Module Descriptions

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology & Psychology

Below is all the Module Descriptions for BA in Sociology & Psychology 2024.

Study Year 1 of 3 (basic level; NQF 5)

This module develops the skills needed for successful tertiary study, particularly listening and reading for comprehension, critical thinking in sourcing and evaluating academic material, structuring academic papers, writing clearly and logically, and referencing sources used. Students develop these essential skills through readings and talks and practise them in a supportive environment with detailed feedback.

Through this module, students will learn to use a computer for emails, internet, word processing, spreadsheet development and electronic presentation suites. This will enable students to access the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) known as Funda, which is used by Cornerstone for communication with lecturers and administrative purposes, as well as research and submission of assignments.

This module is designed to help the student build an ethical framework that considers a holistic understanding of the human person (head, heart and hands). Students are exposed to ethical theories that enable them to reflect on ways in which to respond to current moral, intellectual and social questions. Students work to integrate ethical theory into their experience of life and explore how this contributes to the good of the world.

The module introduces students to the principles, concepts, history, and major approaches to the study of society. It provides an overview of what sociologists' study, the methods they use, the different ways of thinking (paradigms) within sociology as well as the key terminology (concepts) that serve as analytical tools to understand social systems and the social construction of human life.

This module provides students with an overview of the major theories of Developmental Psychology. Furthermore, the module aims to help the student understand the course of human development from conception to late adulthood. The module also seeks to address contemporary concerns in lifespan development from conception to late adulthood.

This module provides students with training in how to develop and design life skills programmes, psycho-educational training and individual counselling interventions. This module provides an understanding of persons, ideas and principles in the sphere of human behaviour and examines how to manage structured psycho-educational activities in personal and group interventions and how to evaluate their success.

This module seeks to introduce the student to the fundamentals of intergroup dynamics and communication in the global context of cross-cultural engagement. The themes of group formation and behaviours, social structure and societal hierarchies will be introduced alongside the themes of intergroup relations and the practice of communication with and between groups with diverse values, belief systems and societal standing. The module will reflect on the demands and required skills for social change interventions when working with diverse cultural, religious, language, socio-economic, and citizen communities, among others, including also the local and global realities of migration and immigrant communities.

This module offers a comprehensive understanding of leadership from various theoretical perspectives, aiming to empower individuals for effective leadership in various contexts, particularly within South African and African settings. It delves into transformative leadership theory and practice, fostering personal and character growth. Additionally, the module introduces students to conflict resolution theory and practice, imparting essential communication skills to enrich inter-group and interpersonal relationships. Students gain insights into their conflict attitudes, self-reflect on approaches, and explore diverse conflict types through case studies. The module underscores the interconnectedness of communication, behaviour, and conflict, with a focal point on reconciliation strategies, enriching the learning experience.

This module explores the ways identity shapes and is shaped by diversity in terms of race, culture, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability, and how the social construction of difference can have a significant impact on people’s life opportunities. A fundamental objective of the module will be to develop critical diversity literacy and identify ways to promote mutual understanding, tolerance and cooperation among communities.

This module aims to provide the student with an understanding of persons, ideas, and principles in the sphere of human behaviour, which we understand as the social sciences. The historical development and current status of psychology, investigative activities, and significant findings are reviewed. Psychology: An Introduction will also engage with psychological thought in relation to the South African context.

This module surveys the themes of marriage development and family issues. The student will be introduced to the dynamics of change within marriage and the family as part of a developmental psychology framework.

Study Year 2 of 3 (intermediate level; NQF 6)

This module reviews several perspectives on community development and social transformation processes. The overall objective is to acquire an understanding of social transformation as it relates to community development and the ability to apply this understanding in working with diverse communities.

Sociology of Development aims to introduce the debate on the development question in Africa. It lays the conceptual foundation for further in-depth discussions on two fields of development research and practice: industrial development, and community development in Africa. The module will, therefore, introduce both macro theories pertaining to development, and the basics of what we understand by industrial development, and community development. The underlying meaning of popular development concepts and strategies will be critically revisited and debated to set the scene for further modules in development. The module explores poverty and exclusion as a developmental concern for Africa, and South Africa in particular.

This module comprises two parts.
Part 1: Applied Hermeneutics: Reading from the Margins. Here students are introduced to the importance and value of reading the Bible with others (i.e., the marginalised, whether women, children, the poor, the illiterate). The module enables the student both to recognise the value of being a trained reader and the responsibility to use such training in transformative, public, connected, dialogic and integrated ways. The module combines both theoretical and practical outcomes. The theoretical outcome of the module is achieved by defining who the others are and by laying the conceptual framework for what it means to read with others and how practically to do so. The practical outcome is achieved by assigning students to an actual reading site in which they will participate by applying the theoretical framework.
Part 2: Theoretical Hermeneutics. In this part, the branch of knowledge known as hermeneutics is explored in greater detail. Concerned with the art and science of establishing meaning through interpretation, this part provides the necessary orientation for making sense of Scripture. This includes cultivating, in the student, an awareness of the otherness of Scripture, both in its form and in its content; surveying the richness of the many ways in which one might approach the Scriptures and thereby appropriate its meaning; and, offering some guidelines for sensitive engagement with the Scriptures towards establishing meaning. A significant amount of time is dedicated to examining biblical texts within their socio-rhetorical setting.

This module is designed to explore how people make meaning out of life's experiences. Consideration is also given to the application of this theory to the general areas of developmental psychology, the theology of Christian formation and maturity. Additionally, students explore meaningful ways in which to bring together the theory and practice of Christian spiritual formation. This module also includes a compulsory tutorial for spiritual formation.

This foundational module is designed to introduce students to basic concepts in research methodology and quantitative statistics. Students will be able to select appropriate statistical techniques for various research situations, execute these techniques and interpret these results making appropriate inferences.

The purpose of this module is to lay the foundation for contemporary theoretical approaches to reconciliation and peace-making. While this module introduces students to the various models of peace-making at interpersonal levels, it is more specifically aimed at exploring reconciliation in social and political settings. The module is located in the concrete realities of South Africa, paying specific attention to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). It will also explore themes such as forgiveness, restitution and human dignity.

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to a foundation for conflict management that will guide community leaders in responding to interpersonal conflict. Students are introduced to the theory and practice of conflict mediation, equipping them with specific communication skills to enhance their relationships (interpersonal and intrapersonal). Students explore personal attitudes and approaches to conflict. This module makes use of case studies to assist students to reflect on the strategies, tactics and approaches used during conflict situations and emphasises the link between foundational beliefs, communication, behaviour and conflict.

Sociological theory is applied to important institutions in society such as the family, media institutions, religion, education and political institutions

The module introduces students to resources and community mobilisation, which are key elements within most development projects and programmes. Students will explore real cases of community and resource mobilisation, highlighting the value of community participation as key components of the development process.

This module provides students with an introduction to the theories and principles of various current approaches to psychotherapy and brief therapy.

In this module students engage in the application of leadership theory as it relates to the three majors, namely Theology, Psychology and Community Development. Here students explore the practice of leadership in the context of the church, faith-based organisations and the public sector. Attention is given to issues such as the process of effectively utilising and developing human resources, sharing control and responsibility, teamwork, conflict management, strategic planning and managing diverse communication styles in the three areas of Theology, Psychology and Community Development.

Study Year 3 of 3 (advanced level; NQF 7)

Fieldwork is a practical extension of the academic programme in a defined module. It is a multidisciplinary application of what has been learned theoretically. It measures the practical capabilities of the student within a field or sphere of learning.
Note: There are two versions: a 24 and 12 credit version of the Fieldwork and Service-Learning Module. Sociology majors are required to do the 24-credit version, whilst international students may choose either the 24 or 12 credit version.

This module is designed to equip students with skills in community-based research (i.e., tools, techniques and methodologies). The module aims to assist students in helping a community identify an issue or problem, collect and analyse information, act upon the problem to find solutions that promote economic, social and political development or transformation. A key focus of the module will be to train students on how to write a research proposal while being exposed to qualitative and quantitative techniques for data collection and analysis for social research. The module will review methodologies and approaches appropriate to community based participatory research and will provide students with opportunities for practical application of acquired knowledge and skills.

This module focuses on social demography, examining such themes as socio-demographic indicators, population profile, health profile, urbanisation and migration profile, education profile, and human development profile. Students focus on local communities, South Africa and the African continent as they analyse the consequences of social demographic factors for research, policy, planning and development.

This module aims to provide an overview of theories concerning the shaping of personality. It will examine the influences – both personal and environmental – that impact on personality development. The module will examine personality traits, and theories behind personality traits.

This module focuses on the most frequently encountered types of abnormal behaviour, with an overview of the symptoms, the diagnostic process, and the generally accepted treatment methods of various psychological disorders. The emphasis is on development of recognition and management/referral skills within the framework of counselling. 

Fieldwork is a practical extension of the academic programme in a defined module. It is a multidisciplinary application of what has been learned theoretically. It measures the practical capabilities of the student within a field or sphere of learning.
Note: There are two versions: a 24 and 12 credit version of the Fieldwork and Service-Learning Module. Sociology majors are required to do the 24-credit version, whilst international students may choose either the 24 or 12 credit version.

This module provides an in-depth exploration of contemporary sociological theory. The implications of these theories for the challenges faced by contemporary society are debated. Students will be encouraged to engage critically with the opportunity to apply sociological theory in understanding contemporary issues. Special focus will be given to South Africa and the African continent.

The senior project paper is a literature report and reflection paper based on the advanced level student’s practical fieldwork experience in a community setting. Students are encouraged to write an empirical research paper using community based participatory research methodologies. Students may alternatively choose to write a theoretical paper. The senior project paper will need to demonstrate the student’s mastery of compiling a literature review informed by her/his empirical research, coherently describe the research problem and successfully apply appropriate sociological theories.

This module aims to provide the student with a basic theoretical understanding of groups, group processes, group dynamics and the stages of in-group development. Theoretical application to group counselling will be examined and students will have a chance to reflect on this theoretical understanding.

This module will provide students with an overview of the basic concepts and processes in research methodology and statistics in the social sciences. The module aims to equip students with the theoretical understanding and knowledge of various social science research methodologies. The module additionally seeks to provide students with the knowledge and practical application of various statistical techniques.

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