Bachelor of Arts | Sociology & Community Development

( Minimum 3 years; minimum 360 credits; NQF 7)

Time Commitment

• Three years full-time
• Up to six years part-time
• No evening classes On-campus and Online January and July intakes


This qualification will enable the student to gain an in-depth understanding of sociological theories. The student would be able to analyse and evaluate these theories with reference to issues such as poverty, globalisation, conflict, the environment and gender, with special focus on South Africa and the African continent. The qualification also provides the students with practical community, cross-cultural and social research skills. During their first year, the students will also take the foundational set of modules, referred to as the ‘Cornerstone Core’. These include History, Sociology, Ethics, Philosophy, Economics and Leadership Studies. The modules are embedded with Cornerstone’s core values of inclusivity, excellence, integrity, unity, respect and creativity.


Registered as Cornerstone Institute (RF) NPC with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997, Registration Certificate No 2001/HE08/006; NQF 7; SAQA ID 87406.

Programme Coordinator

Henrietta Settler Programme Head of Department for Sociology and Community Development. She holds a MPhil degree in Social Science Methods from the University Stellenbosch, a BPhil in Community and Youth Studies from the University of Birmingham and a Diploma in Teaching from Dower College of Education. Henrietta has more than 20 years’ experience in the community and youth development sector. Her dedication to education and freedom stem from her desire to contribute positively to the lives of marginal constituencies and with this a deep understanding of issues affecting the most vulnerable. As a black feminist she also has a keen interest in gender migration in particular black female migrants. She is currently reading for a doctoral degree focusing on gender and migrants, by exploring, personal economic and social agency of Black Female Migrants in the hair industry. Her research interests include Gender and Migration, Youth Development and Research Ethics. Henrietta has extensive experience lecturing in Sociology, Youth Development and Research Methods at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Modes of delivery

Contact and distance



  • National Senior Certificate (NSC) with a bachelor’s pass or equivalent
  • A Matriculation Certificate (with university exemption) or equivalent
  • A Higher Certificate or Advanced Certificate or Diploma in a cognate field
  • Matriculation Certificate (with university exemption) or equivalent 
  • National Benchmark Test (NBT) results
  • A National Senior Certificate or National Certificate Vocational with a diploma pass (or equivalent) combined with the NBT results 
  • Mature age of 23 and over during the first year of studies and a National Senior Certificate (or equivalent). The conditions of the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy for access and the results of the NBT are determining factors for admission. Contact the admissions office regarding RPL
  • Mature age of 45 years can be admitted, determined by the RPL conditions and the results of the NBT

Applicants in the first category under Alternative Admission Requirements must register for the Extended Programme for Academic Development. The Programme extends the completion of the prescribed subjects over a minimum of four years.

Students who are admitted on the basis of prior learning and who want to complete the degree in three years, but who fail more than 20% of modules taken during the first semester, are required to take the first year over two years. 

The BA aims to provide access for those who have completed Grade 12 to a degree programme equipping them with skills to be more effective leaders in the community in the areas of Psychology, Theology, Media Studies, Alternative Education and Sociology and Community Development.  In addition to a career path for sociologists, psychologists, and media specialists. The programme is also intended to provide students who are considering a career as teachers to advance to a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education with the required teaching subjects at an undergraduate level.

BA students must choose between a major in Psychology, Sociology, Theology, Alternative Education or Media Studies. Each focus has its own specified core and elective modules from the curriculum below. Outcomes are set for each area of focus, as outlined below. Each module within the curriculum also has its own set of outcomes.

Sociology and Community Development students who have completed the qualification must be able to:

  • Understand the principles, concepts, history and major approaches to the study of society
  • Understand sociological theory as it is applied to important institutions in society such as the family, religion, government and community life
  • Understand their own culture and appreciate the values of other cultures
  • Understand the psycho-social problems facing Africa today, with an emphasis on poverty and poverty alleviation
  • Analyse economic systems from a sociological perspective and identify the debates around the prevalent economic systems in the African context
  • Engage critically with contemporary examples of social, cultural, economic and political oppression and injustice within our region, continent and globally 
  • Illustrate an in depth understanding of contemporary sociological theory and be able to evaluate and analyse these theories with reference to issues such as globalisation, conflict, the environment, gender and poverty, with a special focus on South Africa and the African continent
  • Conduct research into social issues. This includes the acquisition of skills such as: participatory research methodologies, evaluation research, report writing and proposal writing.

Module descriptions and credits

For a description of each module, see ‘Module descriptions’ towards the end of this document.

Cornerstone Institute
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