comply with the university’s approved policies and practices for the postgraduate sector.

Applicants are also required to mention on their application letter for the master’s course that they are applying for funding from the ASSAR project, and to outline their research interests related to the work that ASSAR is conducting in Botswana and Namibia.

Successful candidates are permitted to hold part-time employment of a maximum of 15 hours per week. Such candidates may hold the ASSAR scholarship concurrently with other scholarships however where a candidate has secured sufficient funds the ASSAR reserve the right to reduce the value of the scholarship to assist other students in need. 

Value and tenure:

The value of the scholarship is R120, 000, with support for field research costs on a case by case basis. The scholarship will be tenable for one year.  Renewal of the award will not be considered. Successful candidates will be required to complete the degree in one year.  

Application requirements:

Suitable candidates are required to submit the following documents:

  • a letter of application including research interests and motivation,
  • a confirmation of the submission of the applicant’s admission application to UCT,
  • a curriculum vitae including mention of nationality,
  • the names and contact details of, or reference letters, from at least two academics who have taught, supervised or worked alongside the applicant.

Enquiries should be directed to Dian Spear: 

Complete applications must be submitted to Nomabelu Somatube: by no later than 31 August 2017 

Selection of eligible candidates will be made by a sub-committee within the ACDI unit. 

Please note that application for the scholarship and application for a place on the Masters programme are two separate processes. You should do both at the same time.

The University of Cape Town reserves the right to make no awards at all, to cancel the award if the conditions are not met, and to effect changes to the conditions of the award. The University of Cape Town reserves the right to disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications.

Further information on ASSAR and potential student research:

In southern Africa the ASSAR research project is being implemented by the African Climate and Development Initiative, at the University of Cape Town in partnership with the Universities of Botswana and Namibia.

The ASSAR research project aims to deepen understanding of climate vulnerability and adaptation in semi-arid regions, and what is needed to transform current adaptation processes to modes that achieve proactive, widespread adaptation. ASSAR is funded through the IDRC/DFID CARIAA (Collaborative Adaptation Research in Africa and Asia) programme.

ASSAR researchers are primarily interested in the barriers and enablers of effective long-term adaptation. The main themes of our research are governance, social differentiation, ecosystem services and knowledge systems. The overarching research questions under these themes are:

• How do existing governance structures help those most vulnerable to adapt to existing climatic and non-climatic dimensions of risk?
• How can transformative adaptation (that is effective and challenges existing inequalities) be achieved in highly differentiated and unequal social contexts?
• How can ecosystem services be managed and governed in an equitable manner to support wellbeing in the face of climate change?
• In what ways do current knowledge systems around climate change act as barriers or enablers to effective, widespread and sustained climate change adaptation in semi-arid regions?

It is expected that the student projects will be linked to case study sites in the semi-arid areas of Botswana and Namibia.

For further information please see: