New BCom offered

Private tertiary education institution St Augustine College of South Africa, which started its life offering master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy, will offer a BCom degree next year.

According to the college’s president, Dr Michael van Heerden, the degree, which has met the accreditation requirements of the Council on Higher Education, will focus on philosophy, politics and economics. Retired Wits University economics professor Charles Simkins, who has years of experience and expertise, will head the newly created school of commerce, philosophy and applied ethics.

Van Heerden said: “We’re absolutely thrilled about Simkins’s appointment.”

Simkins said: “BCom degrees usually have four fundamental courses—economics, accounting, law and quantitative methods. This degree will have this but will be broader and involves two years of philosophy and politics.

“Our smallness in size will be an advantage and we will keep track of students’ progress.
We will build in cross-disciplinary exercises and encourage student collaboration.”

First year will entail foundational skills in logic and argument; mathematics and statistics; study skills; and an introduction to philosophy, politics and economics.

Second year will entail history of philosophy; theory of knowledge; economic models; political philosophy, international relations, political science of South Africa and the world; and accounting and focusing on the interpretation of financial statements.

Third year will look at applications of economic theory; specialised topics in politics and philosophy; and commercial law.

Said Simkins: “This is going to be a busy, stretching curriculum where we keep moving forward. This degree is for people who want an advantage in their undergraduate degree.”

The Victory Park, Johannesburg-based college says its aim “is to produce graduates who can produce extended and self-critical analyses of the political and economic environment within which they will have to work. Such skills are not common among South African businessmen, so we believe that our degree would make a useful new contribution. Our best graduates could expect to rise to high positions in the business world. Their undergraduate degrees would be recognised by other South African universities as qualification for post-graduate studies.”

It also intends offering a bachelor of theology in 2010 (three years, full-time; six years, part-time).

The course is designed for learners who require an academic introduction to the teachings of the Christian faith in an integrating Catholic intellectual tradition. The course guides students to develop their own spirituality and also furnishes skills essential for leading a Christian community.

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