PhD graduates of first session posing for a group photo in front of Life Sciences building

“Our doctoral degree output for this Spring graduation ceremony is the highest number of doctoral degrees ever produced by this University. We are very pleased about this achievement and would like to thank academic, administrative and service staff for their hard work,” said the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni during the University of Venda (UNIVEN) September Graduation Ceremonies that was held in the University Auditorium on Friday, 20 September 2019. 

PhD graduates posing for a photo after second session

During this Spring Graduation Ceremonies, UNIVEN has conferred 650 qualifications, comprised of three undergraduate Diplomas, two (2) Postgraduate Diplomas, 223 Bachelor’s degrees, 174 Professional Degrees, 118 Honours Degrees, 86 Masters Degrees and 44 Doctoral Degrees. 

UNIVEN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Nthambeleni

UNIVEN Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Nthambeleni highlighted that it should be a matter of pride for Limpopo Province and Vhembe district to have an institution that has developed and contributing to the economy of the country since its establishment regardless of the challenges faced by the Institution from time to time. He told the audience that UNIVEN continues to be on an upward trajectory regarding its research output. “Our recent 2017 journal publication output units by index has also improved compared to our 2016 Journal publication output. The number of our National Research Foundation (NRF) Rated Researchers continues to grow.” 

He said UNIVEN staff with doctoral qualifications has increased to 41% which is above the national average of 37% in the entire higher education sector. “We look forward to maximising this numerical advantage by producing more research articles in high impact journals and providing more supervisory capacity for our students.” 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Prof Jan Crafford said UNIVEN is immensely proud of these young people whose hard work and perseverance we celebrate and reward today. “Our students have had to overcome considerable odds to arrive at this day. Especially our postgraduate students have seen a steady decline in the availability of postgraduate funding, to the extent that it has become a matter of national concern.” He continued to say that, despite this, almost 40% or 248 out of the 650 graduandi today are postgraduates. 

“It is worth noting, Vice-Chancellor, that the ministerial target for PhD outputs by the University of Venda for 2019 was 40. After today we shall have awarded 56 PhD’s for 2019, which shows that the University of Venda truly punches above its weight when it comes to knowledge production.” 

Prof Crafford said it is important that UNIVEN continues to define and redefine the type of graduates we wish to produce. “We want our graduates not only to be employable, but we also want them to become employers themselves, through instilling a spirit of entrepreneurship in all students who pass through our gates. We also want our graduates to have intercultural competencies that will allow them to engage with a diverse and complex world with confidence and a keen sense of self-worth. Above all we want our students, during their time on our campus, to internalize the institutional values that we espouse, chief amongst which is the quintessential African value of ubuntu.” 

PhD graduates posing for a photo with members of council after first session


Photo of some of the PhD of 2019 September graduations ceremonies

Issued by: 

Department of Communications & Marketing 

University of Venda 
Tel: (015) 962 8525 
Date: 23 September 2019 

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