The honours programme extends over a minimum of ONE academic year of full-time enrolment and requires the completion of the following modules:


SOC502/502E , SOC510/510E; SOC511/511E; are compulsory for all students registered in the programme.


SOC502/502E Research Report/Project

Purpose: The aim of this module it to provide training on practical research skills.

Content: This is a practical research module. Learners are required to present (at the end of the year) a research report on a topic of sociological interest chosen in consultation with the Department. The research project continues throughout the year and learners are strongly advised to meet regularly with their supervisors – nominated by the Department.

SOC510/510E Advanced Sociological Theory

Purpose: The aim of this module is to examine major theoretical themes within Sociology.

Content: Key and issues include interactionism and the phenomenological perspective; modern theory and critique of Western Marxism; critical theory and analytical perspectives and a sample of leading ideas in African social theory.

SOC511/511E Methodology and Research Methods

Purpose:  The main aim of this module is to examine the philosophy of social research and the creation of knowledge.
Content:   The nature of knowledge and processes of its generation; design and execution of research on social behaviour and institutions; quantitative and qualitative approaches.


In addition to the three compulsory modules students are required to choose two electives provided that such choice will depend on the available staff areas of specialization and student demand.


SOC520/520E Rural Sociology

Purpose: The aim of this module is to examine the impact of the capitalist transformation of the agricultural sector and its implications for rural communities.

Content: Research agenda for rural sociologists; research and policy issues in rural studies; comparative perspectives on agricultural transformation, household strategies, community transformations, and sustainable development.

SOC521/521E Sociology of Science and Technology

Purpose: The aim of this module is to examine the social aspects of science and technology and their implications for development.

Content: Among the issues considered are the following: History of science studies; Contemporary perspectives on science; Scientific controversies, and cases; The role of science and technology in development.

SOC522/522E  Techniques of Population Analysis

Purpose: The aim of this module is examine advanced methods of generating demographic data.

Content: Sources of demographic data; characteristics of populations; life table modelling; fertility; mortality and migration; issues of reliability and validity

SOC523/523E  Industrial Sociology

Purpose: The aim of this module is to examine current issues relating to work with special reference to South Africa.

Content: Industrialisation; The social organisation of work; evolution of modern management; technological revolution, skill composition of work and the class structure; gender and work.

SOC524/524E Sociology of Development

Purpose: The aim of this module is to conduct an advanced examination of challenges relating to “development.”

Content: Issues in global development and change; theories of development; structural inequalities; theories of imperialism, class and state in post-colonial societies; and the Sociology of Southern Africa in the 1990s.

SOC525/525E Education Sociology

Purpose: The main objective of this module is an in-depth study of principal theoretical discourses in Sociology of Education and prominent thinkers in the field with the view to apply these theories and concepts to a selection of issues embedded in classroom practice. In addition, special emphasis is made upon the sociology behind such phenomena as curriculum, social control, pedagogical strategies, social and class selection and literacy.

Content: Theoretical perspectives in Sociology of Education; Prominent thinkers in Sociology of Education; Technocratic Rationality; Interpretive Rationality; Reproductive Rationality; Dialectical Theory of Pedagogy; Application of perspectives to the SA Context.

SOC526/526E Urban Sociology

Purpose: The aim of this module is to examine social theories of urban development and the relationship of urban theory to urban experience, practice, and policy in different societies.

Content: Among the issues covered in this module will be the following: An examination of the rural urban continuum. The classic works on gemeinschaft and gesselleschaft; the city as a growth machine; urbanism as a way of life; the metropolis and mental life. An examination of the contemporary interpretations of the classic works. An examination of current issues affecting urban life.

SOC527/527E Social Psychology

Purpose: The main objective of this module is to engage the popular textbook definitions of social psychology, critically discuss theory construction problematics of the major perspectives in the discipline and map out the possible future direction social psychology can take in the light of inherent internal contradictions in the field (for instance the clash between sociologism and psychologism).

Content: Critique of textbook definitions of Social Psychology; Theory in Social Psychology; The Biological Perspective; The Sociological Perspective; The Psychological Perspective; Mead’s Social Psychology; Social Evaluation/Comparison Theory; The Form of Social Psychological Theories; A brief look at theories of Freud and Jung; Possible future directions in Social Psychology

SOC528/528E The Political Economy of Health

Purpose: The aim of this module is examine how the social and economic structures that people are exposed to, affect their life chances and their possibilities of health in general.

Content: Defining health and illness; the social production of health and illness; the reproduction of medical care; comparative health care policies; issues in Southern African health care systems.

SOC529/529E Sociology of Politics

Purpose: The aim of this module is to provide an analysis of the social conditions making for democracy. It looks at the use of ideological hegemony meant to ensure that those being ruled are given enough concessions for them to accept the cultural leadership of the rulers.

Content: Areas focus can be chosen from the following broad thematic areas: Visions of Society and Politics; Society, government and morality; Class Conflict and Consensus; Bureaucracy and Democracy; The Psychology of Rulers and the Ruled; Ideological Hegemony; Plato, Parsons, Marx, Weber, Machiavelli and Gramsci; Economic Development and Democracy; Social Conflict, Legitimacy and Democracy; Authoritarianism; Fascism; Varieties of Power and Power Structures; Democratic Rule; Oligarchy; Totalitarian Rule; Socialism; Liberalism; Communism; Nation Building; Political Parties and Citizen Participation; Social and Political Movements; The role of Unique Historical Events; The role of Political Activists.

SOC500/500E Sociology of Groups

Purpose: To introduce students to advanced understanding of the sociological dynamics of groups according to various theoretical approaches.

Content: Group formation; group development; group interaction; power and influence; leadership theories and applications; group culture and structure; group process of change; etc.



The Master’s Degree in Rural Development programme has been designed to equip students with the theoretical, analytical and practical skills, attitudes and values with which to make sense of and effectively respond to the challenges of underdevelopment and the changing contexts of rural development interventions in South Africa and the African continent as a whole. The programme targets people seeking employment, or career advancement, in government departments, international agencies, NGOs, and consultancies, as well as those interested in development research. The programme has a strong experiential learning component, and provides opportunity for study at a first class university environment surrounded by “Third World” problems. The key admission requirement is a good Honours degree from a recognized university. The degree is completed through course work and a mini-dissertation. Students who meet the requisite pass levels can be admitted to study towards the doctorate (by research).


RUD605/605E Masters Dissertation

Purpose:       The purpose of this requirement is to equip students with the skills and knowledge to undertake independent research.

Content:        Research project on an approved topic

Instruction: Research supervision and independent study

Credits:         128

Summative Assessment: Externally examined research report


RUD612/612E Theories of Rural Development

Purpose:       The purpose of the module is to provide learners with an in-depth knowledge and understanding about the political economy of rural life within an era of globalisation.

Content:        This module seeks to introduce students to the political economy of rural Life within an era of globalisation. To a large extent it is access to land and the nature of the agricultural system that play a pivotal role in defining the nature of rural life. The focus of this module will be a sociological study of the impact of agriculture on society. Further, the module examines what happens to rural communities as agriculture is infiltrated by forces of capitalism.

                        Lessons will be drawn from an analysis of the impact of agricultural transformation in developed societies. Finally the module examines the influence of global trends on the South African Economic policy and the impact of both on rural development.

Instruction: Lectures, seminars and independent study

Credits:         32

Summative Assessment: 3 hour Examination


RUD614/614E Democracy, Development and Delivery

Purpose:       The purpose of the module is to provide learners with an in-depth knowledge and understanding about local government and its relationship to rural development. It aims to build critical analytical skills around policy research and analysis by exposing learners to current policy and legislation.

Content:        The module focuses on local government and its relationship to rural development. It questions the extent to which local government can meet developmental ends and does so by critically analysing current policy and legislation. Areas and issues covered in the module include the process of public policy and legislation development in democratic dispensations, local government in the post-apartheid era, state delivery, defining and providing basic municipal services, municipal restructuring, municipal governance and civil society, performance measuring and management for local government, local economic development, development planning for underdevelopment in rural areas.

Instruction: Lectures, seminars and independent study

Credits:         32

Summative Assessment: 3 hour Examination


RUD621/621E Organisational and Research Skills

Purpose:       The purpose of the module is to equip learners with a range of research skills and assist them in preparing their dissertation proposal. It introduces key aspects of work by development practitioners, providing practical insights into the problems of rural development.

Content:        The module is designed to equip learners with a range of research skills and assist them in preparing for their degree dissertation. As such, it introduces library research skills, using the internet for research, fundraising and project management.


Instruction: Lectures, seminars and independent study

Credits:         32

Assessment: Module assignments, tutorials and tests

Summative Assessment: 3 hour Examination


RUD623/623E Land Policies and Practices

Purpose:       The purpose of the module is to provide learners with an in-depth knowledge and understanding about land policy and practices in South Africa. It aims to build critical analytical skills around policy research and analysis by exposing learners to current policy and legislation, as well as theoretical perspectives and considerations.

Content:        This module deals with land policies and practices in historical and contemporary perspectives.

                        It introduces the land question during the colonial and Apartheid eras, but the focus is on land polices in the post 1994 period.

                        The module follows the paths of policies, provides details on the policy formulation process, analyses the manner in which different policies may serve particular groups of interests and examines how rigorously various policies are implemented. The module is divided into three broad sections. The first section deals with the land question in historical perspective. The second section is the major focus of the module. It deals with the democratic government’s land reform programme in the post-1994 period. The third section of the module provides two case studies to emphasize particular aspects of the land reform programme in South Africa.

Instruction: Lectures, seminars and independent study

Credits:         32

Summative Assessment: 3 hour Examination




Suitably qualified candidates may apply to pursue research degrees in the Department. The key requirements are: a good Honours degree (for admission into Master’s studies by research) and a good Master’s degree (for admission into the Doctoral programme by research). Prospective applicants are advised to first inquire from the Head of Department about the availability of expertise in the areas they wish to focus their research. International applicants are required to first check their foreign Honours or Master’s degrees for equivalence with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) before applying for admission in the Department. The Department has a vibrant research programme in environmental, mining, energy and natural resource sociology with current students enrolled from all over Africa.   Expertise also exists in development, education, and health and wellness sociology, as well as gender, land and agrarian studies.