Wits School Of Governance

Wits School Of Governance, The Wits School of Governance (WSG) is a post-graduate institution that works towards transforming the public, private and non-governmental sectors through education and building an Africa we all want to live in.

We do this by teaching our students skills that help them navigate their challenges with confidence and purpose. We believe in making education relevant to all people by hosting regular public dialogues, debates and talks. We form partnerships with different organisations, including those outside the higher education sector, to ensure that education translates into action.

We attract the best academics to teach our students and also have experienced practioners contributing to the classroom and debates.

WSG believes firmly that evolution and innovation is critical to our success as the nature of the world changes. We provide an environment which allows students to extend their knowledge of theory and practice in areas that complement their work challenges. It is important to us that our programmes have content that is aligned to global and local challenges. We educate over 1000 students and short course participants annually.

The School is located in Parktown, Johannesburg, one of Africa’s biggest cities and South Africa’s economic powerhouse. The School falls under the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at the University of the Witwatersrand.

What we do

We work closely with government and community-based organisations in South Africa and across the African continent to:

  • Support national and local public policy development, governance frameworks and institutional arrangements
  • Enhance management systems, mechanisms and modalities
  • Strengthen service-delivery, strategic planning, programme development and monitoring and evaluation
  • Develop public finance capacity in almost all sectors of government
  • Prepare our students to be global citizens while responding to local challenges
  • Host several talks and debates on topics that directly affect us such as race relations, corruption, security and policy-related issues


Teach: To provide academic programmes and short courses to address development, policy and economic challenges with expert tuition and supervision.

Research: To provide research and policy analysis in the areas of policy and governance.

Community engagement: We provide people with a platform to contribute to debates and dialogues about current issues that affect them.

Run networks: We want to expand our networks so our students can benefit from our partnerships.

Media engagement: Our public intellectuals offer their expertise to a number of international and national media.



There are over 40 highly qualified academics, including full and part time staff, at the WSG. With a broad diversity of experience and sectoral focus, we are in a position to offer over 40 short courses. Our academics are known for advising African policymakers on foreign and national security policy processes and frameworks as well as local policy makers. They have experience in social activism, working with trade unions and in global organisations. Several are sought-after for interviews and contribute to media reports by providing their expert analysis on various subjects.

Our academics’ expertise: 

  • Health, social security, humanitarian assistance, higher education, governance
  • Socio-economic and development research
  • Anti-poverty, civic education and good governance programmes
  • Monitoring systems and programme evaluation
  • Unemployment, vulnerability, economic empowerment and the green economy
  • Public policy, African security, International Relations, foreign and security policy


Our students are mainly public servants as well as politicians and parliamentarians. Given that they have years of work experience, they are engaging and active in our classrooms. Our students are committed to seeing positive changes in the world and are courageous about contributing to those changes. We also attract international students.

Our students are trained to be unapologetic in thinking critically about challenges in Africa and the global South. We empower out students with critical thinking skills to enable them to understand complexity and chaos and design appropriate governance responses.


The academic staff at WSG produces increasing numbers of research degree students, journal and book publications, and a continuing discourse between the WSG community and the broader community on a range of relevant economic, social and political issues.

The research undertaken focuses on a variety of governance, economic, and broader public administration questions, reflecting the multi-disciplinary nature of the school.


We engage with partners across the world to conduct collaborative research that feeds into our teaching. The partnerships also contribute to improving policy making.


We bring people closer to governance issues by organising public lectures, debates and dialogues.

The WSG Development and Rights Dialogue Series was launched to provide an opportunity to explore how key development  goals, such as reducing poverty, unemployment and inequality, and achieving a socially cohesive nation, translated into the rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

The School together with the OR Tambo Foundation, United Nations Development Programme, and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation offers the OR Tambo Series Debates. High profiled panellists are invited to discuss current issues.

Together with the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the School also started a series to explore energy issues on the continent.

The WSG and Thabo Mbeki Foundation have partnered to create the African Centre for Conflict Management (ACCM) to strengthen peace in Africa, security, democracy and governance.

The ACCM started the annual Africa Day Lecture in 2016.

Academic Programmes

Participants on the degree programmes can either begin their journey with the PDM which is an honours equivalent qualification designed to provide a blend of theory and practical skills to enable better performance as managers in the public sector. Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree and a minimum of three years’ work experience.

Those graduates of the PDM that would like to build theoretical and conceptual analysis skills and achieve good marks on the PMD may apply for the Master of Management (MM) by course and research. They will be exposed to research methodology, theory and practice, be guided through an in-depth literature analysis in the area of their research and complete a 50 percent Master’s research report.

The School does accept limited numbers of students who have an honours or honours equivalent qualification that have a strong base of governance, development, economics and policy.

Alternatively, they can register for the MM in Public Policy which provides a route for students with a strong academic background and policy experience to register directly with a Master’s Degree.

Executive Education

WSG consistently offers a wide range of specialised and flexible courses in specific management areas including: health, education, development, housing, public and development finance, public and development management, crime and policing, humanitarian assistance, social security, defense and peacekeeping, policy, governance, leadership, monitoring and evaluation.

Short courses are delivered in a variety of models, which include single blocks of study, block-release sessions over a number of months, workshops, breakfast seminars, or a combination of these options.