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Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development

Growth of the Department

In 1928, there were only two lecturers associated with the Department. Currently the Department is employing no less than nine lecturers. In 1928, there were about 10 undergraduate students registered at the Department. By 1995, the Department had more than 240 students associated with it, and most of these students were occupied with postgraduate studies.

In 1928, the Department only offered the following three degrees:

  • BSc(Agric);
  • MSc(Agric); and
  • DSc(Agric).

In 1987, BCom, BCom(Hons) and the MCom degree in Agricultural Economics were introduced, with the first students graduating in 1989. The DSc(Agric) degree was abolished in the late eighties and replaced by a PhD degree in Agricultural Economics. After the establishment of the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development in 1992, the number of degrees increased when the BInstAgrar(Hons) and MInstAgrar were added. Since the second half of the eighties, the Department experienced a growing number of black students and other foreign students doing postgraduate studies in the Department. It was also a special occasion when Dr AT Naledzani became the first black student in South Africa to obtain a PhD in Agricultural Economics in 1992. The student profile of the Department now reflects the population composition of South Africa very well, with 70% of the graduate students coming from black communities.

Student numbers

Undergraduate student numbers for students majoring in Agricultural Economics remains constant over the years with around 25 students in the final-year class. The more interesting part of our numbers relates to the enrolment of postgraduate students. During 2001, a total of 166 postgraduate students were enrolled. This included 40 honours students, 98 master’s students and 28 PhD students.

The details are provided in Table 1.

Major Discipline




Agricultural Economics








Rural Development








 The growth in postgraduate student numbers are illustrated by the following graphs:

Figure 1: Total graduate enrolment

Figure 2: Enrolment of PhDs

Figure 3: MSc Agric enrolment

Figure 4: Annual enrolment for the different Inst Agrar degrees offered under the auspices of the Postgraduate School of Agricultural and Rural Development