Short Learning Programme in Philosophy


Information regarding the programme for the Certificate in Philosophy in 2024.

Why a Short Learning Programme in Philosophy?

A need was identified for a Short Learning Programme in Philosophy for those who didn’t have philosophy as a major in their undergraduate studies, but who now realise a need to develop or improve their functioning on a meta-theoretical level. The purpose of the programme is thus to develop or improve meta-theoretical functioning of participants by introducing them to the history of philosophy (both African and Western) to expand their intellectual horizons and explore philosophical questions.

The two modules presented as part of the programme, form a cohesive whole. The overarching approach is to take students through an initial history of philosophy, introducing them to key thinkers and time periods, making key distinctions and overall, providing a solid introduction into philosophy as a discipline. A further goal is also to introduce them to key philosophical skills through introducing them to the continental/analytic distinction, African philosophy, as well as explaining philosophical writing and basic skills in argumentation.

The knowledge and skills developed in this programme may furthermore contribute to participants’ philosophical competency that could potentially aid in the pursuit of admission for further postgraduate studies in philosophy.

Who should do this Short Learning Programme in Philosophy?

Anyone interested in philosophy and who meets the admission requirements. Many of the participants have reached a point in their careers where they wish to expand their intellectual horizons or explore troubling philosophical questions. Others just finished their undergraduate degree and can broaden their academic exposure before embarking on their career paths.

Admission requirements and academic level

This is a non-credit short learning programme presented on NQF level 5 (typically a first-year level in a Bachelor’s degree). The admission requirements are matric with matriculation exemption. No formal prior education or qualification in Philosophy is needed.

Method of delivery

This programme utilises a full-time (face-to-face) teaching and learning method of delivery - contact classes and sit-down assessments (semester assessment test and exam) on the NWU Potchefstroom Campus (scheduled by the University). No online/distance mode is available for the programme.

Students who can’t attend contact classes on the Potchefstroom Campus will not be penalised. It remains the student’s responsibility to ensure progress through self-study. The respective lecturers will be available during consultation hours for all enquiries regarding the module.

Module content

The programme consists of two (2) modules that need to be completed to obtain the qualification:

1.    PHIL112 - Introduction to Philosophy One

After the completion of PHIL112, the student will be able to:

  • Have an informed knowledge of ideas, sub-disciplines, trends and thinkers in philosophy.
  • Analyse and crucially judge logical structures, philosophical assumptions, fallacies, and argumentation.
  • Demonstrate logical thinking skills.
  • Use appropriate forms of philosophical investigation, interpretation, evaluation, and argumentation to form a coherent own point of view and application of new knowledge.
  • Give a reproduction of new knowledge and own point of view.

2.    PHIL122 - Introduction to Philosophy Two

After the completion of this module, the student will have an informed knowledge of the history, ideas, arguments, trends, and thinkers in African, Continental, and other philosophy and ethics; and be able to:

  • Use appropriate forms of philosophical investigation, interpretation, evaluation, and argumentation to form a coherent own point of view and application of new knowledge.
  • Give a reproduction of new knowledge and own point of view.

Prescribed textbook

The following book will be used as a textbook for both modules and student should purchase it. This textbook will be supplemented by other texts (articles and chapters) which will be made available to students on the student learning platform (eFundi):

Grayling, A.C. 2019. The History of Philosophy, Three Millenia of Thought from the West and Beyond. Penguin Books: London



After successful completion of the programme (PHIL112 and PHIL122), you should have detailed overview of the key themes in history of philosophy (both Western and African) as well as:

  • Understand and explain key thinkers in each of these themes.
  • Understand the interaction between key historical events or epochs and progression of different traditions i.e., what was happening in the world around these thinkers that impacted the philosophical ideas they developed?
  • Understand philosophy as a never-ending debate – ideas feed off ideas, thinkers respond to other thinkers etc.

Assessment criteria


  1. Formative (assignment/s and sit-down semester test) [50%] – details to be confirmed
  2. Summative (exam) [50%]

Tests, examination, and other assessments:

  • The assessment plan for each module will be communicated at the beginning of the module.
  • Formative assessments - include tat least two assessments (tests or tasks) per semester per module, and a written assignment.
  • Summative assessment – sit-down (closed book) examination.
  • Admission to the examination – a participation mark of 50% must be obtained to get admission to the sit-down examination.
  • Final module mark = participation mark [50%] + examination mark [50%].

Qualifications and experience of presenters

This programme has been presented by the NWU School of Philosophy since 2016.

All our lecturers are full-time lecturers in Philosophy and subject specialists (with postgraduate qualifications in Philosophy) at the NWU.


The programme fee for 2024 is R1500.00 and payable before registration.

A direct bank deposit or electronic bank transfer (EFT) can be made:

Account name:           North-West University
Account name:           NWU Diverse
Account number:        67 064 2313
Account type:             Cheque account
Branch name:             Absa Tom Street
Branch code:              632005
Swift Code:                 ABSAZAJJ

Reference to be used?
Please use your NWU student number as reference.

Proof of payment?
Email the proof of payment to before 25 February (in the year of registration)


Administrative enquiries: Contact Mrs. Mia Crous (


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