Yearbooks

Programme: BSocSci Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Code Faculty Duration Credits Download
01130056 Faculty of Humanities Duration of study: 3 years Total credits: 434
Contact:
Prof EB Ruttkamp
[email protected]
+27 (0)124202694

Programme information

The purpose of this programme is to provide students with an in-depth knowledge and analytical understanding of contemporary political and economic issues. All three disciplines – political science, philosophy, and economics – focus on the social world and social phenomena, each from a different perspective. Economics focuses on the production of goods (why, how, and what is produced) and the consequences of such production to society (who benefits). Political Science focuses on political processes and governance issues such as decision-making. Philosophy equips students with analytical reasoning skills necessary to understand and solve complex moral problems related to economic and political decision-making. The result of combining these perspectives is that students are equipped with an understanding of the moral issues influencing human agency in economic and political contexts. A PPE qualification is an internationally recognised ‘brand’, respected for its rigorous training, that immediately gives students entrance into a variety of careers related to economic or political policy making, from journalism to diplomatic service. This qualification will enable students, once they are employed in the public or private sector, to respond in a sensitive, rational, and innovative manner to moral problems and challenges within their politico-economic context.

Admission requirements

  • The following persons will be considered for admission: a candidate who is in possession of a certificate that is deemed by the University to be equivalent to the required Grade 12 certificate with university endorsement; a candidate who is a graduate from another tertiary institution or has been granted the status of a graduate of such an institution; and a candidate who is a graduate of another faculty at the University of Pretoria.
  • Candidates who comply with the minimum subject requirements and achievement levels as well as the APS requirements of these programmes will be granted placement in the programmes, subject to the availability of space. The abovementioned is not applicable to selection programmes.
  • To retain admission, learners will be expected to obtain an APS of at least 28 in Grade 12. Prospective students who have already been granted provisional admission in these programmes, but obtained at least an APS of 27 in Grade 12, will be considered by the Admission Committee should space be available. The Admission Committee of the Faculty of Humanities will consider these students once the results of the National Benchmark Test (NBT) are available and depending on the availability of space.
  • The Faculty will assess satisfactory performance in the NBT in the light of its commitment to ensure that an appropriate proportion of the applicants will be drawn from the disadvantaged category of the population.
  • Applicants who meet the minimum APS requirement, but who do not comply with the subject requirements must write the NBT.
  • Life Orientation is excluded when calculating the APS.

 

Minimum requirements 

Achievement Level

APS

Afrikaans or English

Mathematics

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

NSC/IEB

HIGCSE

AS-Level

A-Level

5

3

C

C

5

3

C

C

32

Other programme-specific information

  • Elective modules: Yr-level 1: Select any two semester modules (one per semester) from the same discipline on yr-level 1 to the credit value of at least 20 credits (if selected from Economic and Management Sciences) or 24 credits (if selected from Humanities).
  • The ALL modules are excluded due to the high AP Score (32) required.
  • Students who consider doing an honours degree in Economics should consult the student administration of EMS to determine which additional modules they should include in their study programme in order to meet the entry requirements for BComHons in Economics.
  • Students who wish to continue with an honours degree in Economics should have completed STK 210, STK 220 in addition to completing EKN 310 and EKN 320.
  • Students should choose ONE of the following two sequences of Economics modules: EKN 214/234 or EKN 224/244.

Minimum credits: 120

Elective modules: Year 1. Select any two semester modules (one per semester) from the same discipline at yr- level 1 to the credit value of at least 20 credits (if selected from Economic and Management Sciences) or 24 credits (if selected from Humanities)

Fundamental modules

Core modules

  • Module content:

    This module deals with the core principles of economics. A distinction between macroeconomics and microeconomics is made. A discussion of the market system and circular flow of goods, services and money is followed by a section dealing with microeconomic principles, including demand and supply analysis, consumer behaviour and utility maximisation, production and the costs thereof, and the different market models and firm behaviour. Labour market institutions and issues, wage determination, as well as income inequality and poverty are also addressed. A section of money, banking, interest rates and monetary policy concludes the course.

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  • Module content:

    This module deals with the core principles of economics, especially macroeconomic measurement the private and public sectors of the South African economy receive attention, while basic macroeconomic relationships and the measurement of domestic output and national income are discussed. Aggregate demand and supply analysis stands core to this course which is also used to introduce students to the analysis of economic growth, unemployment and inflation. The microeconomics of government is addressed in a separate section, followed by a section on international economics, focusing on international trade, exchange rates and the balance of payments. The economics of developing countries and South Africa in the global economy conclude the course.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to Philosophy
    The two semester modules at first-year level introduce students to the four main subfields of Philosophy, namely epistemology and metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy. This module introduces students to two of these subfields. Students must contact the Department of Philosophy to ascertain which two subfields are covered in each semester as the choice may change from time to time due to availability of teaching staff. Students will become acquainted with the nature of philosophical reflection by exploring a number of classical philosophical themes in each subfield. Throughout the module there is an emphasis on developing those critical thinking, reading and writing skills that are required in Philosophy, while students become acquainted with the power of critique as critical judgment and discernment.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to Philosophy
    The two semester modules at first-year level introduce students to the four main subfields of Philosophy, namely epistemology and metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy. This module introduces students to two of these subfields. Students must contact the Department of Philosophy to ascertain which two subfields are covered in each semester as the choice may change from time to time due to availability of teaching staff. Students will become acquainted with the nature of philosophical reflection by exploring a number of classical philosophical themes in each subfield. Throughout the module there is an emphasis on developing those critical thinking, reading and writing skills that are required in Philosophy, while students become acquainted with the power of critique as critical judgment and discernment.

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  • Module content:

    Descriptive statistics:
    Sampling and the collection of data; frequency distributions and graphical representations. Descriptive measures of location and dispersion.
    Probability and inference:
    Introductory probability theory and theoretical distributions. Sampling distributions. Estimation theory and hypothesis testing of sampling averages and proportions (one and two-sample cases). Identification, use, evaluation and interpretation of statistical computer packages and statistical techniques.

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  • Module content:

    Multivariate statistics:
    Analysis of variance, categorical data analysis, distribution-free methods, curve fitting, regression and correlation, the analysis of time series and indices.
    Statistical and economic applications of quantitative techniques:
    Systems of linear equations: drafting, matrices, solving and application. Optimisation; linear functions (two and more independent variables), non-linear functions (one and two independent variables). Marginal and total functions. Stochastic and deterministic variables in statistical and economic context: producers' and consumers' surplus, distribution functions, probability distributions, probability density functions. Identification, use, evaluation, interpretation of statistical computer packages and statistical techniques.
    This module is also presented as an anti-semester bilingual module.

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  • Module content:

    An introduction to the study of organised political society at national and international levels with specific reference to political concepts, approaches and methods. The emphasis is on state and governance as frameworks for analysis in light of the salient changes brought about at national and international levels by globalisation. Attention is paid to the corresponding dynamics of regime development, performance and change at national and international levels considering increasing challenges to national sovereignty from within and without states in a context of a growing global agenda dealing with transnational issues and challenges, such as the environment, human rights, development and humanitarian intervention.

     

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Minimum credits: 152

Students should choose ONE of the following two sequences of Economics modules in Year 2: 

EKN 214/234 or EKN 224/244

Students should choose ONE of the following two sequences of Political Sciences modules in Year 2:

IPL 210/220 or STL 210/220.

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Macroeconomics
    From Wall and Bay Street to Diagonal Street: a thorough understanding of the mechanisms and theories explaining the workings of the economy is essential. Macroeconomic insight is provided on the real market, the money market, two market equilibrium, monetarism, growth theory, cyclical analysis, inflation, Keynesian general equilibrium analysis and fiscal and monetary policy issues.

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  • Module content:

    Microeconomics
    Microeconomic insight is provided into: consumer and producer theory, general microeconomic equilibrium, Pareto-optimality and optimality of the price mechanism, welfare economics, market forms and the production structure of South Africa. Statistic and econometric analysis of microeconomic issues.

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  • Module content:

    History of modern philosophy I and II

    A concise history of modern philosophy. The following are examples of themes that may be explored: The Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the foundations of the modern worldview (in contrast to the premodern), the European Enlightenment, Romanticism, German Idealism (Kant and Hegel), Marx and Marxism, Kierkegaard and Existentialism, the philosophy of Nietzsche. A selection of contemporary critical responses to modern philosophy may be explored; these may include for example African philosophy, analytical (Anglo-American) philosophy, postmodernism, neo-Marxism, etc.

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  • Module content:

    Political philosophy and ethics
    In this module the ways in which human reality is reflected on in practical philosophy, are examined. Both the analytical, interpretative perspective and the normative perspective are covered. This is done with the aid of a selection of key themes and texts from the history of philosophy, but with special attention to their contemporary relevance. The first of the two foci of this semester module will be on political philosophy. Among the issues that may be covered are justice, power, ideology, authority, the social contract, law, legitimacy, recognition, etc. The second focus of this semester module will be on ethics. Among the issues that may be covered are the formation of rules, principles, ideal, dispositions and the capability to judge that regulate such diverse phenomena as freedom, equality, rights, distribution, oppression. pluralism, and others. The classical approaches to ethics - virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism - will form the backdrop against which moral philosophy will be discussed. In this module, in general, the student can expect to be exposed to the work of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Sidgwick, Nietzsche, Weber, Mead, Arendt, Habermas, Rawls, Ricoeur, Walzer, Young, Sen, Honneth, and others.

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  • Module content:

    International theory and organisation
    What causes war and peace? Can international order and justice be reconciled? Does the international structure matter? The answers depend on the theoretical lenses through which world politics are viewed. An overview is provided of competing theoretical perspectives of international relations. It includes mainstream and alternative perspectives, as well as the underlying ideas, theories and variants of each. These theories also propose different approaches to global peace, amongst others peace through international organisation. A comprehensive analysis is made of selected international organisations with a universal or regional scope, such as the United Nations, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community, and of international law that underpins these organisations and their activities.

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  • Module content:

    Foreign policy and diplomacy
    A short introduction to the study of foreign policy is followed by an explanation of the use of the comparative method and a framework for foreign policy analysis and evaluation. This allows for a comparative study of the foreign policies of selected states from the major regions of the world, amongst others of South African foreign policy. In each case study the policy environment, the formulation and implementation processes, as well as the substance of the particular state’s foreign policy are covered. Thereafter the focus narrows to diplomacy: the oldest, most versatile and universally used instrument of foreign policy. The nature, history, modes of diplomacy and legal framework of the institution are explored. Examples are drawn from global practice, with specific consideration of the evolution of diplomatic practice within the African and South African context.

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  • Module content:

    Counting techniques. Probability theory: Sample spaces, events, rules of probability, conditional probabilities, independent events and Bayes’ theorem. Probability distributions and probability densities: cumulative distribution functions, marginal distributions, joint distributions, conditional distributions and independence. Expected values: Moments, Chebyshev’s theorem, moment-generating functions, product moments, moments of linear combinations of random variables and conditional expectations. Transformation techniques of random variables. Identification, use, evaluation and interpretation of statistical computer packages and statistical techniques.

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  • Module content:

    Special probability distributions: the discrete uniform distribution, Bernoulli distribution, binomial distribution, negative binomial and geometric distribution, the hypergeometric distribution, Poisson distribution and multinomial distribution. Special probability densities: Uniform distribution, gamma, exponential and chi-square distributions, the beta distribution, the normal distribution and the bivariate normal distribution. Functions of random variables. Sampling distributions, point estimation, interval estimation and hypothesis testing. Regression Analysis. Identification, use, evaluation and interpretation of statistical computer packages and statistical techniques.

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  • Module content:

    Political dynamics (Micro)
    The study of the theory and practice of behavioural phenomena in politics. With reference to appropriate examples, the emphasis is on the study of political culture, leadership, communication, interests groups, parties and party systems; on elections, electoral systems, voting behaviour; and on public opinion and direct popular control techniques.

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  • Module content:

    Political dynamics (Macro)
    A theoretical basis and framework is provided for the description, analysis and classification of political and policy problems. The emphasis is on the nature of the state, governance and conflict in Africa. Amongst others a study is made of the issues of colonialism and post-colonialism, democratisation, authoritarianism and the development of the state in Africa, in the context of a globalising world.

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  • Module content:

    Macroeconomics
    Application of the principles learned in EKN 214 on the world we live in. We look at international markets and dynamic macroeconomic models, and familiarise the students with the current macroeconomic policy debates. We also take a look at the latest macroeconomic research in the world. The course includes topics of the mathematical and econometric analysis of macroeconomic issues.

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  • Module content:

    Microeconomics
    From general equilibrium and economic welfare to uncertainty and asymmetric information. In this module we apply the principles learned in EKN 224 on the world around us by looking at the microeconomic principles of labour and capital markets, as well as reasons why the free market system could fail. We touch on the government’s role in market failures. The course includes topics of the mathematical and econometric analysis of microeconomic issues.

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Minimum credits: 160

Students should choose ONE of the following two sequences of Political Sciences modules in Year 3:

IPL 310/320 or STL 310/320.

 

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Public finance
    Role of government in the economy. Welfare economics and theory of optimality. Ways of correcting market failures. Government expenditure theories, models and programmes. Government revenue. Models on taxation, effects of taxation on the economy. Assessment of taxation from an optimality and efficiency point of view. South African perspective on public finance.

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  • Module content:

    Economic analyses
    Identification, collection and interpretation process of relevant economic data; the national accounts (i.e. income and production accounts, the national financial account, the balance of payments and input-output tables); economic growth; inflation; employment, unemployment, wages, productivity and income distribution; business cycles; financial indicators; fiscal indicators; social indicators; international comparisons; relationships between economic time series - regression analysis; long-term future studies and scenario analysis; overall assessment of the South African economy from 1994 onwards.

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  • Module content:

    Philosophical anthropology and cognitive philosophy

    In this module the focus is on the quest to understand humankind and its relations to reality and knowledge. Both the analytical, interpretative perspective and the normative perspective are covered. This is done with the aid of a selection of key themes and texts from the history of philosophy, but with special attention to their contemporary relevance. The first of the two foci of this semester module is philosophical anthropology or contemporary metaphysics. Themes covered may include: Is a human more than the sum total of its properties?; the relation between consciousness, self-consciousness and the human unconscious; the meaning of life; the nature of personal identity; the issue of free will, and others. The second focus of the semester module is the congnitive disciplines of philosophy, such as philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and epistemology. In philosophy of science, themes covered may include the types of reasoning in science, the nature and role of explanations in science, the scientific realism debate, the nature of scientific progress, justification of scientific theories, the role of truth in science, and others. In philosophy of mind, themes covered may include the relation between spriit, psyche and body - the mind-body problem, the nature of consciousness and qualia, dualism, materialism, functionalism, physicalism, supervenience, intentionality, and others. In epistemology themes covered may include rationalism, empiricism, transcendental, idealism and Kant foundationalism coherentism, epistemic internalism and externalism, radical scepticism, and others.

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  • Module content:

    Philosophical hermeneutics and social philosophy
    The first of the two foci of this semester module is a discussion and analysis of philosophical perspectives on the hermeneutical problem (the problem of understanding and interpretation), with particular attention to contemporary thinkers such as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Gadamer and Derrida. The second focus of the semester module is social philosophy where philosophical questions on social forms, structures, institutions, practices, habitus and ethos will be raised. A range of themes may be investigated, such as structure and agency, social imaginaries, new social formations, institutional cultures, gender and sexuality, subject constitution, and others. Furthermore, the framing of these themes in a spectrum of approaches including Critical Theory, Theory of Ideology, Constractariansim, Social Action Theory, Metaphorology, Critical Race Theory, Genealogy, and others will be analysed and explored.

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  • Module content:

    International political economy
    The nature and functioning of the international contemporary political-economic order are analysed against the background of the process of globalisation. The focus is on the interaction of political and economic trends and issues such as the economic importance and political impact of regional trade blocs; the debt burden of states; international aid; the role and influence of multinational corporations; and the transfer of technology to less-developed countries; the rise of new economic powers in the Global South; and global economic governance.

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  • Module content:

    Security and strategic studies
    A study of traditional and contemporary approaches to security and strategy. Attention is paid to new theories on war, security and strategy; military and non-military security issues and threats; the national security of developing states; as well as the relationship between policy, strategy and tactics. The latter includes an introductory overview of the nature, levels, patterns, forms and instruments of strategy, and the laws of war. The national, regional and continental security situation in Africa and modes of multilateral security cooperation in particular are analysed, also in relation to extra-continental trends. Regarding the aforesaid, emphasis is placed on the legal and institutional framework, national security policy and strategic posture of South Africa.

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  • Module content:

    Political theory
    A theoretical and normative study of political ideas. This includes the study of key political thinkers such as Plato, Thomas Hobbes and John Rawls as well as the contemporary manifestations of ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism and nationalism. This normative assessment of politics concludes with a critical evaluation of the development, nature and practical value of prominent democratic theories including participatory, legal, and deliberative democracy.

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  • Module content:

    Part 1: Democratic studies
    A high level critical analysis of democratic theory and practice. The analysis of democratic theory will include themes such as classical, radical, deliberative and feminist perspectives. The analysis of democratic practice will include aspects such as democratisation, democratic consolidation, democratic citizenship and society, the role and importance of civil society, the institutions and procedures for democracy and “good governance”.
    Part 2: Political analysis
    The methods and practice of political analysis is the focus of study. The principles and problems underpinning different approaches and methods of political analysis are described and explained. This includes the nature, methods and use of comparative analysis, forecasting, risk analysis, performance evaluation and the political audit. These analytical methods are positioned in a political and policy context, with emphasis on practical application. Applicable examples and case studies are used throughout.

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