Organisational and Institutional Studies

IN THE SCHOOL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

What do we mean by “the state”?

How do we understand its institutions?

What makes states work or fail?

What and who makes up the state?

Organisational and Institutional Studies (OIS) is a new programme in the School of Social Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, coordinated by the Public Affairs Research Institute. The programme offers ways to understand organisations and institutions of government and a multidisciplinary approach to the study of the state and civil society.

AN HONOURS PROGRAMME, AND INTRODUCING A NEW MASTERS LEVEL FROM 2019.

WHAT IS ORGANISATIONAL AND INSTITUTIONAL STUDIES?

Internationally there have been important developments in the study of the state, focusing on the organisations and institutions that comprise it. For instance, how do rules, norms, or polices, influence behaviour? Do organizations have a logic of their own, are they simply a collection of individual actions? Recent advancements across the social sciences have identified the answers to these very questions as key determinants of economic inequality, policy reform, state formation, service delivery, and state capture. Indeed, the study of institutions can unlock many of the central political challenges facing nations across the globe.

In South Africa however, the various approaches to studying institutions have been unevenly developed. Thus this programme brings together insights from the fields of Political Science, Sociology, Economics, and Anthropology to provide in-depth observation and analysis of how institutions shape power dynamics and impact major political outcomes.

HONOURS PROGRAMME

The OIS Honours Programme is intended for students interested in basic theoretical debates on institutions. The programme focuses on foundational texts as well as the elements of how to do research and write an essay.

The programme is made up of one theory core course and one methods and essay development course, as well as electives in Sociology, Politics, History, Urban Studies, Law, and Economics AND a 10 000-word research essay. All students must complete a minimum of four 4000-level courses (23 credit points per course), or six 4000-level courses (when the combination contains courses with lower credit points), and a research report (30 credit points).

Courses from which to choose are the following:

Not all electives are offered every year

MASTERS PROGRAMME

The OIS Masters Programme is intended for students who have attended the OIS Honours Programme or come from related academic programmes, and are interested in the study of institutions. It focuses on mastery of broader theoretical debates and the process of developing a research design and conducting one’s own research.

The programme is made up of one advanced theory core course and one methods and thesis development course, as well as electives in Sociology, Politics, History, Urban Studies, Law, and Economics. Students are required to submit a 20.000 to 25.000-word research essay.

All students must complete 180 credits, comprising of the courses in Advanced Concepts in Organisational and Institutional Studies (30 credits), two elective courses of 30 credits each and a research report (90 credits).

Courses from which to choose are the following:

Not all electives are offered every year

Honours Admission Requirements

A bachelor’s degree or equivalent with a 68% or higher course mark aggregate in a third year major.

Masters Admission Requirements

An Honours degree from OIS programme or comparable department with a 70% or higher course mark aggregate in the Honours course and with a 68% or higher in the research report.

ABOUT THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS RESEARCH INSTITUTE

Established in 2010, PARI is a University of the Witwatersrand and University of Cape Town-affiliated institute, based in Johannesburg. The Institute has pioneered the field of organisational and institutional studies in South Africa. Employing ethnographic and historical methodologies it works inside government and civil society organisations to understand where power lies in these organisations and how it is exercised, in order to develop recommendations for improved governance, accountability and organisational performance. In recognition of the originality and importance of this work the University of the Witwatersrand has established a new field of study in Institutional Studies that will be offered jointly in the Faculty of Law, Commerce and Management and the Faculty of Humanities from 2018.

The Institute contributes to academic debate on the nature of the state and state-society relations through participating in and hosting local and international conferences, and publishing in peer-reviewed journals and books. PARI also academically and financially supports postgraduate students at the University of the Witwatersrand.

A LIMITED NUMBER OF SCHOLARSHIPS ARE OFFERED TO SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT THE PROGRAMME COORDINATOR, PAULINA HADEBE: Paulina.Hadebe@wits.ac.za | 011 717 4951