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Undergraduate Courses

We have compiled a list of a sample of undergraduate courses to enable potential students and members of the public to see what courses are available, and identify courses or programmes that may be of interest to them. Most of the courses can be taken as individual electives. However, some may have pre-requisites. Information on requirements is contained in the Faculty Handbooks.

We have not included general degrees such as Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Science, etc., as these degrees consist of many different combinations of courses to suit the interests of individual students within the requirements laid down for these degrees. We have also not included courses which can only be done as part of specific degrees as it would be necessary to enrol for these degrees in order to do the courses.

These courses and programmes have been grouped according to key themes according to the dominant discipline, namely:

Education;

Environment and Resources;

Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Strategies; 

Gender; 

Health; 

Macro-economic policy and Development Theories;

Public Administration;

Social Justice and Social Change,

Social Services and Development;

Towns and Cities; and

Unemployment and Labour.

Click here for more in-depth information about courses in these fields.

EDUCATION

HIGHER CERTIFICATE IN EDUCATION IN ADULT EDUCATION

The programme aims at developing:

  • A grasp of the fields of adult education, community education and workplace education and training as they have developed within a broader social and historical context of South Africa;
  • Basic familiarity with some of the main theoretical traditions in the field of adult education, as well as theories of community development and organisational development; and
  • Practical skills necessary for competent practice of adult education and training.

EDN2000H FOUNDATIONS OF ADULT LEARNING THEORY Students are introduced to some of the basic concepts of social theory, and explore different ways of viewing the relationship between education, social theory and development.

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES

BUS3040F EXPERIENCING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

The course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the key requirements, challenges, and experiences associated with initiating a business enterprise. Inter-alia these incorporate environmental scanning, idea generation and refinement, business model development, drafting a business plan, strategy formulation, sourcing venture capital, supplier negotiations, legal contracts, quality control, financial management and reportage, marketing and sales management, aspects of management theory including the conflicting values model, and disciplines of personal management. The primary means of learning is experiential. Students will be immersed into live social entrepreneurship projects. Action-learning is underpinned by a series of guest-lecture inputs, workshops and meetings addressing various aspects of business venture planning.

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ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES

EGS1003S GEOGRAPHY, DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT

The course introduces students to development and environment debates in geography, by exploring the geography of third world development, focusing on the historical roots and spatial patterns that underpin development.

EGS3022S GEOGRAPHIC THOUGHT

The course focuses on international debates in classical and contemporary human geography. It considers important thematic areas in the geographical literature, such as: development; spatiality; urban, political and feminist geographies.

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GENDER

AXL2102S GENDER AND THE POLITICS OF DEVELOPMENT

The aim of this course is to enable students to understand and analyse the impact of development practices, particularly as they have affected women and men in different contexts. The course will offer an introduction to debates around the gendered impact of different economic and political development trajectories, and policies, such as industrialization, agricultural transformations, democratisation, and contemporary structural adjustment programmes. Case studies drawn from different regions and contexts will be used to illustrate the theoretical debates, including those distinguishing “women in development” approaches from “gender and development” approaches.

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HEALTH

BUS3002F ORGANISATIONAL LEARNING AND WELLNESS The course consists of two modules, Organisational Learning, and Health, Safety & Wellness. The Organisational Learning module typically will include the new role of the training manager, the National Skills Development Initiative, organisational strategy and learning needs, learning theories and training transfer. The Health, Safety and Wellness module typically will include legal requirements for a healthy and safe workplace, career psychology, stress, the work-family interface, HIV-Aids in the workplace, employee assistance programmes, and corporate social investment programmes aimed at community health.

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MACRO-ECONOMIC POLICY AND DEVELOPMENT THEORIES

AXL1401S INTRODUCTION TO THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT AND DIFFERENCE

The course deals with the problems of ethnocentrism and the limitations of cultural relativism and examines how constructions of difference through ideas about culture, ethnicity, race and gender are used to legitimate development discourses. The course thus focuses on comparative analysis of politics and economics in small-scale and complex societies. It includes a small field research project/exercise and uses some visual anthropology as a medium of instruction to introduce ethnographic film.

HST1005F MAKING OF THE MODERN WORLD ECONOMY

This course examines the emergence and evolution of the global economy. Students will gain the vocabulary and historical context from which to examine the state of the modern world economy. The course starts by examining the origins of the world economy through earlier periods of economic growth, globalisation and divergence. It then focuses on the expansion of (and divergence within) the world economy during the 20th century. The course explores major global economic events such as the economic impact of colonialism, the World Wars, the Great Depression and the more recent financial crisis (known as the Great Recession). It will also examine changing ideas about the role of “states vs markets” in development, and historical interactions between developing, emerging and advanced countries.

SOC2030F POVERTY, DEVELOPMENT & GLOBALISATION

This course examines the great contemporary global problems of poverty and inequality. Sources and selected empirical cases of poverty and inequality are explored and related development theories and policies are examined. The geographical scope of the course ranges from the local to the international.

SOC2015S COMPARATIVE INDUSTRIAL & LABOUR STUDY

This course focuses on change in industrial and labour practices internationally. The following could be included: paths of industrialisation followed by selected countries; the international division of labour; the implications of these and other global economic trends for labour and industrial relations. The countries and regions selected for close study will usually lie in East Asia, Latin America and Africa.

ECO2008S DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS

The course provides an introduction to development economics as well as applied problems in the field of development, and development strategies. Topics covered may vary, but are likely to include: an overview of debates in development economics; the meaning of development and how to measure progress; poverty and inequality; the role of development aid and foreign investment; industrial strategies; technological capacity; and sustainable development. The discussion is both theoretical and applied.

HST2028F TWENTIETH CENTURY INDUSTRIALISATION

This course explores the historical experience of industrialisation through the 20th century, drawing on case studies from both the advanced industrial world and from the Third World. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the state in economic and social development, and to the relationship between industrialisation and modern war.

HST2034P AFRICA: COLONIAL & POST-COLONIAL

The course covers the history of Africa from c.1800 to the present, focusing on the main themes of slavery, legitimate commerce, partitions, colonialism, decolonisation, development, debt and democracy.

HST2037S AFRICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY

The course explores debates and approaches to the study of economic history in Africa, placing South Africa’s economic history within the context of the continent as a whole. It introduces new perspectives on African economic and social history developed in the global south. It examines the economic legacies of colonialism (including the differences between settler and non- settler colonies), and the place of institutions in the growth and development of the continent. Using comparisons between different regions and countries, this course investigates why countries that are resource rich have not been able to use these resources to improve living standards and encourage broad-based economic development. It also examines the role that international business and labour have played in the economic history of individual countries. Finally, the course tracks the changing place of Africa in the global economy.

HST3038F ECONOMIES OF FEASTS AND ECONOMIES OF FAMINE: HISTORIOGRAPHIES OF ECONOMIC HISTORY

This course is concerned with famines, approaches to hunger, poverty and inequality, and the institutions that societies establish to remedy these maladies. Food insecurity, death from starvation, and ‘feasts for a few’ are associated in the twentieth century with developing economies where discourses of poverty, welfare and development promote varying remedies, more or less informed by ideology, self –interest or economic theory. Thus analyses of poverty, wealth and famine require an understanding of the ways in which developmental theories and economic policies have been applied in specific contexts and of the institutional arrangements through which these practices have been exercised. The course is skills-intensive and includes tutorials on quantitative reasoning, historiography and comparative analysis.

POL3013S SOUTH AFRICAN POLITICAL THOUGHT AND TRADITIONS

This course provides a survey of the main developments in South African political thought since the beginning of the twentieth century, beginning with competing visions for a unified South Africa after the discovery of gold. It examines a range of political thinkers—some of them like Gandhi, Verwoerd or Mandela also major political actors; others less well known—and a range of texts from different periods. It is intended to give students an understanding of the main political traditions in modern South Africa, and how they have interacted and developed. It focuses on shared contexts such as decolonization and Third World liberation to provide a sense of the overall trajectory and distinctive character of political ideas in modern South Africa. It aims to enable students to analyse original texts for themselves, and to locate their own ideas within a larger historical process.

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PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION

POL3038S URBAN POLITICS AND ADMINISTRATION

The first section of the course locates South African local level politics and administration in the context of national and provincial state reform, and examines the significance of local implementation and service delivery for policy outputs and for the policy process as a whole. A theoretical framework for understanding local government reorganisation is developed and a comparative analysis undertaken of local government reorganisation with particular reference to metropolitan areas. There is in addition a focus on contemporary reforms which have affected South Africa's contemporary urban governance, such as the new megacities, politics-administration interface and developmental local government. The second section of the course introduces students to an overview of contemporary urban political and administrative challenges and opportunities. These challenges and opportunities occur in a context of global and local conditions. The course examines and compares good solutions to urban problems in third and first world cities. In its focus on delivery-level administration and politics, the course provides both intellectual and practical closure to the major sequence of courses on public administration, management and the policy process.

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SOCIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL CHANGE

END1019L SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURES: ENGAGING WITH COMMUNITY FOR CHANGE

This is an elective offering open to students from all departments and faculties, and can contribute to the Complementary Studies B requirement of engineering students. ‘Social infrastructures’ recognizes that development is a socio-technical process, giving rise to particular relationships between households and communities, and materials and technologies, shaped by the institutional and political context. Drawing on this understanding, this course provides for classroom-based learning together with community-engaged learning as a means to engage communities long denied access to aspects of social infrastructures. We focus on engaging the issues of ‘service’, community and change, in the context of development and social justice. We look particularly at how we, as students and emerging professionals, might engage with and learn from communities in our local context.

SOC1007S INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY +

This is an introductory course, designed to explore key issues and activities in South African society today. It aims to assist you to search for and identify accurate information and relevant ideas, situate these in social context, and to outline and begin to probe views around key social issues. We live in a society with deeply structured social inequalities and a range of issues and problems which people confront every day. What is actually happening to people positioned differently in society? What is changing and what is continuing? How do ordinary people deal with these issues? What forms of organization and action do they turn to as they try to meet their needs and build lives which are fulfilling and dignified? We examine selected social processes, structures, institutions and behaviours which help us understand these issues and ways of dealing with them.

SOC2004S RACE, CLASS & GENDER

This course introduces and critically examines various understandings of the concepts 'race', class and gender. It explores ways in which these categories intersect to shape experiences of inequalities in South Africa and outside both historically and in the present.

SOC3029S INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY & CHANGE

South Africa post-1994 is an integrated part of the world globalised economy. This course examines socio-economic issues within this international context, with a particular focus on industrial society, exploring change and continuity in terms of theory, policy and the lived experience of everyday life. What is changing? Where is change coming from? Who is driving change? Who benefits from change? What problems stand in the way of development towards a more just society? Against the background of questions such as these, the issues of industrial society to be examined will be drawn from work, industry, inequality, skills development, social welfare and services, governance, education, alienation, health, and others. The course explores these issues in the context of globalisation, using specific illustrative case study material primarily from South African post-1994 industrial society, while drawing illuminating material from other national and transnational situations.

SOC3031S SOCIAL JUSTICE AND INEQUALITY

This course examines contemporary international debates on the social discourses and practices that perpetuate injustice and inequality and their relevance to understanding South African society. The literature may include debates on the way discourses create centres and margins, resulting in social differences which, in turn, have a significant impact on people’s life chances. The literature may also include debates on the changing patterns of urban and rural inequality. Who are the winners and losers in today’s society? What are the causes of new patterns of social injustice and inequality? In reading a wide literature, students will be provided with comparative concepts with which they can begin to interpret the emerging patterns of social justice and inequality in South Africa.

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SOCIAL SERVICES AND DEVELOPMENT

SWK1013S COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS

This course aims to develop students' understanding of the interactions between different social systems in the context of selected contemporary social issues and the impact of these on individuals, households and communities and the range of resources that target these challenges.

SWK2001F INTRODUCTION TO POLITICAL ECONOMY AND THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONS

The course introduces students to the evolution of social service professions in South Africa and the link between the global, regional and national contexts. It focuses on the political economy of social services in South Africa from the pre- to post-democratic periods.

SWK2013S COMMUNITY & YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

This course provides students with the basic concepts, theory, processes and skills required for culturally appropriate assessment of systems and situations at community level, and community development as a strategy of interaction within a framework of youth and youth development in South and Southern Africa.

SWK3001F POLITICAL ECONOMY OF SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONS

The course builds on students' knowledge and understanding of the history of the social service professions and the socio-political economy that frames various government and non-governmental responses to social challenges, particularly at a regional and local level. It critically engages the students with regional social policy issues, structures and processes in order to better understand evolving professional social service practice.

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TOWNS AND CITIES

EGS1003S GEOGRAPHY, DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT

The course introduces students to development and environment debates in geography, by exploring the geography of third world development, focusing on the historical roots and spatial patterns that underpin development.

EGS3022S GEOGRAPHIC THOUGHT

The course focuses on international debates in classical and contemporary human geography. It considers important thematic areas in the geographical literature, such as: development; spatiality; urban, political and feminist geographies.

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UNEMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR

CML2005F LABOUR LAW

This course addresses the common law contract of employment, and legislative interventions and protections, including: the Basic conditions of the Employment Act; the Skill Development Act, and the Unemployment Insurance Act; discipline and dismissals under the Labour Relations Act of 1995; unfair discrimination in employment and recruitment and selection; employment equity legislation; collective labour law as provided for under the Labour Relations Act and the Constitution; freedom of association and organisational rights; collective bargaining and dispute resolution; strikes and lockouts; industrial democracy and worker participation.

ECO3022S ADVANCED LABOUR ECONOMICS

The course covers a review of labour demand and supply; alternative approaches to labour economics and to the SA labour market; the economics of education and training; earnings inequality and discrimination; the economics of trade union collective bargaining; unemployment.

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