Graduate School
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Social Sciences

ssciences.jpg​Geography and Environmental Studies department

Areas of study for doctoral candidates

  • A comparison and review of popular open-source remote sensing software packages as applied to a single processing chain
  • A cost-benefit analysis of the use of SAR interferometric and polarimetric products in land cover mapping in South Africa
  • Can the impact of forestry harvesting be monitored from space?
  • Environmental explanatory theory, policy development and testing
  • Environmental impact analysis/planning/monitoring
  • Environmental management of sector impacts: agriculture, forestry, mining, tourism
  • Environmental management of special environments (coastal/riverine/mountains/arid areas)
  • Environmental management systems development: e.g. Waste, Land care, ISO, Labelling
  • Environmental problems: noise/air/visual pollution
  • Mapping and modelling animal movements using GIS and remote sensing
  • Mapping urban areas in the Cape Peninsula using polarimetric radar imagery
  • Modelling of species distributions to aid conservation decision-making and management.
  • Modelling potential species distribution in the Knersvlakte in support of field surveys
  • Spatial problems of integrated natural and/or human/societal nature
  • Prioritization of catchment across the Cape floristic region
  • Sources of error in automated terrain extraction from stereo imagery
  • Terrain modelling from low-angle stereoscopic imagery
  • The viability of spectral unmixing for the separation of vegetative and lithological end-members
  • Tourism product diversification and the tourism destination life cycle of selected place(s)
  • Tourism resource analysis, planning and/or monitoring
  • Tourism: explanatory theory, policy development and testing; protected areas and poverty reduction; or other related spatial analyses of human/industry integration
  • Urban ecology: analysis and/or monitoring


History department

Areas of study for doctoral candidates

  • Business history in South Africa
  • Class and nationalism in South African history
  • Environmental history
  • Livestock history in Africa
  • South African and Zimbabwean social and environmental history
  • Sport in South African history
  • The history of labour and trade unions in South Africa
  • War and society in historical perspective
  • Water histories in South Africa


Information Science department


Journalism department

Areas of study for doctoral candidates

  • Cultural history
  • Media and culture 
  • Media and gender
  • Media and politics in general (the media and Zimbabwe; and the media, Mbeki and HIV/Aids in particular)
  • Media history
  • Media management
  • Media representation and identity 
  • Political economy of the media 
  • Science and the media/journalism
  • Science communication
  • The media and Afrocentricity
  • Womanism and the media


Philosophy department

Areas of study for doctoral candidates

  • Bioethics: particularly problems related to HIV in Africa, the new genetic technologies, human enhancement and research ethics
  • Business ethics: including themes related to corporate social responsibility, responsible leadership, good governance and sustainability
  • Ethics
  • Evolutionary ethics
  • Humanist and philosophical implications of complexity theory
  • Naturalism
  • Philosophy of cognitive science
  • Philosophy of evolution
  • Philosophy of religion, particularly the relationship between religion and science, as well as pragmatist notions of religion
  • Philosophy of science and of the social sciences 
  • Post-structural (French) philosophy: the philosophy of Jacques Derrida in particular


Political Science department

Areas of study for doctoral candidates

  • Foreign policy-making and niche diplomacy (health diplomacy and AIDS diplomacy in particular)
  • Gender politics: representation in government; National Gender Machineries; citizenship; feminist ethics of care; reproductive rights
  • Global political economy
  • Impact of a non-state actors on the state
  • Implementation of health sector transformation: South Africa, Western Cape or other provinces (comparative study)
  • Industry specific political risk/political-security risk analysis
  • Japan's foreign relations with Africa
  • One party dominant systems: comparative studies in Africa
  • Organised crime/organised criminal groups/transnational organised criminal groups 
  • Political aspects of HIV and AIDS: globally and/or in South Africa
  • Political behaviour: voting behaviour; political tolerance; trust; legitimacy; analysis of public opinion data; political culture
  • Political denialism
  • Political economy and foreign policy of Brazil and South Africa
  • Political economy of development: comparative approaches (Brazil, South Africa)
  • Political economy of global health
  • Political economy of transformation in South Africa: the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality
  • Public policy-making (health issues in particular)
  • State-society relations
  • South African politics
  • The South African social contract


Psychology department


Social Work department

Areas of study for doctoral candidates

  • Community practice/development in social work
  • Management, leadership and supervision within a social welfare and social work context
  • Poverty alleviation within a social development paradigm
  • Social welfare policy and social work practice(s)


Sociology and Social Anthropology department

Areas of study for doctoral candidates

  • Armed forces and society: civil-military relations; post-conflict reconstruction; nature and functions of armed forces
  • Capital cities in sub-Saharan Africa: Power and powerlessness
  • Cross racial identifications, friendships and sexual relationships among young people in South Africa
  • Economic and political sociology: topics relating to governance, planning, race and welfare
  • Education and qualitative research in the context of social problems (HIV/AIDS, lack of social cohesion, various forms of discrimination) among young people in South Africa
  • Ethnography of culture, language and identity
  • Gender, sexuality and health
  • Governance and development
  • History and politics of global health
  • HIV/AIDS and health activism and health policy in South and Southern Africa
  • How do different students and learners in particular schools and universities in South Africa and elsewhere construct their identities and relationships and how do they experience and engage with education and culture, including sports and music?
  • Human rights, health and development
  • Issues of race and racism in health
  • Land claims, conservation and protected areas
  • Land, energy and sustainability
  • Land restitution in South and/or southern Africa
  • Language and social theory
  • Multiple meanings of land in contexts of social change, including gendered and/or generational and/or urban/rural dynamics
  • Politics of development interventions and their local responses
  • Significance of gender, race and sexuality as sources of identification and dimensions of power in the lives of young people in South Africa and elsewhere
  • Social activism, citizenship and popular politics
  • Social and political aspects of migration in Southern Africa
  • Social movements and NGOs
  • Sociological research in support of the management of invasive plant species in South Africa
  • Sociology of language
  • Sociology of science and technology
  • Sociology of the environment
  • Sociology of work: changing nature of work, occupations and/or organisations
  • Urban sociology and urban government