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Undergraduate Overview

The study of politics is concerned with the relations of power in society, with the institutions through which these relations are maintained, and with the processes by which they change. Whenever people come into conflict, compete or co-operate over matters of money, position, influence or status they may be said to be acting politically.

The study of politics was traditionally concerned with the relations between the state and its subjects and citizens. While these remain important, the scope of political studies has broadened to include gender power relations and associations such as business corporations, trade unions, social movements, and political parties.

Politics has no scientific formulae or laboratories. There are usually several answers to each of the questions we address. In politics there are many competing analytical models, each of which has its own concepts and terminology and each of which raises its own questions. In Political Studies Level One the student will be introduced to the history of political ideas and be required to have a critical familiarity with these ideas; in other words, the student will learn about their origins, strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the student will be required to develop an understanding of how political institutions and processes work in several different countries.

There are two majors available to students in the department: 

  • Major in Political Studies
  • Major in African Studies in History and Politics

Major in Political Studies

This major requires students to take two first-year courses in Political Studies. In the second year, students choose one unit in Semester One and one unit in Semester Two. HIST2003 (History of Sub-Saharan Africa) may be taken towards the Political Studies major. In the third year of study, students choose two units in Semester One and two units in Semester Two from our range of available options. In the third year, students may choose to do HIST3003 (History of the African City) towards this major.

COURSES

TERM ONE

TERM TWO

POINTS

First Level

( E Slot)

One course per semester

Introduction to Political Studies

(POLS1007) (E slot)

States, Power and Governance

(POLS1008) (E slot)

YEAR 1

2 X 18 =

36 POINTS

Second Level

( B & D Slots)

One course per semester, chosen from:

 

History of Sub-Saharan Africa*

(HIST2003) (B slot)

South Africa: Politics and Governance

(POLS2012) (B slot)

YEAR 2

2 X 24 =

48 POINTS

OR

 

Social Theories of Modernity

(POLS2006) (D slot)

 

OR

Feminist Theory and Politics*

(POLS2002) (D slot)

OR

Human Rights and Political Studies* (POLS2015) 

(IHRE students only)

Third Level

( C & E Slots)

 

Two courses per semester, chosen from:

Development Concepts and Experience

(POLS3003) (C slot)

The Politics and Ideologies of Redistribution

(POLS3016) (C slot)

 

YEAR 3

 

4 X 36 =

144 POINTS

Political Sociology

(POLS3008) (C slot)

Liberty, Justice and

Politics of Difference

(POLS3017) (C Slot)

Conflict, Stability and

State Building in Africa

(POLS3018) (C slot)

History of the African City*

(HIST3003) (C slot)

 

 

Selected Topic in Political Studies III* (POLS3019) (E Slot)

Urban Politics & Governance

The major in Political Studies can form part of a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. PPE comprises two full majors and one sub-major in the three disciplines.

Major in African Studies in History and Politics

This major requires students to have two first year credits (36 points) either in History or in Political Studies. Students enrolling for this major will, in the second year, register for: HIST2003 - History of Sub-Saharan Africa and POLS2012 - South Africa: Politics and Governance.

In the third year the major in African Studies in History and Politics will require 72 points from: POLS3003 - Development Concepts and Experience; POLS3016 - The Politics and Ideologies of Redistribution; POLS3018 - Conflict, Stability and State Building in Africa

HIST3003 - History of the African City. Students can substitute one of the above with a module (18 points) from the third year modules in International Relations, Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology or History.

COURSES

TERM ONE

TERM TWO

POINTS

First Level

( E Slot & History slots)

One course per semester

Introduction to Political Studies

(POLS1007) (E slot)

OR

History 1000 course

States, Power and Governance

(POLS1008) (E slot)

OR

History 1000 course

YEAR 1

2 X 18 =

36 POINTS

In History OR Political Studies

Second Level

( B Slot)

One course per semester

History of Sub-Saharan Africa

(HIST2003) (B slot)

South Africa: Politics and Governance

(POLS2012) (B slot)

YEAR 2

2 X 24 =

48 POINTS

Third Level

( C & E Slots)

 

Two courses chosen from ---

Development Concepts and Experience

(POLS3003) (C slot)

The Politics and Ideologies of Redistribution

(POLS3016) (C slot)

YEAR 3

2 X 36 =

72 POINTS

Political Sociology

(POLS3008) (C slot)

History of the African City

(HIST3003) (C slot)

Conflict, Stability and

State Building in Africa

(POLS3018) (C slot)

Selected Topic in Political Studies III (POLS3019) (E Slot)

Urban Politics & Governance

Students can substitute a 3000-level course in a “cognate discipline” (International Relations, Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology, History) for one of these courses

Students may take this unit as an alternative to Political Studies: they may not combine this new major with a major in Political Studies though they can enroll for the other modules in Political Studies to obtain additional credits. Students can take a History major in combination with this major, but then they must have completed four different first year modules in History (72 points) or two first year modules in History (36 points) and two first year modules in Political Studies (36 points).

Expectations of students

The Department of Political Studies is committed to high quality teaching and learning. Students use lecture, tutorial, and web-based learning (WebCT) for all Political Studies courses. We have high expectations of student performance. Tutorial attendance is compulsory and it is a Satisfactory Performance Requirement for all courses in this department. Students who miss tutorials and do not complete make up assignments will not be allowed to take the exam. Essays must be submitted on time and on WebCT.

Subminimum Rule

In order to pass a student must achieve an overall mark of no less than 50% provided subminima of no less than 40% for the unit mark and no less than 40% for the examinations are obtained separately. An overall mark of 50% is therefore not necessarily in itself sufficient to pass the course.

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