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Undergraduate Studies

As an undergraduate student (1st, 2nd or 3rd year), you can incorporate Sociology into your degree in the following ways:

  • BA, where Sociology is one of the two majors;
  • BSocSci programmes specialising in a focus area where Sociology is your second major.

In other words, Sociology, given the breadth and maturity of the discipline, articulates very well with other subject choices you may consider in the Faculty of Humanities.

The Department offers one specialised degree focusing on work, labour and industry.

  • BSocSci specialising in Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies is a study package offered by the Department that focuses on work, management, labour and the overall socio-political and socio-economic context of industry.

The undergraduate programme in Industrial Sociology and Labour Studies addresses the dynamic and changing context of the world of work. The process of globalisation poses new challenges to how work is organised and understood in contemporary societies. Sociologists drive debate on labour legislation, productivity and management within this context. They are interested in understanding the mobilisation of workers during labour disputes and strikes and the ways in which managers direct and organise production policy and distribution. Sociologists understand the world of work and industry to be part of the broader societal economy and the choices governments make about the nature of the former. This programme aims to sensitise you towards these key issues in preparation for more advanced studies at the postgraduate level.

First year:

SOC 110 is offered in the first semester. This course is designed to introduce you to the concepts and theories sociologists use and how they think about and study the social world. Substantively the tension between the individual and society, as well a range of key institutions within society are studied. For example, the institution of religion is considered in the light of the role it is playing in the context of a globalising 21st century; the challenges the family confronts as an institution; and the nature of the lens through which sociologists are trained to research and analyse our social world are included in this course.

SOC 120 focuses on the dynamics of social life. In the first part key social categories – race, class and gender and how they relate to social inequality within society are considered. The second part focuses on group processes within society from a microsociological perspective and how they impact on individual behaviour and the pressing and challenging questions of social identity in the 21st century.

Second year:

SOC 210 is offered in the first semester and focuses in the first part on one of the core concerns of sociology, the nature of social change and societal transition. Within this broad theme the related processes of development and the process of globalisation are considered analytically and substantively. The second part, in contrast to the macrosocial focus of the first part, considers how households, families and gender change in societies. This provides a microsociological focus, addressing key issues such as poverty, survival strategies of households and the impact of domestic violence on family life.

SOC 220 focuses on key societal challenges and issues. In the first part questions relating to health and demography are considered. The historical and social context of infectious diseases and their differential impact within society as well as the consequences for society as a whole are considered. This analysis draws on a number of key sociological concerns that have been introduced in previous courses including gender, sexuality, race, social inequality, identity and stigma. In addition an awareness of demographic processes such as morbidity, mortality, fertility and mobility enables grasping population processes within the country. It is crucial for planning, delivering services and for addressing the growing pressures being placed on the environment. In the second part, culture, consumption and society is considered, with reference to how acts of desire, purchasing, consuming and displying commodities link to social stratification as well as identity and subcultural formations.

Third year:

SOC 310 focuses on processes that have an impact on peoples lives. First, rural and urban communities are studied focussing on key issues, policies and strategies to adress problem areas to manage rural and urban development from a sociological perspective. Second, religion, secularism and social movements are considered as forces of social change in society. This engages with how different interest groups mobilise within societies to bring about societal transformation.

SOC 320 deals with sociological theory in the first part and industrial sociology and the sociology of work in the second part. Contributions of both classical and contemporary theorists are considered paying attention to the societal issues they dealt with in their work and how their analyses applies to an understanding of modern and postmodern society. In the sociology of work issues relating to the labour market, its flexibility, discrimination in the workplace, management practice, policy and unemployment are considered.

All undergraduate courses and modules pay close attention to South African society.

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