C Fabricius, BSc(Hons)(Pretoria), MSc(Wits), PhD(UCT)
Associate Professor & Head of Department C Shackleton, PhD(Wits)
Senior Lecturer K Whittington-Jones, PhD(Rhodes)
Lecturer J Gambiza, PhD(Zimbabwe)
Research Associates S Shackleton, MSc(Wits) (2001-2006)
H Hendricks, MSc(UWC) (2003-2005)
Visiting Fellows: AM Avis, PhD(Rhodes);
H Magome, MSc(Wits), PhD(Canterbury)
Environmental Science (ENV) is a three-semester subject which may be taken as a major subject for the degrees of BSc, BEcon, BJourn and BA, subject to the conditions specified below.
The programme takes a multi-disciplinary approach to sustainable environmental management, and aims to attract students from a variety of academic disciplines. Candidates who wish to major in Environmental Science should, however, structure their degrees around a specific sub-discipline of Environmental Science, for example biological resources, earth resources, water resources, environmental policy, environmental economics, or people and the environment. Their choice of additional subjects at the second and third level should thus reflect a specific focus.
To major in Environmental Science a candidate is required to obtain credit in the following courses: EAR 101; GOG 102 and one of ANT 1, BOT 1, GLG 1 or ZOO 1; ENV 201; ENV 202, ENV 302; one of BIO 301, ECL 301, ECO 301 (ECO 317 plus one additional course module, selected in consultation with the Heads of Economics and Environmental Science), ENA 301, GOG 301 or ZOO 301. Note that a student who majors in Environmental Science and one of Anthropology, Botany, Economics, Entomology, Geography or Zoology may not count BIO 301, ECL 301, ECO 301, ENA 301, GOG 301 or ZOO 301 as a constituent credit of both major subjects; furthermore, depending on the choice of third-year course to complement ENV 302, students may also have to satisfy other prerequisites. See Rule S.23.
See the Departmental Web Page http://www.ru.ac.za./academic/departments/environmental_science/ for further details, particularly on the contents of courses.
The following are examples only. Not all the options and possible subject combinations are covered, and curricula are subject to timetable constraints. Students with particular interests are encouraged to discuss other possible course combinations with the Head of Department.
Where both semesters of a year course are recommended, the subject is indicated by its year number only, e.g. ENV 2 instead of ENV 201 and 202.
Curricula could, for example, be structured around one of the following sub-disciplines:
1. Biological resources
See the BEcon calendar entry under the Faculty of Commerce.
Note: Where students take both geography and geology at first year level, it will be necessary to pick up an additional semester because of the common earth sciences semester that services both geography and geology.
There are two second-year level courses in Environmental Science. ENV 201 is normally taught in the first semester and ENV 202 in the second semester. Credit may be obtained in each course separately and, in addition, an aggregate mark of at least 50% will be deemed to be equivalent to a two-credit course ENV 2, provided that a candidate obtains the required subminimum in each component. However, students who wish to major in Environmental Science must obtain credit in both ENV 201 and ENV 202. No supplementary examinations will be offered for either course. Practical reports, essays, seminars and class tests collectively comprise the class mark, which forms part of the final mark.
Credit in Geography (EAR 101 and GOG 102) and either Anthropology (ANT 1), Botany (BOT 1), Geology (GLG 1) or Zoology (ZOO 1) is normally required before a student may register for ENV 201 or ENV 202. Adequate performance in ENV 201 is required before a student may register for ENV 202.
ENV 201 (Foundations of Environmental Science)
An appropriate selection of the following modules: integrated environmental systems; sustainable natural resource use; financial and non-financial benefits from the environment; sustainable land management; chemical cycles in nature; plant-animal interactions; culture and the environment; environment and development. Practicals: interaction between social, economic and natural components of the environment; environmental systems. Students will be required to visit field sites during a limited number of weekends as part of their practicals.
Depending on physical constraints the Head of Department may exercise the right to limit entry into the course on the basis of applicants' qualifications, experience and academic background.
ENV 202 (Environmental problems and policies)
The Environmental Science 202 course is designed to cover a selection of current major issues or problems in environmental science. The purpose of the course is to apply interdisciplinary skills, systems approaches and perspectives to analyse and understand environmental issues and policies of global and local concern. Critical analysis and consideration of counter-viewpoints, from a systems perspective, is central. This will be done at different spatial and temporal scales. The skills covered in Environmental Science 201 are particularly relevant, especially those relating to systems analysis, team work, and interdisciplinarity as well as rigorous and in-depth analysis and thinking. Practicals: Environmental reporting and monitoring.
There is one third-year course in Environmental Science. ENV 302 is normally held in the second semester. Science students who wish to major in Environmental Science will normally obtain credit in ECL 301 (the recommended 301 course) and ENV 302. BIO 301, ECO 301 (ECO 317 plus one additional course module, selected in consultation with the Heads of Economics and Environmental Science), ENA 301 (Environmental Anthropology), ECL 301, or ZOO 301 may under certain circumstances be taken as substitutes for ECL 301, in consultation with the Head of Environmental Science and the Department concerned. However, no aggregation of credit is possible, and no supplementary examinations will be offered. Practical reports, essays, seminars and class tests collectively comprise the class mark, which forms part of the final mark. Students majoring in Environmental Science must complete a mini research project that normally commences in the first term.
Credit in Environmental Science (ENV 201 and ENV 202) is required before a student may register for ENV 302. Concurrent registration is not allowed for second-year and third-year courses in Environmental Science. In addition, candidates must have satisfied the prerequisites for ENV 201 and ENV 202, and for the other approved third-year course making up the major itself.
ENV 302 (Environmental Management Concepts and Methods)This course focuses on resource management at the scale of a household, village, town, farm or protected area and aims to put policies into practice. The aim is to develop applied professional skills, coupled with rigorous analysis, to promote more effective environmental management. The emphasis is on methodologies and conceptual frameworks to evaluate, understand and study environmental impacts and resource use patterns. Practicals: environmental management, ecosystem management, Environmental Impact Assessment. Field visits may take place over a limited number of weekends.
ECL 301: Applied Environmental Freshwater StudiesThis course is offered by the staff of the Institute for Water Research, and is only available to students who have obtained at least 4 semester credits at second year level in the following: Biochemistry, Botany, Chemistry, Entomology, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Ichthyology, Microbiology, Zoology. The course will provide a multi-disciplinary understanding of natural freshwater resources and will integrate biophysical, ecological, geographical and environmental subjects. The theme of the course is the protection and sustainable use of water resources. Major components of the course deal with the structure, processes and functions of inland water ecosystems; physico-chemical processes governing the distribution and abundance of aquatic biota, such as hydrology, geomorphology, and water chemistry; and the implementation and monitoring of sustainable policies and management. Because of physical constraints the Institute reserves the right to limit the number of students taking the course. A compulsory fee (amount to be determined) will be levied to cover field trip and course material costs.
The Honours course in Environmental Science is designed as an interdisciplinary programme. It consists of four modules, of which one is compulsory, and three others are selected from a list of available options. Additionally candidates undertake an independent research project. The course may be done full-time over one academic year, or part-time over two academic years. Tuition emphasis is on self-learning guided through lectures, tutorials, seminars and practical work. Students are encouraged to work in multi-disciplinary teams and to address practical, "real life" issues in their projects and seminars. A limited number of students are selected annually on the basis of academic excellence, previous experience, qualifications in environment-related fields, group diversity and staff availability. Candidates must be in possession of an appropriate Bachelors degree, majoring in at least one of Anthropology, Botany, Environmental Science, Entomology, Geography, Geology, Ichthyology, Microbiology or Zoology. Preference will be give to applicants with undergraduate Environmental Science qualifications and/or with applicable practical experience.
Students may be required to attend blocks of lectures and practicals before the official commencement of the first term (typically the last week of January or first week of February) and during vacations. Candidates should consult the Head of Department in this regard before registering for the course.
The single compulsory module: Tools for Environmental Scientists must be taken by all students, but those who are considering careers that might involve environmental impact assessment procedures are strongly encouraged to register for the Environmental Impact Assessment module. For the optional modules, candidates must select three from the list of available modules. The list changes from year to year, and not all are available to part-time candidates. Some modules are offered by Departments collaborating with Environmental Science and candidates should discuss their options with the Head of Department and, where applicable, with the Head of the Department offering that module. The list includes the following modules: Modules offered by Environmental Science: community-based natural resource management; biodiversity, non-timber forest products and rural livelihoods. Modules offered by the Geography Department: ecological modelling, the geography of development; land degradation and rural development; water resources management. Module offered by the Anthropology Department: resettlement and land reform. Modules offered by the Botany Department: climatic change, rehabilitation and disturbance ecology. Module offered jointly by Environmental Science and Botany: Environmental Impact Assessment. Module offered by the Institute for Water Research: Aquatic toxicology. Additional suitable modules may be available at the time of registration, and prospective candidates should consult with the Head of Department regarding the availability and choice of such modules.
Students will also undertake a research project, related to their selected courses.
Suitably qualified students are encouraged to proceed to the research degrees of MSc, MA and PhD under the direction of the staff of the Department. Requirements for the MSc, MA and PhD degrees are given in the General Rules.
An Environmental Science Master's degree is mainly by dissertation. It has four distinguishing characteristics:
The following candidates are eligible to register:
Students also have the option of attending appropriate undergraduate and Honours modules during their period of registration. Part-time students should aim to spend two to four months on campus at the early stage of registration and another two to four months during the final writing-up stage.
Master's in Business Administration - Environmental Electives
The Rhodes MBA is designed to enable practising and potential managers to succeed in creating, developing and directing successful organizations in a competitive business environment. The Rhodes MBA is now able to offer business the opportunity to engage with the challenges of sustainable development and environmental management through its new electives programme. Details of the six environmental electives can be found under the Faculty of Commerce.