Grace Mugabe
Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, was awarded with a PhD only two months after she enrolled at University of Zimbabwe, of which her husband is chancellorWikimedia Commons

Dozens of Zimbabweans have vented their outrage on social media after president Robert Mugabe's wife was awarded a PhD only two months after she enrolled at the University of Zimbabwe, where her husband is chancellor.

Local media reported that Grace Mugabe was awarded her doctorate in sociology at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ). It is understood that for her thesis, Mrs Mugabe conducted a study of children's homes in Zimbabwe.

State broadcaster ZBC reported that the first lady said she had to work hard to earn the degree.

However, UZ lecturer Professor Greg Linnington told local newspaper, the Standard, that a doctorate involved writing a thesis and that would often take several years to complete.

"A doctorate involves writing a thesis, after having a research question prepared, writing a proposal and then writing the thesis where one needs to research it, critique it then it can be marked, but that could take a few years," he said.

"It however varies with individuals to complete. Some just do a thesis while others might do one with some course work, but usually it's a minimum of three years."

Another lecturer and university administrator who spoke under condition of anonymity, said people would need a good Master's degree in order to enrol for a doctorate.

"One would need to make various presentations of each phase during the studies. One also needs to publish their work in a renowned academic journal," he said.

"The process of research until writing the final thesis takes between three and seven years and for one to pass and be awarded a PhD, they have to make a significant contribution to the body of knowledge."

The First Lady completed her first degree in Chinese Language in 2011.