Short Learning Programme in Philosophy


Information regarding the programme for the Certificate in Philosophy in 2021.

Why a short course in Philosophy?

A need was identified for a short course 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 course is thus to develop or improve meta-theoretical functioning of participants by introducing them to ethics and the history of philosophy (both African and Western) so as to expand their intellectual horizons and explore philosophical questions. The knowledge and skills developed in this course 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 course 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 have the opportunity to broaden their academic exposure before embarking on their particular career paths.

What are the admission requirements and academic level of this course?

This is a non-credit short learning programme presented on NQF level 6 (typically a second-year level in a Bachelors degree). The admission requirements are any qualification on NQF level 5. No formal prior education or qualification in Philosophy is needed.

Method of delivery

We use a mixed-method of delivery (blended learning) for the programme which includes face to face and online teaching and learning. You will mostly work independently (online) with two (2) to four (4) contact sessions throughout the semester per module. There is one module per semester. These contact sessions are normally on Saturday mornings so that participants will be able to travel to Potchefstroom. We also started to incorporate recorded lectures for the first semester which you can access and listen to at any convenient time and place, as long as you have internet access. 

Content and modules of the short course

The course focuses on two themes, namely Ethics and the History of Philosophy. These two themes are presented in two (2) modules you have to complete during your study:

  • PHIL212: ETHICS. This module, presented in the first semester, provides an introduction to Ethics. In this module, we will reflect on various ethical positions and norms pertaining to specific ethical questions in a philosophical manner. This means that we will take a closer look at ethical theories such as deontology, consequentialism, utilitarianism, Ubuntu and Virtue Ethics. We will attempt to obtain an overview of different sides of the debate regarding specific ethical issues. Moreover, we want to evaluate the various arguments as inclusively and clearly as possible. For this, you will have to develop a philosophical manner of studying, which will help you in every subject to not only grasp and evaluate the logical flow of arguments but also to discern the preconceptions underlying and imperceptibly influencing the arguments. Ultimately, the crux of the matter is the application, development, and refinement of your own ethical norms regarding significant ethical issues.
  • PHIL222: THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY. This module, presented in the second semester, focuses on a general introduction to the history of Philosophy. There will be a focus on Western Philosophy, starting with the ancient Greeks, as well as various themes in African Philosophy, including African metaphysics and epistemology. Various philosophical themes will be traced through the history of these different traditions, up to contemporary philosophy. For the history of Western philosophy, the well-known book of Richard Tarnas, The passion of the Western mind, will be used. Various other sources will be used to give an overview of the history of African philosophy.

Outcomes and assessment criteria of the short course

Outcomes: After successful completion of this short course, you should have detailed knowledge of the ideas, themes, theories and arguments in ETHICS and the HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY (both African and Western), and be able to: 

  • Use appropriate forms of philosophical investigation, interpretation, evaluation, and argumentation in order to 
  • Form their own point of view that is informed and coherent; and
  • Report the above-detailed knowledge and own point of view in an academically responsible manner.

Assessment criteria: Your mastery of the outcomes will be deemed sufficiently demonstrated if you can:

  • Give an informed account of the ideas, themes, theories and views in ethics and the history of philosophy (African and Western).
  • Produce new knowledge in assignments and answers to test and exam questions.
  • Interpret new knowledge accurately.
  • Analyse new knowledge and show evidence of knowledge about appropriate philosophical theories, concepts, principles, and methods.
  • Evaluate new knowledge from an established and/or an own point of view.
  • Apply new knowledge and viewpoints to issues in our current world.
  • Portray coherent arguments and applicable conclusions.
  • Portray an acceptable level of academic formulation, language, referencing as well as text editing and text lay-out, with an understanding of copyright principles and adherence to the rules on plagiarism.

Tests, Examination and other Assessments

The assessment plan for each module will be communicated at the beginning of the module. It normally consists of Formative assessments which include three (3) to four (4) assessments (tests or tasks) per semester per module, and a written assignment (e.g. an essay). At the end of the module, there is a Summative assessment which is normally in the form of a closed book exam. A participation mark of 50% is needed to get admission to the examination. For the final module mark, the participation mark counts 50% and the examination counts 50%.

Qualifications and experience of presenters

The presenters are full-time lecturers in Philosophy at the North-West University which all have postgraduate qualifications in Philosophy. They are subject specialists who are teaching these themes and modules for many years. This short course has been presented since 2016 in the School of Philosophy.

Course fee and registration

The course fee for 2021 is R1500.00 and payable with registration. Kindly complete the registration form below and click submit. Your registration will be processed within 2 - 3 working days. You will receive a proof of registration upon finalisation of your registration. 


An invoice for the payment of the registration fees will be sent after successful registration. 
A direct bank deposit or electronic bank transfer 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
Please use the invoice number as reference.

Email the proof of payment to Ms Mia Crous ( before 1 February (in the year of registration). 


Further inquiries about the short course?

For administrative inquiries you are welcome to contact Ms Mia Crous ( or 018 299 4356) or the director of the School of Philosophy, Prof Anné Verhoef ( or 018 299 1569).

If you have any questions regarding the content of the modules, please feel free to contact the specific lecturers:


Registration form

Postal address