Political Studies focuses on matters associated with power and authority within the state and government, but also within society more broadly. As students of politics, we are focused on 'the games people play' to wittingly and unwittingly drive political agendas. As Lasswell famously stated, "politics is about who gets what, when and how?" Politics revolves around resource allocation within society and how formal (e.g. policy) and informal habits maintain or transform such resources allocating practices.

International Relations, on the other hand, focuses on relations among nations, intergovernmental and non-governmental institutions, environmental politics, and security among others. A student of International Relations will acquire skills in diplomacy, conflict management and a critical analysis of global affairs.  

Political Studies explores a range of current study terrains or sub-disciplines. These include:

  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Theory
  • Political Philosophy
  • Foreign policy analysis
  • Inter-governmental and non-governmental relations
  • Security Studies
  • Theories of International Relations
  • International Institutions 
  • International Relations with its particular set of sub-disciplines
  • Political Economy and regional focuses such as;
  • African Politics and;
  • South African Politics
  • Political Systems

Significance and Application

It is undoubtedly so that the topics studied in Political Studies shape the societal context of an individual’s way of life.  Life is ultimately no more than a politically driven reality in which people have to negotiate their own path.

Students gain knowledge of and insight into politics – political processes, institutions and consequences for society and the environment.  Students will thus be better able to understand and address the demands and challenges of their way of life.  This applies equally in their capacity as citizens of the country, or in a specific profession, and is accompanied by the necessary realisation that nothing constructive can be achieved in the country concerned, or in world politics, without mobilising people regarding political objectives and policy.

In an increasingly globalising world, International Relations has become a more relevant inter-disciplinary field of study. Issues such as climate change, security (human, food, state, etc), global economy, international law, foreign policy, multi-national corporations continue to be major concern in developed and developing states. The complex interdependent nature of the global system calls for academic interrogation of the 21st-century global politics.

Degree possibilities


Mafikeng Campus

Potchefstroom Campus

Vaal Triangle Campus