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Departments, Schools & Institutes

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‌The Faculty of Humanities is made up of 11 Departments, 2 Schools and 4 Institutes.

Anthropology is the systematic study of human beings: past, present and future; body, mind, and spirit. Socio-cultural anthropology, the main focus of anthropology at Rhodes, is chiefly concerned with relationships between people in particular social and cultural contexts. Traditionally, anthropologists have studied small, isolated communities a long way from their own homes, where all aspects of the local society and culture could be investigated by a single researcher. Today, anthropologists' interests include a much wider range of contexts from families to classrooms, congregations to boardrooms, neighbourhoods to workplaces and they take account of the widest influences including the impact of globalisation - on their particular context of study. Whether traditional or postmodern, local or global in orientation, anthropology has always provided students with new ways of looking at their own social situations and of understanding those of others. 

Undergraduate Courses: Anthropology 1, Anthropology 2, Anthropology 3   

Postgraduate Courses:  Honours, Masters, PhD

 The Drama Department provides training in creative and technical skills associated with theatre: acting, dance, design, directing, mime, physical theatre, stage management, theatre administration and voice. On a personal level, drama also encourages growth, self-esteem and confidence by developing communication, interpersonal and collaborative skills - essential life-skills for all careers. A study in drama cultivates practices that are artistic, critical and collaborative. These practices lie at the core of the drama curriculum and provide exciting opportunities for future career developments.

Undergraduate Courses: Drama 1, Drama 2, Drama 3   

Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD

The department offers a proven three-course major with commitment at every level to English in the wider context of the languages of Southern Africa, which distinguishes it from General Linguistics courses at other universities in South Africa. Housed in the historic Drosdty Barracks, the Department has close links with the Department of English, the Institute for the Study of English in Africa, and with the Dictionary of South African English. In addition the department collaborates closely with the Academic Development Centre at Rhodes.

Undergraduate Courses: English Language & Linguistics 1, English Language & Linguistics 2, English Language & Linguistics 3    Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD

Rhodes University in Grahamstown offers exciting possibilities for study in the field of visual art and art making. The Fine Art Department, situated on the beautiful Rhodes campus, has excellent facilities, plenty of studio space, and a fully equipped workshop. A team of skilled and enthusiastic lecturers, with expertise in several areas of contemporary art making, will help you develop your artistic skills both critically and creatively. This will enable you to pursue a career in a variety of art fields.

Undergraduate Courses: Fine Art 1 (Art History & Visual Culture 1, Fine Art Practice 1), Fine Art 2 (Art History & Visual Culture 2, Fine Art Practice 2), Fine Art 3 (Art History & Visual Culture 3, Fine Art Practice 3) Fine Art 4 (Art History & Visual Culture 4, Fine Art Practice 4)       

Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD

At Rhodes we have abandoned old-fashioned approaches to History. We do NOT require you to rote-learn dry factual material. Rather we stimulate you to think independently, imaginatively and critically. History is not just about the past. History courses at Rhodes are designed to help you make sense of the world, the continent and the country that you are living in NOW—and to help you better understand YOURSELF by examining some of the forces that have shaped YOUR life. The study of History pulls it all together and helps you place all other academic disciplines in context and perspective.

Undergraduate Courses: History 101, History 102, History 2, History 3     Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD

English at Rhodes involves the study of literature in English, an intrinsically worthwhile cultural pursuit rather than a form of training for employment. Nevertheless, the range of skills associated with the practice of literacy criticism — imaginative reach, interpretive insight, the capacity to deal with verbal and intellectual complexity, the ability to argue coherently and to write with clarity and fluency add up to the kind of general capability that is required and valued in numerous fields of employment. English graduates are regularly selected for places in teaching, journalism, radio, television, theatre, public relations, research, advertising, banking, commerce and information technology.

Undergraduate Courses: English 1, English 2, English 3    

Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD

The Rhodes Music Department, established in 1923, is one of the oldest music departments in the country. Its graduates have always played an important role in the musical and educational life of South Africa, and are now doing so increasingly at an international level. Rhodes Music has eagerly taken on the challenge asked of a changing country and world, reflecting not only the musical diversity of our country but the technological sophistication of the IT age.

Undergraduate Courses: Music 1, Music 2, Music 3, (for students doing a BMus: Music 4),

Ethnomusicology 1, Ethnomusicology 2, Ethnomusicology 3, Sound Technology (1 year course)

Music, Culture & History: Western Art Music (semester 1)

Music, Culture & History: Ethnomusicology (semester 1)

Music, Culture & History: Music, Health and the Brain (semester 2)

Music, Culture & History: Jazz & African-American Music (semester2)

Postgraduate Course: Honours, Masters, PhD

Philosophy begins when we realise that this world is problematic and puzzling, and that we understand neither the world nor our own place in it.

Attempting to understand the problematic nature of our world involves questioning the basic assumptions we make about ourselves and about our place in the world. This is difficult, because these assumptions are often the assumptions we make without questioning and upon which we base our lives. Some of these assumptions provide a framework for the ways in which we look at and act in the world.

Undergraduate Courses: Iintheto ZoBomi, Philosophy 1, Philosophy 2, Philosophy 3, 

Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD

Political Studies focuses on the problems of politics from the wide ranging perspectives of several different disciplines. There is little agreement of what politics is, although there is an almost universal consensus that politics is important and of concern to everyone.

Undergraduate Courses: Political & International Studies 1, Political & International Studies 2, Political & International Studies 3

Postgraduate Courses: Diploma in International Studies, Honours, Masters, PhD

Psychology is the study of human experience and behaviour.  It is a science that offers a description of the range of human emotions, abilities and thought processes.  It examines people’s attitudes and motives, both conscious and unconscious.  The work of psychologists has many practical applications in organisations, schools, hospitals, clinics and counselling centres.  The study of psychology can also be personally enriching, providing insight into your experience of relationships, motivations and goals and emotional life.  It also offers guidelines for more skilful living and successful handling of everyday problems in the family, in relationships and in the work setting.  The subject matter of psychology is people:  people from before birth through infancy and childhood, through adolescence and young adulthood to mature adulthood and old age, and, ultimately, people facing death.  Psychology attempts to encompass the full range of human experience as it is lived in different political, socio-economic and cultural settings.

Undergraduate Courses: Psychology 1, Psychology 2 or Organisational Psychology 2, Psychology 3 or Organisational Psychology 3

Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD

Sociology involves the understanding of the social influences which help to shape our lives. But how do sociologists do this?

A typical sociology study would look at the relationship between different social influences. For example, are working class youths more likely than middle class youths to join gangs in urban areas? If this is so, what are the reasons?

A sociologist’s main task is to understand what lies beneath the visible aspect of our social life. This Involves putting her/himself in the position of the group of people she/he is studying, and trying to understand the social factors influencing the groups behaviour.

An industrial sociologist may look at ways of improving relations between workers and management in a large company. The sociologist would ask such questions as why does management have a particular approach to labour relations and workers a different one. Do their different class backgrounds affect their behaviours and the way they view the world? How do we overcome the problems resulting from these different perceptions and positions?

Undergraduate Courses: Sociology 1, Sociology 2 or Industrial & Economic Sociology 2, Sociology 3 or Industrial & Economic Sociology 3

Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD




Journalism & Media Studies aims to produce self-reflexive, critical, analytical graduates and media workers, whose practice is of probing, imaginative, civic minded and outspoken. Such graduates are equipped to act as thoughtful, creative and skilled journalists and practitioners able to make meaningful and technically proficient media productions.  Moreover, Journalism and Media Studies seeks to make a valuable intellectual contribution to the broad African media environment, to research, and to the integrated and ongoing education of media practitioners.

Undergraduate Courses: Journalism and Media Studies 1, Journalism and Media Studies 2, Journalism and Media Studies 3 (+ Journalism and Media Studies 4 for BJRN Degree)

Postgraduate Courses: Diploma in Journalism, Diploma in Media Management (Sol Plaatje Institute) Honours, Masters, PhD

African Language Studies
Afrikaans and Netherlandic Studies
Chinese Studies
Classical Studies
French Studies
German Studies
Modern Fiction

Much of the focus of the School of Languages is on contact with people and cultures outside of South Africa. The School of Languages at Rhodes University consists of five language and literature sections.

Undergraduate Courses:

African Language Studies:

Afrikaans and Nederland Studies 1, 2, 3

IsiXhosa 1, 2, 3 Mother Tongue

IsiXhosa 1, 2, 3 Non-Mother Tongue

Classical Studies 1, 2, 3

French Studies 1, 2, 3

German Studies 1, 2, 3

Modern Fiction - Several of the sections in the School of Languages contribute to this course which is a year course and cannot be considered as a major subject. This course may not be offered every year. 

Postgraduate Courses: Honours, Masters, PhD



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The Institute of Social and Economic Research is based at Rhodes University serving both the university and broader Eastern Cape community. The Institute is involved in a wide range of socio-economic research, with a strong Eastern Cape bias although our research interests reach further into south and east Africa. The institute seeks to help young scholars, the university and the wider community with research expertise and knowledge. An inter-disciplinary centre, we have four broad research foci:

The Eastern Cape research focuses on regional and local government issues.
The Quality of Life research undertakes a wide range of studies at the local, provincial and national level.   The environmental focus covers uses of non timber forest products by rural households, cultural practices and the implications for bio-cultural diversity in South Africa.
The research conducted for the Municipal Services Project (funded by IDRC) examines the restructuring of municipal services in Southern Africa.

The Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership (SPI) is a pioneering institute in Africa offering high-level editorial and business training programmes to both practising and aspirant media leaders. Established in 2002, the SPI is the only university-level institute in Africa offering professional media management and leadership training programmes and the honours-level Post-Graduate Diploma in Media Management (PDMM). Our training programmes uniquely combine cutting-edge theory and practice and are led by media industry experts and academics, who seek to provide course participants with knowledge and skills of how to lead sustainable media organisations in rapidly changing conditions typified by Africa’s socio-economic and political landscape. 

The defining concern of the Allan Gray Centre for Leadership Ethics (AGCLE) is to theorise, teach and provide expert advice on leadership ethics in ways that promote the formation of persons who can lead humanely, responsibly and effectively, in short, who can exercise their ethical agency in a maximally effective way.

The International Library of African Music (ILAM) was founded by Hugh Tracey (1903-1977) in 1954 at the apex of 25 years of field recording and research into African music. This included 12 years of promoting African music as head of the Natal studios of SABC radio (1936-47), production of numerous commercial 78 rpm records with Gallo Records as head of their African Music Research Unit, and publication of his research findings in two significant books, Chopi Musicians (1948) and African Dances of the Witswatersrand Gold Mines (1952). Funding from a Nuffield Foundation grant matched by a contribution from the mining industry of southern Africa enabled Tracey to establish ILAM as an independent research centre, archive, and library intended to expand upon the work of the African Music Society, which he founded in 1948. 




Last Modified: Wed, 26 Sep 2018 14:32:24 SAST