Professor & Head of Department
C Shackleton, PhD(Wits)
W Ellery, PhD (Wits)
J Gambiza, PhD(Zimbabwe)
S Shackleton, MSc(Wits), PhD(Rhodes)
H Hendricks, MSc(UWC) (2003-2005)
A Knight, BSc(Hons) (Macquarie) (2007-2010)
AM Avis, PhD(Rhodes);
H Magome, MSc(Wits), PhD(Canterbury)
Environmental Science (ENV) is a four-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 first year level courses: EAR 101; and GOG 102 and one of ANT 1, BOT 1, GLG 1 or ZOO 1; followed by ENV 201; ENV 202 at second year level, and then ENV 301 and ENV 302 at the third year level. A exception is made for Law students who, due to a timetable clash between Legal Theory 1 and EAR 101 and GOG 102, are permitted to enter ENV 201 and ENV 202 without having completed EAR 101 and GOG 102. Such students shall register for EAR 101 and GOG 102 concurrently with ENV201 and ENV 201.
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.
6. Environmental Law
Note: These are illustrative curricula only and students must ensure that they have the correct number of semester credits to meet their respective faculty needs.
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 sub-minimum 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, other than for Law students. These students shall register for EAR 101 and GOG 102 concurrently with ENV201 and 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 as composed of interactions between biological, social and economic systems; system states, resilience and stability; 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 appropriate Dean, after consulting with the Head of Department may entry into the course on the basis of applicants' qualifications, experience and academic background.
ENV 202 (Global 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 : A variety of different ones pertaining to the issues covered in lectures.
There are two third-year level courses in Environmental Science. ENV 301 is normally taught in the first semester and ENV 302 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 3, provided that a candidate obtains the required sub-minimum in each component. 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. Students will be required to plan, execute and write up a mini-research project starting in the first term and spanning the whole academic year.
Credit in Environmental Science 2 (ENV 201 and ENV 202) is required before a student may register for ENV 301 or 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.
ENV 301 (Environmental monitoring and monitoring systems)
This course builds on the foundations laid in ENV 2 in terms of systems thinking, interdisciplinarity and the scientific analysis of environmental problems. The focus is on the design and implementation of environmental monitoring systems appropriate at different spatial and temporal scales integrating across the biological, social and economic components of an environmental system. Examples will include industrial, terrestrial and aquatic systems. A key component deals with collection and analysis of environmental data, which is the core of any environmental monitoring system. Field visits may take place over a limited number of weekends. The practical application of the course will be incorporated into the year long mini-research project.
ENV 302 (Integrated environmental management for sustainability)
This course focuses on sustainable resource management in practice. The aim is to develop applied professional skills, coupled with rigorous analysis, to promote more effective environmental thinking and management. The emphasis is on conceptual and planning frameworks to pre-empt or minimise environmental impacts (such as Sustainability Assessment, Agenda 21, Strategic Environmental Assessment, Environmental Management Programme Reports, ISO 14000, Environmental Impact Assessments, Integrated Water Resources Management, etc.) as well as to evaluate, understand and mitigate environmental impacts and land and resource use patterns. Each topic is illustrated by up to date examples. Practicals: environmental management, ecosystem management, Environmental Impact Assessment. Field visits may take place over a limited number of weekends.
The Honours course in Environmental Science is designed as an interdisciplinary programme. It consists of four modules selected from a list of available options, along with a short course in statistics. 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 with the agreement of the Head of Environmental Science. Tuition emphasis is on self-learning guided through tutorials, debates, 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 short course in Statistics 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 four 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; ecological modelling; systematic conservation assessment; urban forestry; wetland ecology and managemen; and climate change adaptation. Modules offered by the Geography Department: the geography of development; land degradation and erosion; water resources management; and GIS. Module offered through the Anthropology Department: resettlement and land reform. Modules offered through the Botany Department: climatic change, rehabilitation and disturbance ecology. Modules offered jointly by Environmental Science and Botany: environmental impact assessment. Module offered by the Institute for Water Research: environmental water quality. 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.
Honours in Biodiversity and Conservation
This is a specialist Joint Honours course with the Department of Botany. It includes three compulsory modules, one optional module and a year long project. The compulsory modules are GIS, Systematic Conservation Planning and Diversity, Rarity and Endimism. Full details are provided at http://www.ru.ac.za/academic/departments/botany/
Environmental Water Management Honours (in the departments of Geography and Environmental Science)
Environmental Water Management Honours is offered by the departments of Environmental Science and Geography, with input from the Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University. Candidates must be in possession of an appropriate Bachelors degree, normally majoring in at least one of Geography, Environmental Science or Hydrology. Other candidates with appropriate professional experience in water resource management may be considered. This course aims to equip students with the conceptual understanding and practical knowledge that is needed to make an effective contribution to the sustainable management of catchment systems and their associated water resources. Students are required to take three compulsory courses: Research Philosophy and Methodology, Catchment Systems, and Integrated Catchment Management. They must also select one other course from those offered by the departments of Geography or Environmental Science; it is strongly recommended that they take a course that will equip them with tools that are commonly used in catchment research or management such as Geographical Information Systems or Environmental Water Quality. The courses offered may be subject to timetable and staffing constraints. The research project must be catchment related and approved by the Head of Course.
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 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 in the Rules of the Faculty of Commerce.