Nelson Mandela University has an established track record of more than a century of quality higher education, research and technological innovation, Nelson Mandela University brings together the best of career-focused and academic education - a dual university offering both general and professionally oriented university programmes as well as technologically and career oriented programmes from the diploma level (certificate level) through to the research level (PhD level).

We offer an exciting programme in political science and conflict transformation that caters for all needs in the local and global arena. The programme encompasses international relations, political economy, conflict management and African and South African politics. See yourself as a globe trotter, a famous political analyst and commentator, a political journalist, a world-renowned researcher or working for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the African Union or the United Nations? Then a major in Political Science as part of a B.A. or B.Admin is just for you to realise your dreams and true potential.


With a major in Political Science, you will not be short of opportunities and exciting careers. You will enter the job market as a highly qualified professional with all the skills necessary to embark on a career in the political field.

There are no limits to your dreams, whether you may be a future academic, political economist, political journalist, diplomat or foreign policy expert. EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS AND HAVE THE WORLD IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND.

First Year

In your first year of study you will be exposed to the following sub-fields:

  • Political Studies, Theories and Concepts 
    This module introduces the student to the study of political science, including political vocabulary, political ideologies, and government systems. It forms a critical overall introduction to the field of political science
  • Trends in South African Politics and Policy
    This module introduces the student to the study of South African politics. The module includes the evolution of South African politics, political parties, the current government and electoral system, as well as future trends in South African politics and political economy.
  • Introduction to conflict management
    This module introduces students to conflict management and peace studies, including conflict resolution techniques and overall conflict management.
  • Introduction to International Relations
    This module introduces the student to what international relations entails, including various theories and concepts, understanding the international arena, ethics in international relations, as well terrorism studies.

Second Year

In your Second year of study, Political philosophy and ideology is a compulsory module.  You are allowed to choose four additional modules from the following:

  • Political Philosophy and Ideology
    Theoretical, philosophy and ideology underpinnings of Political Studies. Contextualising political debates within the spectrum of various ‘isms’, such as, liberalism, socialism, communism, conservatism, anarchism, ecologism, feminism and nationalism. The module also delves specifically into the mediums of African nationalism and the black consciousness movement.
  • Democratisation and Transformation
    This module deals with democratisation and transformation studies, including what democratic governance entails, approaches to democratisation, as well as democratic transitions.
  • South African Political Economy
    This module deals with the relationship between politics and economics, focusing specifically on South Africa, including theories of political economy, the development of South African political economy, and the current economic strategy, as well as NEPAD and the African Renaissance.
  • Foreign Policy Making and Analysis
    This module deals with foreign policy making and analysis, including the historical evolution of the current international system, an overview of South African foreign policy, diplomatic studies, foreign influences on democratisation processes.
  • Negotiation Skills
    This module introduces learners to effective negotiation skills.  
  • Introduction to Mediation
    This module focuses on mediation skills needed to successfully resolve or manage a conflict.

Third Year

In your third/final year of study, you will engage in the following sub-fields:

  • Advanced Conflict Management
    This module deals with approaches to conflict, types of conflict and conflict resolution
  • State, Society and Economy in Africa
    This module deals with African politics and African political economy. Impacts on civil society are also discussed.
  • Theories of International Relations
    This module deals with digesting the primary theories of international relations in more depth, from the perspectives of behavioural and post-behavioural schools. The module is focused around paradigms such as liberal idealism and realism; as well as the future of international relations, encompassing paradigms of the modern era such as environmentalism and feminism from a global perspective.

A primary goal of undergraduate political and conflict studies will be to endow students with the ability to analyse subject matter critically. The student will be able to deduce findings about a normative and empirical world, as well as underlying subjectivity in political interactions.