B Soc Sc (Gender Studies)

B Soc Sc (Gender Studies)

B Soc Sc (Gender Studies),     The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Gender Studies Programme, the first academic department of its kind in South Africa has a rich history. The Programme has seen momentous evolution over the past two decades. It was established in 1988, and then known as Women Studies under the old University of Natal, Durban campus. The History Department of the time hosted the Programme. At one stage the Programme was also associated with a Gender Research Group, which consisted of individuals from the old University of Natal, Durban campus and the old University of Westville. Through this collaboration the merger of the two universities (now known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal) was long heralded.
The Gender Studies Programme is a vibrant interdisciplinary academic program that participates in a wide range of research, teaching and community service activities. We focus on intersectional approaches to the study of gender, race, class, and sexuality within the African continent and beyond
What is Gender Studies?  [B Soc Sc (Gender Studies)]
Gender Studies is a multi-discipline that incorporates a variety of questions, problems, theories, and methods in the analysis of structures, operations, relations, and representations of gender. Amongst other sources, the discipline draws upon several decades of work which has been informed by women issues studied within the women studies field. The discipline uses diverse methodologies, theories, and knowledge(s) that aim to examine gender within a number of interrelated areas and practical case.
Both men and women are socialized in many oppressive ways. At Gender Studies we seek to unpack and understand this fact. Our approach to the discipline is a focus on gender, subjectivity, sexualities, and related cultural discourses. We pose questions by employing a rich array of more specific topics, including: cultural constructions, health, subjectivity, sexual behaviors, ideologies, policy and regulation, race, class, religion etc.
The team
The Gender Studies Programme has 3 main members, 2 research fellows as well as 5 affiliate members whose expertise in gender studies is enhanced by their specialization in the performance arts, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, political science, and comparative literatures.

B Soc Sc (Gender Studies)    Undergraduate Courses

We offer a well-established undergraduate second semester 2nd year level course.
This introductory course introduces undergraduate students to the broad discipline of gender studies. Gender as an object of inquiry is integral to this course. This is a term denoting the attributes culturally ascribed to women and men. The resurgence of the women?s movement in the 1960s had important repercussions within higher education institutions. One effect was a searching examination of the ?human sciences? for the impact of male and patriarchal biases on all aspects of intellectual inquiry. One of the important results of this interaction between feminism and academic inquiry has been the focus on gender. By feminism we indicate the critical examination of gender relations from the position of protest against women?s unequal status.
The ?discovery? of gender and its incorporation into social theory has created an important body of knowledge on how we rethink the division between the sexes, and especially the unequal distribution of power between the genders. Of course a study of gender is not simply about describing the differences between genders. It is also an analysis of patriarchy as a system of oppression and offers much thinking for social change. This course therefore considers the political importance of gender.
Historically gender was studied traditionally in ?Women?s Studies? programmes. The Gender Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) is the oldest programme at a South African university. In the eighties it was known as ?Women?s Studies?. Over the last ten years we have seen a transition from a purely women-centred study of gender towards ?gender studies?. Plainly gender studies means focusing upon men as well as women, masculinity as well as femininity, and sexuality.
This undergraduate course focuses on three interrelated themes that address the broad question of gender:

  • Gender, Culture and Social Consciousness
  • Gender and Violence
  • Gender, Sexuality and Disease
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GEST202 H2 – Introduction to Gender Studies
Prerequisite: 96 credits
Aim: The development of an understanding of the critical vocabulary on gender and related issues; An understanding of the instability of the concept of gender; the critical evaluation and presentation of arguments in relation to gender.
Content: Ways of Talking and Thinking about Gender: Introduction to Gender Studies is thematized around gender, culture and social consciousness; gender and violence; and gender, sexuality and disease. These themes are underpinned by case studies focusing on South Africa.
Assessment: Cumulative assessment (3 written assignments; and tutorial submissions: 50 %); 3-hour examination (50 %)
DP Requirement: 100 % attendance at tutorials; submission of tutorial work and 3 written assignments.
Offered on the Howard College Campus only

B Soc Sc (Gender Studies)   Graduate Courses

Why take the Gender Studies Interdisciplinary Graduate Programme?
If you want to develop appreciation and understanding of women?s and men? lives; desire to explore the meaning of gender in our lives; provide professional service to or create products for both women and men; or are a student interested in working to understand, and challenge bias and oppression to create a more just world ? THIS IS THE PROGRAMME for you.
Take the Gender Studies career oriented Programme. We offer full time and part time Honours, Masters and Doctorate studies. Our programmes emphasise an interactive learning process that is beneficial to students? intellectual and emotional capacities. Our core-course is also open to non-Gender Studies students.
Our graduate programme offers innovative graduate courses designed to build capacity in gender research and gender analysis. Expertise is drawn from across the UKZN Faculties. Students have the option to work with recognised experts based on their research interests. The programme is designed to meet the needs of those interested in a career in research and training, or those already working in related professional fields.
A flexible suite of advanced study options available:

  • Honours and Masters (one or two year programme); Masters by coursework and short dissertation (one or two year programme full-time).
  • Other degrees offered are Masters by dissertation and PhD by thesis.
  • All Honours and Masters Coursework students will complete two compulsory courses in semester one: Gender Politics and Theory AND Gender and Sexuality. In semester two Honours and Masters students have the following module options: Gender and Health; Gender and Media; Gender and Language; Gender and Education; Discrimination and the Law; HIV/AIDS, Human Rights, and the Law.
  • Students also have the option to opt for modules from cognate programmes.
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Entrance requirements for the graduate programme:

B Soc Sc (Gender Studies)

  • A good undergraduate degree in any discipline
  • Related work experience preferable, but not absolutely required
  • Good academic record and evidence of analytical and writing skills

B Soc Sc (Gender Studies)   Summer courses

Gender Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal offers innovative degree courses designed to build capacity in gender research and gender analysis. Based on our previous successes, and our commitment to community development, we offer the following Certificate Course in conjunction with Gender Aids Forum (GAF), an NGO based in Durban.

  • The two week course focuses on gender consciousness and gender violence, gender and work, gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS
  • Case study format equips participants with basic knowledge and strategies to deal with gender problems in their careers or professions
  • Draws on participants? experience to develop an understanding of gender in the context of development and leadership

Certificates will only be issued to participants who attend all sessions throughout the two weeks period.

B Soc Sc (Gender Studies) Qualifications

Gender Studies Qualifications
Qualifications offered: BA Hons (128C), BSocSc Hons (128C), MA (192C), MSocSc (192C), PhD (384C)
The postgraduate Honours/Masters programme in Gender Studies offers an interdisciplinary approach to current debates on gender. It is a complex field to which many different discourses contribute: feminism, men?s studies, queer studies. All focus on how gender is theorised as a concept, how it operates in the lives of individuals; and how it functions as a social practice via institutional and cultural technologies. A number of interesting and relevant themes inform training in Gender Studies. Honours/Masters students whose home Programme is Gender Studies are required to complete two compulsory modules: Gender, Politics and Theory (Semester 1) and Genders, Sexualities, Cultures & Histories (Semester 1), and two electives in semester 2 (listed below). Students may also, in consultation with the Academic Co-ordinator, register for modules in cognate programmes. In cases where PhD students have no prior training in Gender Studies, such students will be required to complete Gender, Politics and Theory before proceeding to the proposal stage of the degree.
Note: Masters level assessment requires more in-depth and comprehensive analysis of issues, a critical reflection paper and a more substantial research component.


Core Modules
GEST701H1 / GEST801H1 Gender, Politics and Theory (32C)
GEST706H1 / GEST806H1 Gender, Sexualities, Cultures and Histories (32C)
GEST702H2 / GEST802H2 Gender, Education and School Violence (32C)
GEST703H2 / GEST803H2 Gender and Health: Core Debates in Context (32C)
GEST704H2 / GEST804H2 Gender and Language (32C)
GEST705H2 / GEST805H2 Gender and Media (32C)


GEST8RAHC Research Article: Gender Studies (48C)
GEST8SDH2 Short Dissertation: Gender Studies (96C)
GEST8MDHB Dissertation: Gender Studies (192C)


GEST9DOHB Doctoral Thesis: Gender Studies (384C)

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B Soc Sc (Gender Studies) contact

Dr Thenjiwe Magwaza Head, Gender Studies
Telephone: +27 (0) 31 260-2915/ 1114
Fax: (031) 260-1133
E-mail: magwazat1@ukzn.ac.za
Ms Aldonna Murugan, Administrator
Telephone: +27 (0)31 260-2915
Fax: +27 (031) 260-1133
E-mail: murugana@ukzn.ac.za