Welcome to the Midlands State University Community Studies Department! The Department of Community Studies offers degree programs that are very pertinent to our understanding of contemporary social dynamics including how these are shaped by historical events and experiences. Formerly the Department of Sociology, the Department of Community Studies is evolving into a versatile department offering four Undergraduate and three Postgraduate Degree Programs. Undergraduate Degree Programmes include Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Anthropology, Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Industrial Sociology, Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Migration and Population Movements and Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Sociology and Social Policy.
Masters Programmes include Master of Science in Demography and Population Studies, Master of Science in Sociology and Social Anthropology, Master of Science in Social Research, Policy and Innovation.
Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Anthropology,
This programme offers students an exciting opportunity to study how human beings give meaning to behaviour through diverse social norms, values, practices and means of organisation. The role of an Anthropologist is to explore and understand “other” cultures and societies through use of ethnography. Anthropologists use various data collection tools to study human behaviour in its natural setting and this is critical when developing people centred policy strategies. Anthropologists are committed to engaging in the resolution of current national social problems using evidence-based methods of inquiry which are valid and reliable. Anthropology as a discipline produces high profile researchers who can engage with a wide array of development related issues and contribute to finding solutions to issues which negatively impact on social cohesion.
Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Industrial Sociology
Industrial Sociology is one of the most important areas of focus in Sociology. Industrial Sociology is a specialised area of study that seeks to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the changing nature of work, industrial relations, management practices, trends in technological transformation, gendered nature of paid and unpaid work, organisation of labour and the maximisation of organisational efficacy. The degree aims to produce students who meet the needs of industry through being equipped with critical or analytical skills that enable them to formulate appropriate strategies and policies that improve organisational performance.
Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Migration and Population Studies
The programme is designed to give students an interdisciplinary, international perspective on issues related to international affairs, particularly in topics related to the political economy of migration from a historical perspective, major trends in migration theories, different forms of and approaches to the study of migration and displacement. The interdisciplinary program aims to equip students with knowledge and skills in topics such as refugee and asylum law, global migration and policies, racism and nationalism, research methodology and more. It provides a multidisciplinary approach to the understanding of population dynamics focusing on the study of people’s demographic behaviour, such as birth, health, death and issues relating to race, ethnicity and migration. Students take classes to understand the history and current trends of migration, as well as how it shapes the economy, culture, politics, and more.
Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Sociology and Social Policy
This programme is designed to provide students with knowledge and understanding of Sociological and Social Policy concepts to the study of contemporary society. It aims to equip students with the analytic concepts and methods to research the social world. The degree aims to produce skilled graduates who are innovative and have a sophisticated understanding of past and present societies and cultures. The program is designed to provide an understanding of how social policies are formulated in Zimbabwe, in the Global South, and the rest of the world. Students are given an opportunity to explore key aspects of society whilst learning the theoretical models and methodological frameworks used to analyse social institutions, structures interactions and processes. Students are inculcated with problem solving skills that are in line with improving societies’ wellbeing and the industrialisation agenda.
Master of Science Degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology
This joint degree programme offers a grounding in Sociology and Social Anthropology. The two subjects provide a deep understanding of people’s culture, identity, social change and the institutions that make up everyday life. The Masters programme equips students with knowledge of empirical studies in social research. Helping them to address contemporary issues such as the problem of poverty, structural inequalities, effects of climate change on people’s livelihoods and even the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals within specific societies. The programme also equips students to play an important role in disease outbreak and pandemic response due to their ability to assess social, economic and political factors in local contexts. Students taking this program, will be required to do desk based and individual research studies which are aimed at addressing institutional voids within their local communities, workplaces, government and Non-Governmental operations. Apart from the ability to design unique, locally based development trajectories for both rural and urban setups, this program will prepare students for a wide range of career options within Government institutions, Community led development initiatives, Non-Governmental operations, Social research careers, Human and Resources as well as careers in distinguished Academic fields.
Master of Science Degree in Demography and Population Studies
This programme grapples with multiplicity of ways in which human populations change and explores the causes and consequences of that change. The programme covers extensive areas that include demographic techniques, population and development, mortality and epidemiology, demography and globalization among other areas. This multi-disciplinary programme cooperates theoretical and substantive case material which is important in understanding and comprehending the broader range of social and demographic dynamics. Essential to this programme is the study of demographic behaviour of people in terms of life events such as birth, marriage, divorce, health, migration and death. This programme focuses on these demographic events in detail showing how these are influenced by the hysterical, economic, societal, cultural and medical factors.
Master of Science in Migration, Citizenship and Refugee Protection
This programme is designed to provide a broad theoretical understanding of human mobility and the role of both internal and international migration in economic and political processes, social change and globalisation as well as an overview of the major debates and literature on migration, citizenship and refugee protection from different disciplinary perspectives. The programme offers students an understanding of the complex and varied nature of migration and refugee populations, of their centrality to global, regional and national processes of political, social and economic change, and of the needs and aspirations of displaced people. The programme also helps students develop a broad understanding of academic research related to the integrated areas of migration, citizenship and refugee protection, as well as critical thinking and sound evaluative tools relevant for policy debates at all levels including potential linkages between diaspora engagement and economic development in Africa.
Master of Science in Social Research, Policy and Innovation
The world over, there is increasing emphasis on social innovation and evidence-based policy making. This programme is an advanced programme in social science research methods which combines a strong focus on research with a theoretical and practical understanding of social problems, social policy and intervention. The programme is designed to provide students with innovative methodologies and equip them with analytical concepts and methods to research the social world and make a difference in the area of social innovation and social policy. The programme has an extensive focus on the use of advanced quantitative and qualitative research skills in a multi-disciplinary social science environment. The degree ultimately aims to produce skilled graduates who are innovative and have a sophisticated understanding research and are able to independently design and carry out high quality social science research that informs policies which speak to the needs of an evolving society. Through this programme, students are prepared for writing a PhD thesis, a career in academia or a research oriented career in a non-academic environment. The MSc Social Research, Policy and Innovation programme also zones into issues to do with population, health and gender.
All undergraduate Programmes are offered over a period of four years. Three of these years consist of taught modules whilst one year is spent carrying out supervised Work-Related Learning in a relevant organisation or institution. Masters programmes are offered over 18 months. On successful completion of a programme, the graduate will hold an understanding of advanced theories and concepts as well as excellent communication, critical thinking and analytical skills which are adaptable to a wide range of situations. The graduate will also be able to conduct scientific social research, understand social systems and institutions and make a meaningful contribution towards assessing or suggesting interventions and policies.
If you find yourself wondering about life’s big questions such as how to address social inequalities, crime and violence, poverty, migration, hunger or outbreaks of disease in specific communities, or you have a desire to understand how human behaviour is shaped by the environments we find ourselves in then this is the programme for you! Our department is equipped with passionate lecturers ready to help expand your knowledge about social life as well as a vibrant Community Studies Students’ Association which exposes students to the practical side of Sociology and equips them skills and experiences which give them a competitive edge over other graduates as well as increase their impact on the world around them.
Due to the diverse and versatile programmes offered by the department, graduates can explore careers in various fields that require an understanding of human behaviour as well as research, critical thinking, analytical and communication skills. Careers can be pursued in both the private and the public sector along the following lines:
- Social welfare/service (e.g. humanitarian aid provision, Non and Inter-Governmental Organisations, youth work, health services management, social work, health administration, disability services, health centres)
- Research careers in public research organisations, academic institutions and non-academic research institutions in the public and private sector such as in: social welfare and humanitarian aid provision, the criminal justice system and policing institutions, migration and demography modelling, marketing, tourism, media, development work, policy development and analysis, Non and Inter Governmental Organisations, youth work and health services management.
- Social policy/law/politics (housing management, policy development and analysis, legal investigator, policy advocate, policy analysis, urban planning, polling, social research.
- Business (e.g. monitoring and evaluation, banking and finance, marketing and advertising, human resource management, market research analyst, industrial conflict mediation and consultancy)
- Criminal Justice (e.g. law enforcement, courts, juvenile justice)
- Education (e.g. lecturer, researcher, university student services, social science teacher)
- Communication (e.g. journalism, public relations, media)
Community Studies Students’ Association:
The Community Studies Students’ Association was formed by students for all students who are enthusiastic about taking their learning beyond the classroom. This student led society seeks to help in the moulding of graduates and the development of various hard and soft skills by exposing students to the practical side of our Degree Programmes. The society does this through their mandate to carry out various activities and initiatives such as philanthropic work, workshops, research and publication of issues affecting students and the community, fundraising projects, outreaches and various social activities such as dinners and sporting events. Membership is open to all registered students.