Stellenbosch University | Political Science


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The Bachelor Honours Degree is a postgraduate specialisation qualification, characterised by the fact that it prepares students for research-based postgraduate study. This qualification typically follows a Bachelor’s degree and serves to consolidate and deepen students’ expertise in either Political Science or International Relations, and to develop research capacity in the methodology and techniques of that discipline. This qualification demands a high level of theoretical engagement and intellectual independence.

According to the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework, Bachelor Honours Degree programmes must include conducting and reporting research under supervision, worth at least 30 credits, in the form of a discrete research component that is appropriate to the discipline or field of study.

The department currently offers two Honours programmes with a specialisation in (1) Political Science or (2) International Studies.


Given the nature and purpose of the Honours degree outlined above, the Honours programmes are residential programmes (no online or hybrid modules are offered) and lecture attendance is compulsory. Students who fail to attend two or more lectures within a module without a valid excuse (e.g., a medical certificate) will not be permitted to continue with that module.

Honours students are also required to attend the weekly departmental seminars.

The curated academic programme extends over one academic year starting in February. The language of instruction for both Honours programmes is English.


For both Honours programmes, applicants must have completed a Bachelor’s degree with Political Science or International Studies as one of their majors. An average final mark of 68% for Political Science and International Studies modules at the third-year level is a minimum requirement. The final decision on admission rests with the departmental selection committee which also considers whether or not the applicant has the potential for undertaking independent research.

While the first semester grades must be submitted at the time of application (30 September) annually, applicants who do not have an average mark of 68% at the time of application will not be disqualified as the decision regarding selection takes all third-year Political Science and International Studies modules into account. The departmental selection committee meets once the second semester lectures have concluded.

In the case of external applications, the applicant must ensure that official transcripts reflecting the results of all third-year Political Science and International Studies are submitted as soon as possible after completion. External applications are also required to submit evidence of written academic work at the time of application.


All students are required to complete an online application process by the deadline date (30 September). The institutional Postgraduate Office (PGO) manages the application process centrally (not the department). For more information about postgraduate studies at Stellenbosch University, the fee structure, support services, skills development, and the online application process, please visit the following webpage:

IMPORTANT: When commencing the online application (, internal (SU) applicants must select Current 2023 SU student and complete the process, so that the provision of transcripts and evidence of written work is automatically waived. External (non-current SU) applicants must select New Application and upload the required documentation for the application to be completed and processed.

General enquiries: 
Ms Pauliane Davidse
Tel: +27 21 808 2414

Academic (content-specific) enquiries:
Dr Cindy Steenekamp (Honours Co-ordinator)
Tel: +27 21 808 2115