Doctor of Philosophy Degree Programme in Intellectual Property

About the Programme

The DPhil programme is designed to serve as one of the driving engines of high impact, policy-shaping research output that is extraordinarily visible through peer-reviewed publications, conferences and generation of intellectual property assets.

It serves to increase support for research and development (R&D) through promoting links among academia, industry, government and civil society organizations with a view to improving marketing and commercialization of R&D; scaling up investments in science and technology parks; and encouraging action-oriented research at all levels of education.

Nurture the culture of innovation and creativity through scientific research by reviewing and strengthening the present education systems, enhancing business competitiveness through strategic use of IP research tools. This programme is unique to Africa as it offers a platform for interdisciplinary research in the field of intellectual property.

The programme promotes public-private cooperation by making it easier for enterprises, universities and research centres across Africa share resources and raise capital. Individual researchers may share IP economical returns associated with successful commercialisation of their research results in finding solutions to problems that impact on the lives of people on the continent including discovery of essential drugs to epidemics that plague the continent.

 Most doctorate programs in Africa offer research opportunities in the field of intellectual property law.  This implies a competitive advantage and reaffirming Africa University as a prime investor in Africa’s future. Typically, candidates for this programme will come funded or seeking to apply for competitive fellowship grants with supervising faculty that are recognized authorities in their proposed fields of study.

The programme will take 3 - 5 years to complete full-time, and 4 – 7 years to complete part-time.


Programme Structure

  1. The duration of the programme shall normally be 3-5 years for full-time students. The Dean of a faculty/institute may recommend exceptions for consideration by the GSC.
  2. The maximum duration of the registration period for full-time study shall not exceed seven academic years.
  3. The maximum duration of the registration period for part-time study shall not exceed nine years.
  4. The Programme of Study shall normally consist of scheduled research and written thesis chapters under the guidance and supervision of a Doctoral Committee.
  5. The length of the thesis shall be determined by the student's Doctoral Committee.
  6. A student who fails to complete the thesis within the specified period may apply for an extension of registration period to the GSC through the respective Dean.  
  7. A student may not normally be permitted to break the continuity of his/her studies, although a student may be allowed to suspend registration for a maximum period one year on the approval of the GSC after a recommendation from the respective Dean.
  8. A student may not normally be allowed to change from full-time to part-time or vice-versa without the written consent of the GSC, upon the recommendation of the Faculty Board.

Minimum Entry Qualifications and Guidelines

  1. A candidate applying for admission into a Doctoral Degree programme at Africa University must possess a Masters’ degree in the relevant field of study. In addition,  the candidate must provide official transcripts as evidence of (i) coursework in a relevant field of study at the Masters level AND (ii) a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.0 (B) or equivalent at the Masters level.
  2. As part of the application process, all doctoral degree applicants must provide a copy of their Masters’ degree dissertation as evidence of their research accomplishments.
  3. The Faculty/Institute Board may recommend for admission to the GSC, applicants who obtained a Masters’ degree by research. 
  4. Applicants should submit with their applications a Motivation Statement written in English.   
  5. As part of the application process, applicants may be required to have an interview      with the Faculty/Institute. If so, the interview will be conducted in English

Career and Job Opportunities

Apart from capacitating current intellectual property professionals serving African communities, the Intellectual Property doctoral programme will graduate original thinkers and self-driven leadership professionals that can compete for grants and are suitable for a wide range of research posts in academia, industry and research institutes. It can also produce versatile entrepreneurs and innovators.