College of Human Sciences

Research that matters

The College of Human Sciences is one of the most productive colleges in research at Unisa. In its departments, academics and post graduate students are engaged in cutting-edge basic and applied research which focuses on expanding our knowledge of the disciplines, Open Distance Learning (ODL) research and engaged research. The research generated in the College proactively responds to the needs of our developing nation and the African continent. 

The College has a vibrant enabling environment for both young and experienced academics to push disciplinary boundaries as organic intellectuals in multi, inter and trans-disciplinary research. As a result of this lively research environment, the College has succeeded in increasing its research output and the number of NRF rated academics.

Within this energetic teaching and research environment, academics at all levels take advantage of funding for research to attend international and local conferences. Departments also hold research seminars and workshops which attract scholars from within and outside South Africa. In all these research endeavors the focus has been on both multi/ inter/trans-disciplinary.

Some of our departments and academics have also taken a lead in reflexive research especially on our burgeoning virtual learning environment. A number of projects are investigating from different perspectives issues related to decoloniality, HIV/AIDS, language, teaching and learning, political and economic development, religious studies and theology, sociology, information and library sciences, psychology, and gender studies among others.

The College is proud of its research endeavours which continuously seek to achieve Unisa’s vision of being the African university shaping futures in the service of humanity.

Building research capacity

  • The College holds seminars for Post-Doctoral Fellows, and colloquia for academics wishing to share their research findings with colleagues.
  • The College also holds training workshops on how to apply for internal and external grants.
  • A number of research niche areas are specifically targeted as part of the College’s research capacity building. These include ODL research, Research and Innovation and Community Engagement (CE) research.
  • The CHS boasts of a high number of NRF rated scholars ranging from A to Y ratings. To date, the College has 61 NRF rated researchers.

NRF-rated researchers

  • The CHS boasts of a high number of NRF rated scholars ranging from A to Y ratings. To date, the College has 61 NRF rated researchers.

Master's and doctoral studies support

The College holds M&D workshops in order to build capacity among its students on the Proposal Module. Issues such as coming up with a viable topic, literature review, research methodology, theoretical framework, and research ethics are dealt with in the seminars. The latter are held in Unisa regions depending on the need expressed by students. The College holds seminars/workshops for academics on matter such as supervision, using Turn-it-in during supervision, acting as Non-Examining Chair (NEC), among others.

Strategic Focus Areas

Decoloniality, CHS leads the way

The College of Human Sciences has been a leader in decolonial education, teaching and learning and community engagement long before movements such as #RhodesMustFall surfaced.  To decolonise is to confront, challenge and reject the status quo, and the College decoloniality project came about as a result of many of scholars feeling suffocated within the various spaces they occupy. As academics, students, and activists, they decided to ‘speak back’.

Africa Speaks

Africa Speaks is the College’s flagship capacity development project that aims at exposing mainly younger academics to top-notch scholarship by African scholars on the African continent and the African Diaspora. Through the occasional lecture series at which such top African scholars are invited, Africa Speaks strives to inspire younger academics to dream big and to work towards their own development as academics.

ODL Research

Open Distance Learning (ODL) is one of the research niche areas targeted by the university. Unisa is the only dedicated ODL Higher Education institution in South Africa. For this reason, Unisa academics must hone their skills in the development of cutting-edge ODL of delivery systems. Researching ODL-related challenges is therefore one of the niche areas of the College of Human Sciences.

Academics at the College conduct research projects that primarily focus on ODL as a mode of tuition. These research projects seek to uncover the challenges that academics experience in providing relevant tuition interventions, and also assisting students with the challenges they encounter through high quality ODL education.

Click here for a list of the research focus areas within the College.

Research ethics

Finding your way through the ethical clearance (ER) forms

Last modified: 2024/05/15