Honours in Sociology or Social Anthropology

The Honours programme offers students a firm foundation in the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of each of the two disciplines, on which further postgraduate work can be built.


Students interested in careers as academics, researchers, social and policy analysts, planners, developers, consultants, social workers, human resource managers, and communications, government and NGO officials will all benefit, as will individuals with a general interest in deepening and broadening their understanding of society and social dynamics.

Programme AIMS & DesignFunding Opportunities

Programme aims:

  • To develop theoretical insight concerning social relations, social institutions, and the dynamics of social change;
  • To develop rigorous conceptual and research skills;
  • To deepen understanding of social dynamics within the southern African region using a comparative perspective; and
  • To encourage students to develop their individual areas of research interest and expertise.

Here’s how it works…

Programme design

The programme is designed as a residential programme for full-time study, involving regular class meetings and seminars as well as time for individual reading and research. It takes a minimum of a year to complete. Research projects are usually handed in for examination by mid-December, meaning that successful students will graduate at the following March graduation ceremony.

The two disciplines run in parallel with integration of classes at particular points. Students obtain either the degree BA Honours in Sociology or the degree BA Honours in Social Anthropology depending on their undergraduate major and their selected area of specialisation.

The Honours programme consists of an induction programme and four modules. The induction programme may involve a group exercise such as a departmental field trip as well as various orientation sessions.

Two compulsory modules cater for the theoretical and methodological foundations of the relevant disciplines, i.e. Sociology and Social Anthropology. A third compulsory component consists of the research project which is conducted under departmental supervision.

The fourth compulsory component comprises a module on „Selected themes‟ that is divided into two components. The first component addresses the disciplinary foci of within Sociology and Social Anthropology, respectively. This half-module will be presented in the 3rd term, primarily as separate sessions for Sociology and Social Anthropology students.

Finally, for the fourth term, students may choose one of a number of elective half-modules dealing with contemporary, relevant issues and themes in Sociology and/or Social Anthropology. The offering may vary from year to year.

In summary, the programme looks as follows:

  • Module 1: Sociological/Social Anthropological theory;
  • Module 2: Sociological/Social Anthropological research;
  • Module 3: Research project, under supervision;
  • Module 4: Selected themes:
     Disciplinary foci; and
     Elective. Students choose one theme from areas such as: development studies; the sociology of work and innovation; HIV/AIDS and society; land, environment and society; culture, identity and gender; and religion.


Assessment is continuous, involving essays, seminar participation and examinations and students obtain a mark for every module completed. Students are also expected to participate actively in the intellectual life of the Department through, for instance, attendance of the weekly departmental seminar.

In cases where a student‟s average for the programme as a whole is borderline in terms of the class of the degree (for instance, the student has an average of 74%, just short of the 75% required for a cum laude pass) the Department may request the student to participate in an oral examination to determine the final mark.


The research project

The research project is examined by an internal examiner and moderated externally. Students choose their topics in consultation with the Department and work under the supervision of a member of the academic staff. The final 1.5 spaced project report is expected to be in the region of 10 000 – 12 000 words (maximum 15 000 words), excluding references.

For more information, please contact one of the programme co-ordinators:

Programme co-ordinators

Social Anthropology:
Dr. Shaheed Tayob
Tel: +27 808 2420

Dr Khayaat Fakier
Tel.: +27 21 808 2391


For the 2017 Honours Year, the department is offering 14 Scholarships.

Six are Mellon Foundation Critical Transformation Studies Scholarships

Four are SP Cilliers Bursaries

Four are linked to the SARCHI chair in Land, Environment and Society.

To apply for these scholarships, you need to send an application letter the length of a single typed page that offers your motivation for doing honours and makes your specific interests in the programme clear. You may also choose to include a statement of your financial need, and you may be asked to furnish your financial details during the selection process.

The criteria for these awards are a combination of merit, historical disadvantage and financial need.


Please note that:

  • Application to these scholarships is separate from your application to honours.
  • Application letters need to be sent to Genay Dhelminie (genay@sun.ac.za) and must reach her by 30 November 2016.
  • Applications to Mellon and SP Cilliers will be considered together. One application is sufficient for both.
  • Applications to the SARCHI Chair in Land, Environment and Society will be considered separately and be sure to indicate that you are applying for this award in your application letter.  Please make clear in this interest in this broad research area
  • Awards will be announced by the end of the second week of December.



In addition to this funding, there are other sources of funding you may wish to explore:

  • There are some National Research Foundation Bursaries that are external to the University, but about which you should consult the Postgraduate and International Office.
  • There are University level bursaries administered by the Postgraduate and International office, including Academic Merit Bursaries.