An examination of supporting structures for postgraduate students’ completion of research projects at one of the universities in South Africa


  • Takalani Samuel Mashau Professor, Deputy Dean-Research and Postgraduate Studies, Faculty of Humanities Social Sciences, FF31, School of Education Building, University of Venda, South Africa
  • Ravhuhali Fhatuwani Ph.D., HoD, Academic Division Unit, Centre for Higher Education Teaching and Learning (CHETL), No.7 Old School of Education Building, University of Venda, South Africa



Dissertations; Theses; Postgraduate students; Supervisors; Supporting structures.


The Council on Higher Education (CHE)’s report on the doctoral programme review states   that offering postgraduate programmes seems to be a challenge to some South African universities. Amongst others, the report expresses that postgraduate supervision at universities suffers from many challenges, some of which result in students being delayed or not completing their studies. Underpinned by Archer’s (1998) theory of the interplay between structure, culture, and agency (support programmes), the study seeks to examine factors that hinder postgraduate students’ completion of their dissertations and theses. The study adopted narrative research where the qualitative design was used. Postgraduate students (Master and Doctoral) who have registered for these programmes repeatedly in the university served as participants in the study. The purposive sample was used to sample eight postgraduate students who have frequently registered for more than the required residency period. Semi-structured questions were formulated to guide data collection. Data was collected through a focus group of eight Master and Doctoral students. Collected data were analysed using the content analysis method. The study found that the university does not have adequate (or weak) supporting structures for students to complete their degrees in record time.


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How to Cite

Mashau, T. S., & Ravhuhali Fhatuwani. (2023). An examination of supporting structures for postgraduate students’ completion of research projects at one of the universities in South Africa. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147- 4478), 12(7), 574–582.



Teaching, Learning & Higher Education Institutions