AZA1010 - Fundamentals of political science - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science


Dr Victoria Graham

Unit guides


South Africa

  • First semester 2017 (Day)


The purpose of this unit is to introduce students to the fundamentals of Political Science and in the process, help to equip students to become mindful of the domestic and global community of which they are a part. Students who understand the political forces behind everyday events are better equipped to become strong leaders and to contribute towards the improvement of the human condition.


Upon successful completion of the unit the student will be able to:

  1. be familiar with the main conceptual issues relevant to the unit including: politics; elections; the state; government, systems and regimes, parties and party systems; political culture; civil society; political institutions; political dynamics and global politics;
  2. apply these above-mentioned concepts in practice by using them to interpret political events domestically and globally;
  3. understand how power, authority and legitimacy interconnect, how they influence each other and how they determine political outcomes;
  4. better comprehend other's views on often contentious political paradigms while 5. defending her/his own perspective;
  5. explain how different types of democratic systems and elections work in practice;
  6. assess the process of governance in contemporary political institutions;
  7. successfully undertake a variety of research and writing tasks;
  8. demonstrate improved oral and written communication skills, particularly in relation to the analysis and explanation of ideas and the development of an argument.


Within semester assessment: 60%

Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study