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Study at the Faculty of Arts Potchefstroom Campus North-West University

The Faculty consists of five schools:

and two Research Focus Areas:


School of Languages

Enrolling for a language course is a career-enhancing move!  The success achieved by many students who enrolled for modules in the various languages offered in the School of Languages at the Potchefstroom campus in the past is concrete proof of this view.  Knowledge of language and literature not only provides your with a knowledge of how people from other cultures and users of other languages think and see the world, but also makes you aware of the multiple interpretations that one can attach to a utterance or text, and hence sensitizes you to the importance of good and correct communication in every day life.  Moreover, the study of literature and language provides you with the critical thinking skills to deal with today's fast-changing work environment.

The School of Languages offers a variety of programmes, which are tailor-made for certain needs and target groups.  On the one hand there is the programme B.A. Language and Literature (a three-year course general course with wide application for students in the private as well as public sector, among which are the diplomatic corps, the field of language practitioners (such as translators, interpreters, text editors), teachers, as well as journalism, etc.  The programme B.A. in Language Technology (a four-year course) aims to train language technologists by combining the world of computers and linguistics. This is a niche programme with international alliances and this campus is the only on in SA offering this programme.  In view of the increasing importance of Human Language Technology, this is a wonderfully useful course.

The following languages form part of these programmes: Afrikaans and Dutch, English, French, German, Latin, Setswana and isiZulu.  Language-related modules included in the programmes are: Ancient Culture, Creative Writing (the only undergraduate course in SA) and Translation Studies.

For more information on programmes and modules see the webpage:  or send an e-mail to
School of Philosophy

Dealing with meta-theoretical and philosophical issues in Science is central to the University's understanding of the nature of tertiary education and the responsibility of a university.  Within that context the School of Philosophy's mission is two-fold. 

Its first responsibility is to train excellent philosophers and to produce high quality research in selected philosophical disciplines.  To reach these objectives the School offers teaching at all undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Research is focused on the theme of human dignity in the South African context and on making philosophic inputs to a small number of interdisciplinary research projects initiated by other faculties.

The second area of responsibility is supporting all other schools of the University in developing the philosophical capacity of their academic staff and students.  Special attention is given to supporting schools in identifying relevant philosophical and ethical issues, providing for them in the curriculum and empowering teaching staff to deal with them in class authoritatively.

The director of the School is Prof. PJJS Potgieter (018-2991891)(
School of Social and Government Studies

The School is the home of subjects such as Sociology, Social Anthropology, History, Political Studies and Public Management and Administration.

There are several post-graduate formal programmes such as the following:

B.A. Degrees in Humanities, Development and Management (Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations) and Development and Management (Business Management and Tourism).

Honours courses are available in Public Management and Governance and History, while masters'programmes are offered in Public Management and Governance (course-work) as well as Public Management and Governance (research option), in Public Management and Administration, History, Sociology and Political Studies (for dissertations).

Formal Certificate Programmes, delivered via distance and contact education, include the following: Certificate in Public Management; Certificate Municipal Management; Certificate in Disaster Management; Certificate in Financial Management.

Non-Formal Programmes include capacity-building programmes such as Disaster Management, Project Management, Human Resource Management, Councillor Development, Performance Management and Policy Development.

The director of the School is Prof. WJ van Wyk (018-2991626) (

Niche programmes of the School of Communication Studies

The School of Communication Studies offers three undergraduate programmes, viz. the three and four-year degrees in Communication Studies, as well as the four-year degree in Graphic Design (this is the only university that offers this degree).

The three-year BA with Communication subjects offers a broad base in which all the sub-sections of communications are dealt with, viz. mass communication, interpersonal, small-group, organizational, intercultural, developmental and persuasive communication.  This teaching is contextualised so as to be applicable within the following professional fields:   journalism, corporate work, developmental work, video production and corporate media.  The four-year degree is a continuation of the third year and offers professionally focussed training in the fields of journalism, video production, corporate management communication and developmental communication.

The combination of Graphic Design and communication makes this programme unique in the sense that learners not only learn to master the technical skills needed to become good designers but they are also able to study the world of corporate communication, in which marketing and liaison work play an important role.  This many-faceted training makes the student who has completed the course a very competitive entrant into the job market.

The director of the School is Prof. PJ Schutte (018-299 1645) (

School of Music

The School of Music, situated in the beautiful Conservatoire on the banks of the Mooi River, offers two distinct kinds of programmes.

On the one hand the School offers the traditional four-year Baccalaureus Music degree, intended for students who have had a high level of formal music training.  Students can specialize in various instruments, most notably singing, piano, violin, cello and organ.  Students are also trained in Music Pedagogy, Music Administration, Music Therapy and of course Theory of Music.

On the other hand, the School some years ago introduced the University Diploma in Music.  This is a two-year diploma intended for students who did not have prior formal training at all, or not at a sufficient level.  Students do not need university exemption for this course, and they can, after the two years, progress to the BA - Music and Society.  The course is intended to impart skills in singing, basic mastery of instruments (keyboard, recorder and guitar) and choir conducting. 

The school director is Jaco van der Merwe (018-299 1699)(

Research focus area: Sustainable social development

Situated in the Faculty of Arts the central vision and mission of the focus area is to render, through the use of social scientific knowledge and methods of social development processes, a meaningful contribution to the improvement of a sustainable quality of life of especially vulnerable South African communities, more specifically in the North West Province.

The focus area draws upon the expertise of academics in various disciplines, such as: sociology, history, social anthropology, philosophy, communication studies, public management and political studies.

Research in the focus area is guided by the following objectives:

  • To contribute to the sustainable social development of people and communities-in-development;
  • To generate scientifically accountable and implementable knowledge about social development processes;
  • To guide and influence relevant policy and promote the implementation thereof;
  • To train scientifically orientated students to become researchers who will be able to make directed interdisciplinary contributions in the field of sustainable social development;
  • To train professionally oriented students to become practitioners with interdisciplinary expertise in the challenges of sustainable social development and who can make direct professional contributions;
  • To contribute, through expert philosophical and other knowledge, to the inter-disciplinary expertise in the field of sustainable development (but also to serve as foundation for approaches in other different areas like social work, law and the health sciences).

>>> Research projects in the focus area are currently grouped together into five sub-programmes, according to the themes addressed:

>>> Values and ethics in development;

>>> Politics, governance, democratisation and the media in a developing society;

>>> Social aspects in the management of natural resources for sustainable development;

>>> Organisational management for sustainable development; and

>>> Social dynamics.

The director of the Focus Area is Prof. Annelie Naudeĩ (018-299-1750)(

The Research Focus Area: Languages and Literature in the South African Context consists of three sub-programmes.  Language and Technology: Sources and Applications concentrates on Human Language Technology (HLT). Linguistic resources such as text and speech corpora are collected and enriched with annotation. Enabling technologies for the processing of the resources are developed, for example morphological parsers and speech recognition systems.  The ultimate goal is to develop technological products for the empowerment of the entire community such as spelling and grammar checkers for South African languages, computer-based packages for learning second languages, and speech-based applications such as dictation and telephone banking systems.

Research in the Languages in Contact  sub-programme examines educational as well as socio-economic challenges in the South African linguistic ecology, and aims to develop appropriate interventions to empower language users. A key focus of the work is on the variation within South African Englishes, particularly Black South African English (BSAE), and the implications of these varieties for language attitudes and discrimination, language acquisition and language teaching

The research projects in South Africa: Literature, Space and Identity in Local and Global Contexts focus on how space, a changing multicultural construct, and historical perspectives and literary processes impact on the formation of personal and cultural identity in twentieth-century and contemporary texts from South Africa and other postcolonial literatures as well as metropolitan centres, as well as in children's'literature.

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The director is Prof. AM de Lange (018299-1555)



The faculty is headed by the Acting Dean of Arts, Prof. Attie de Lange

Dean Faculty of Arts

Private Bag X6001

Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University



018 299 1555