Postgraduate Programmes

We have a vibrant community of passionate and committed postgraduate students who contribute widely to the academic life of the department.

With a BA Honours and a MA degrees in anthropology or sociology postgraduate students can work in both private and public sectors as researchers, analysis, policy makers and consultants. For instance, graduates who specialise in either medical anthropology or sociology can work in a number of positions in government; NGOs; private companies that deal directly or indirectly with health matters and health interventions in such areas as HIV/AIDS, policy and mainstreaming, chronic diseases. Those with specialization in industrial/labour sociology can work as personnel officers—HR officers, IR consultants, labour advisers, trade union consultants/managers. The same relationship between specialization and job openings can be established for the other specializations. A postgraduate qualification in Anthropology or Sociology positions one better in the labour market nationally and internationally and enables the individual to optimise his potentials as a productive member of the society.

Possession of higher degrees opens the door for engagement in academia, specialised research work, education and teaching areas for those with the passion and drive.

The department offers a range of areas of specialisation from which students can choose depending on their career aspirations and passions in life. Therefore, while providing general and well-rounded training in anthropology and sociology, postgraduate students are offered to build specializations in the following areas which are consistent with the research interests and specializations of the academic faculty in the department—medical anthropology and medical/health sociology; social conflict; human animal studies (HAS); political sociology of development, multiculturalism; visual anthropology and popular culture; religion studies; sociology of technology; industrial/labour sociology; globalization studies, gender and sexuality.


For further enquiries contact either the Faculty of Arts Post Graduate Office or the Departmental Postgraduate Coordinator:

Dr. Kelly Gillespie
Tel. +27 21 959 3718

Contact the Faculty of Arts Post Graduate Office Today to enquire about our postgraduate programmes.

The department offers the following Postgraduate Programmes:

BA Honours in Anthropology and Sociology

In order to be admitted into the Honours programmes of the department, students must have a Bachelor’s degree majoring in anthropology and/or sociology and an excellent academic study record with 60% average mark and above.

The BA Honours students are required to complete a total of four modules in a year. They enroll in the two fundamental courses on research methodologies and theory in the first semester and choose one elective course in the second semester. Students are also required to work through the year towards the completion of the fourth module: The Research Honours Essay. The department requires postgraduate students to undertake independent research, even if on a limited extent, based on their chosen research topic. The Honors

Students are assessed throughout the semester (essays, reports, small research activities, weekly discussion and presentations of the readings) and at the end of the course in the form of take-home exam. Assessments are internally and externally moderated in terms of both the questions and the final grading of submissions.

BA HONOURS in Anthropology

In term one the course focuses on research methods, analysis, the literature review and ethical consideration. In term two students work on their research proposal and in term three they conduct their fieldwork and lastly write-up their long essay in the fourth term.

This course develops perspectives in Anthropology as a discipline that is both critical and practical and “real life” challenges. Students are encouraged to examine anthropological thinking on central concepts such as culture or society, and the value anthropology attaches to them.

The course offers an in-depth exploration of the methodologies employed in anthropology. It aims at providing a critical reflection on fieldwork and anthropological practice. It shows how simple choices-such as the selection of a location or a procedure, or the decision to interview a specific person, may have profound theoretical underpinnings that are crucial for the research itself. It teaches students that in anthropology theory and methodology stand as the two sides of the same coin.

The course provides students with knowledge on the value and meaning of different theoretical perspectives in gender studies, yo be able to consider or incorporate gender and differences into research. The course also enables students to analyse gendered identities and theories.

This course enables students to develop a critical anthropological perspective on visual culture, analyse comparatively visual forms and senses and their significance in different social and cultural contexts.

This course introduces students to key concepts and theories in medical anthropology. It explores aspects such as systems; HIV/AIDS; health care systems; medical technologies and various other health issues. In this course we will cover some of these topics and we will draw mainly from ethnographic research from South Africa and other developing countries to elaborate on them. The course combines theoretical ideas in medical anthropology and sociology to offer students solid social science foundations on the study of illness and health.

This course encourages students to develop a critical anthropological perspective on multiculturalism and diversity. Students are equipped with the skill to analyse comparatively discourses of culture, autochthony and indigeneity in different social, historical and geographical contexts. Students are able to compare different anthropological approaches to multiculturalism, diversity, indigeneity and autochthony. Students are challenged to apply theoretical perspectives to multiculturalism and diversity to a range of empirical case studies.

BA HONOURS in Sociology

In term one course focuses on research methods and analysis, ethical consideration. Term two students work on their research proposal. Term three they do their fieldwork and lastly do an analysis and write up of thesis in term four.

The course deepens and broadens the intellectual understanding of sociological theories. It enhances the capacity of the students for critical evaluation and interrogation of social realities through the lens of sociological theories. Students acquire the capacity to analyse sociological realities and challenges through theoretical frames. Students acquire ability to apply these theoretical perspectives to their own peculiar research; social contexts; and the larger environment i.e. ability to develop theoretical frameworks and conceptual tools for research and the analysis of social realities.

The course provides students with the ability to discern between qualitative and quantitative approaches. It deepens students understanding of the research process as knowledge production. Students are able to probe the ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions of different perspectives.

The course focuses on the social source and distribution of health and illness. It takes an in-depth look at the gendered meaning of health and illness.

The course focuses on the relationship between visual culture, technology and society. It explores the socio-cultural processes at work in establishing the hegemony of the eye in Western culture (occularcentrism). Students are able to establish cultural formations of national, continental and global imaginations as emergent visual cultural realities.

This course introduces students to technological developments in World Civilisation (Africa, Asia, South America and North America). It explores concepts such as positivist and post-positivist philosophies of science, hermeneutic philosophy and pragmatism, social construction of technology, social impact of technological change.

This course focuses on Biomedicine, the colonial encounter and power. It discusses current issues in medicine and health care in South Africa (including HIV/AIDs), the social and cultural meaning of the body in health and illness, the social lives on Medicine (with specific focus on ARV’s and TB medication). It looks at the study of children in health and illness, explores reproductive health, indigenous healing systems and medical technology as cultural artifacts.

MA Degree in Anthropology and Sociology

To be admitted into the MA programme in anthropology or sociology, students must: (1) have and Honours in anthropology/sociology or related fields/disciplines with minimum score of 65% in the Honours Research Essay; (2) submit a 2 – 3 page concept note outlining: the research topic, the research question (s), some relevant literature; the basic/rudimentary knowledge of key theories in chosen field, and (3) submit a detailed CV.

Students can choose either to enter the MA taught programme, which involves coursework in the first year and the completion of a minor thesis in the second year, or to enroll into a full-theist programme which does not require any coursework but it is an advanced endeavor that implies that the student is able to organize and plan well the workload.

In any case, the MA degree requires postgraduate students to undertake independent research, based on their chosen research topic. Students will be required to develop research proposals outlining their research topic, objective, literature, theory, the methodology by the end of the first year of registration. Once ready, the proposal is examined by the Faculty of Arts

In the MA by coursework, students in their first year will be deepening their knowledge in the discipline they have choosen, and the field of their research. The courses of the first semester in theory (advanced theory classes) and methodology aim at strengthening students’ mastery of concepts, familiarity with different approaches and ability to converse with theory. In the second semester, students will be completing their research proposal and choose one elective module that relates at best with the topics of their research.

PhD Degree in Anthropology and Sociology

PhD Degree Requirements:

  1. Master’s degree in anthropology/sociology or the related fields/disciplines.
  2. Candidates should submit 3 – 4 page concept note (pre-proposal) outlining: research questions, methodology, literature review, theoretical frameworks, and the perceived contribution of the proposed study to the existing knowledge.
  3. A detailed CV

After the PhD programme description, add: “For enquiries concerning application to Postgraduate degrees, please contact the departmental postgraduate coordinator:

Dr. Kelly Gillespie
Tel. +27 21 959 2014