Students will experience Public Administration as a subject offering the foremost theory, teaching, skills and practices, relevant to the contemporary South African state and the global public sector arena. Students will be exposed to comprehensive academic literature and theories pertaining to Public Administration, equipping them with sound academic and scientific knowledge to conduct analytical and relevant research and to find solutions to practice-based challenges with theory-driven arguments. With a focus on the functioning of the public sector, Public Administration students will acquire knowledge on public service delivery, relevant legislation, the role and responsibilities of public service managers, and the diverse and dynamic environment in which public service officials function.

A high priority is placed on preparing students to take leadership roles in their communities and make significant contributions in an ever-changing world, particularly in a democratic developmental South Africa. Healthy academic and social discourse are encouraged, as well as the ability to use enquiry and innovation to assist and guide the transformation of public sector organisations in order to improve infrastructures and services within a democratic, developmental, accountable and responsive public sector environment.

Students in Public Administration will be primed to make use of alternative approaches to complex socio-economic phenomena and to offer value-driven, logical arguments for judgements, underpinned by theoretical and legislative frameworks. Furthermore, students will be encouraged and guided to engage in societal issues, in consideration of their social, civic and developmental responsibilities and with a commitment to social justice, democracy, human rights and socio-economic development, and to communicate these by means of appropriate formats within an ethical context that respects and upholds the rights of individuals, groups, and communities. 

In its broadest sense, Public Administration entails the study of the way in which theory, research-led enquiry and practice combine to satisfy the most important needs of a country's citizens. More specifically, Public Administration studies the following matters scientifically:

  • academic literature, theories and legislation pertaining to Public Administration and the application thereof in the public sector, specifically in the democratic developmental context;
  • qualitative, quantitative and mixed method research methods to effectively communicate in an acceptable academic format;
  • the role of P(p)public A(a)dministration in observing and evaluating societal and global trends and generating viable solutions for sustained development and informed solutions to socio-economic challenges;
  • the locus and focus of P(p)public A(a)dministration in the public sector of a country such as South Africa;
  • the way in which the state’s legislative, executive and judicial institutions are constituted and the manner in which they function;
  • nature and scope of public service delivery within the three spheres of government;
  • public management processes and functions, for example, policy-making, planning, organisation, leading, human resource management and financial management;
  • the dynamics, structures and processes in public sector organisations; and
  • place and the role of ethics in public processes.

Degree options


Potchefstroom Campus

Vaal Triangle Campus