Yearbooks

Programme: BSc (Geography and Environmental Science)

Code Faculty Department
02133363 Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Department: Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology
Credits Duration NQF level SAQA ID
Minimum duration of study: 3 years Total credits: 405 NQF level:  07 SAQA ID:  83940

Admission requirements

Important information for all prospective students for 2022

  • The admission requirements apply to students who apply for admission to the University of Pretoria with a National Senior Certificate (NSC) and Independent Examination Board (IEB) qualifications.
  • Applicants with qualifications other than the abovementioned should refer to:
    • Brochure: Undergraduate Programme Information 2022: Qualifications other than the NSC and IEB, available at click here.
  • Citizens from countries other than South Africa (applicants who are not South African citizens) should also refer to:
  • School of Tomorrow (SOT), Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) and General Education Development Test (GED): The University of Pretoria no longer accepts qualifications awarded by these institutions.
  • National Certificate (Vocational) (NCV) Level 4: The University of Pretoria may consider NCV candidates, provided they meet the exemption for bachelor’s status criteria and the programme requirements.

Transferring students

A transferring student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme at the University of Pretoria (UP) –

  • is a registered student at another tertiary institution, or was previously registered at another tertiary institution and did not complete the programme enrolled for at that institution, and is not currently enrolled at a tertiary institution, or has completed studies at another tertiary institution, but is not currently enrolled at a tertiary institution, or has started with tertiary studies at UP, then moved to another tertiary institution and wants to be readmitted at UP.

A transferring student will be considered for admission based on

  • an NSC or equivalent qualification with exemption to bachelor’s or diploma studies (whichever is applicable); and meeting the minimum faculty-specific subject requirements at NSC or tertiary level; or having completed a higher certificate at a tertiary institution with faculty-specific subjects/modules passed (equal to or more than 50%), as well as complying with faculty rules on admission;
  • previous academic performance (must have passed all modules registered for up to the closing date of application ) or as per faculty regulation/promotion requirements;
  • a certificate of good conduct.

Note: Students who have been dismissed at the previous institution due to poor academic performance, will not be considered for admission to UP.

Returning students

A returning student is a student who, at the time of application for a degree programme –

  • is a registered student at UP, and wants to transfer to another degree at UP, or was previously registered at UP and did not complete the programme enrolled for, and did not enrol at another tertiary institution in the meantime (including students who applied for leave of absence), or has completed studies at UP, but is not currently enrolled or was not enrolled at another tertiary institution after graduation.

A returning student will be considered for admission based on

  • an NSC or equivalent qualification with exemption to bachelor’s or diploma studies (whichever is applicable); and meeting the minimum faculty-specific subject requirements at NSC or tertiary level; or previous academic performance (should have a cumulative weighted average of at least 50% for the programme enrolled for);
  • having applied for and was granted leave of absence.

Note: Students who have been excluded/dismissed from a faculty due to poor academic performance may be considered for admission to another programme at UP.  The Admissions Committee may consider such students if they were not dismissed more than twice. Only ONE transfer between UP faculties will be allowed, and a maximum of two (2) transfers within a faculty.

Important faculty-specific information on undergraduate programmes for 2022

  • The closing date is an administrative admission guideline for non-selection programmes. Once a non-selection programme is full  and has reached the institutional targets, then that programme will be closed for further admissions, irrespective of the closing date. However, if the institutional targets have not been met by the closing date, then that programme will remain open for admissions until the institutional targets are met.
  • The following persons will be considered for admission: Candidates who have a certificate that is deemed by the University to be equivalent to the required National Senior Certificate (NSC) with university endorsement; candidates who are graduates from another tertiary institution or have been granted the status of a graduate of such an institution, and candidates who are graduates of another faculty at the University of Pretoria.
  • Life Orientation is excluded when calculating the Admission Point Score (APS).
  • Grade 11 results are used for the conditional admission of prospective students. Final admission is based on the final NSC/IEB results.

University of Pretoria website: click here

Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language

Mathematics

Physical Sciences

APS

NSC/IEB

NSC/IEB

NSC/IEB

5

5

5

34

Candidates who do not comply with the minimum admission requirements for BSc (Geography and Environmental Sciences), may be considered for admission to the BSc – Extended programme – Physical Sciences, which requires an additional year of study.

BSc – Extended Programme – Physical Sciences

Minimum requirements

Achievement level

English Home Language or English First Additional Language

Mathematics

Physical Sciences

APS

NSC/IEB

NSC/IEB

NSC/IEB

4

4

4

28

Note:

*The BSc – Extended programmes are not available for students who meet all the requirements for the corresponding mainstream programme.

*Please note that only students who apply in their final NSC or equivalent qualification year will be considered for admission into any of the BSc – Extended programmes.

Other programme-specific information

1.1    Requirements for specific modules
A candidate who:

  1. does not qualify for STK 110, must enrol for STK 113 and STK 123;
  2.  egisters for Mathematical Statistics (WST) and Statistics (STK) modules must take note that WST and STK modules, except for STK 281, may not be taken simultaneously in a programme; a student must take one and only one of the following options:
  • WST 111, WST 121, WST 212, WST 211, WST 221, WST 311, WST 312, WST 322, WST 321, and STK 353

or

  • WST 111, WST 121, WST 212, WST 211, WST 221, WST 311, WST 312, WST 322, STK320, STK353.

or

  • STK 110, STC 122, STK 210, STK 220, WST 212, STK 310, STK 320, STK 353.
  1. registers for a module presented by another faculty must take note of the timetable clashes, prerequisites for that module, subminimum required in examination papers, supplementary examinations, etc.

1.2    Fundamental modules

  1. It is compulsory for all new first-year students to satisfactorily complete the Academic orientation (UPO 102) and to take Academic information management modules (AIM 111 and AIM 121) and Language and study skills (LST 110). Please see curricula for details.
  2. Students who intend to apply for admission to MBChB or BChD in the second semester, when places become available in those programmes, may be permitted to register for up to 80 module credits and 4 core modules in the first semester during the first year provided that they obtained a final mark of no less than 70% for Grade 12 Mathematics and achieved an APS of 34 or more in the NSC.

Promotion to next study year

A student will be promoted to the following year of study if he or she passed 100 credits of the prescribed credits for a year of study. A student who does not comply with the requirements for promotion to the following year of study, retains the credit for the modules already passed and may be admitted by the Dean, on recommendation of the relevant head of department, to modules of the following year of study to a maximum of 48 credits, provided that it will fit in with both the lecture and examination timetable.

  • A student who is excluded from further studies in terms of the stipulations of the abovementioned regulations, will be notified in writing by the Dean or Admissions Committee at the end of the relevant semester.
  • A student who has been excluded from further studies may apply in writing to the Admissions Committee of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences for readmission.
  • Should the student be readmitted by the Admissions Committee, strict conditions will be set which the student must comply with in order to proceed with his/her studies.
  • Should the student not be readmitted to further studies by the Admissions Committee, he/she will be informed in writing.
  • Students who are not readmitted by the Admissions Committee have the right to appeal to the Senior Appeals Committee.
  • Any decision taken by the Senior Appeals Committee is final.

Minimum credits: 128

Fundamental = 14 
Core = 66 
Elective = 48

Additional Information
Students are advised to choose elective modules based on the requirements for a second major of interest. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that all prerequisites are taken into account. Choose electives according to the combinations below with a view to pursuing specialisation in the relevant field. Continue with the electives pertaining to the specific second major chosen, through to the second and third years of study. 

  • Geoinformatics as a second major: INF 154 (S1, 10), INF 171 (S1 & 2, 10 + 10) INF 164 (S2, 10), INF 112 (S2, 10) [20 + 30 = 50] 
  • Plant Science as a second major: MLB 111 (S1, 16), BOT 161 (S2, 8), CMY 117 (S1, 16), CMY 127 (S2, 16) [32 + 24 = 56] 
  • Soil Science as a second major: BOT 161 (S2, 8), CMY 117 (S1, 16), CMY 127 (S2, 16), MLB 111 (S1, 16) [32 +24 = 56] 
  • Ecology as a second major: BOT 161 (S2, 8), CMY 117 (S1, 16), MLB 111 (S1, 16), ZEN 161 (S2, 8) [32 + 16 = 48]
  • Meteorology as second major: WKD 155, PHY 114. Students doing a second major in meteorology should replace WTW 134 with WTW 114 and WTW 124 (48 credits)

Possibilities for second majors in Social Sciences (two options) 

  • Anthropology as a second major: APL 110 (S1, 12), APL 120 (S2, 12), EFK 110 (S1, 12), EFK 120 (S2, 12) [24 + 24 = 48] – towards BSocSciHons (Anthropology) 
  • Heritage and Cultural Tourism as second major: EFK 110 (S1, 12), EFK 120 (S2, 12), APL 110 (S1,12), APL 120 (S2, 12) = [24 + 24 = 48] – towards BSocSciHons (Heritage and Cultural Tourism) 

Fundamental modules

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Simple statistical analysis: Data collection and analysis: Samples, tabulation, graphical representation, describing location, spread and skewness. Introductory probability and distribution theory. Sampling distributions and the central limit theorem. Statistical inference: Basic principles, estimation and testing in the one- and two-sample cases (parametric and non-parametric). Introduction to experimental design. One- and twoway designs, randomised blocks. Multiple statistical analysis: Bivariate data sets: Curve fitting (linear and non-linear), growth curves. Statistical inference in the simple regression case. Categorical analysis: Testing goodness of fit and contingency tables. Multiple regression and correlation: Fitting and testing of models. Residual analysis. Computer literacy: Use of computer packages in data analysis and report writing.

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  • Module content:

    Introducing the basic concepts and interrelationships required to understand the complexity of natural environmental problems, covering an introduction to environmental science and biogeography; including a first introduction to SDGs and Aichi targets.

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  • Module content:

    This module begins by fostering an understanding of human geography. Then follows with the political ordering of space; cultural diversity as well as ethnic geography globally and locally; population geography of the world and South Africa: and four economic levels of development. The purpose is to place South Africa in a world setting and to understand the future of the country.

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  • Module content:

    Note: Students cannot register for both GGY 166 and GGY 168.

    Investigating southern African landscapes and placing them in a theoretical and global context. The geomorphological evolution of southern Africa. Introduction to the concepts of Geomorphology and its relationships with other physical sciences (e.g. meteorology, climatology, geology, hydrology and biology). The processes and controls of landform and landscape evolution. Tutorial exercises cover basic techniques of geomorphological analysis, and topical issues in Geomorphology.

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  • Module content:

    History, present and future of cartography. Introductory geodesy: shape of the earth, graticule and grids, datum definition, elementary map projection theory, spherical calculations. Representation of geographical data on maps: Cartographic design, cartographic abstraction, levels of measurement and visual variables. Semiotics for cartography: signs, sign systems, map semantics and syntactics, explicit and implicit meaning of maps (map pragmatics). Critique maps of indicators to measure United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in South Africa.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree: WTW 134, WTW 165, WTW 114, WTW 158. WTW 134 does not lead to admission to Mathematics at 200 level and is intended for students who require Mathematics at 100 level only. WTW 134 is offered as WTW 165 in the second semester only to students who have applied in the first semester of the current year for the approximately 65 MBChB, or the 5-6 BChD places becoming available in the second semester and who were therefore enrolled for MGW 112 in the first semester of the current year. 
    Functions, derivatives, interpretation of the derivative, rules of differentiation, applications of differentiation, integration, interpretation of the definite integral, applications of integration. Matrices, solutions of systems of equations. All topics are studied in the context of applications.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    This introduction to social anthropology introduces basic themes of the discipline including ritual, religion, marriage and sex. It combines classic studies with recent scholarship, and asks the ‘big question’ about human society and human cultures that offer challenging perspectives on the world we live in.

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  • Module content:

    This module builds on the ethnographic and theoretical themes introduced in APL 110, asking particular questions about how we may think about the relationship between the local and the global; indigenous and universal; public and private; the real and the possible.The module continues in the vein of APL 110, in that it explicitly encourages students to understand the society in which they live through a series of critical anthropological perspectives.

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  • Module content:

    Botanical principles of structure and function; diversity of plants; introductory plant systematics and evolution; role of plants in agriculture and food security; principles and applications of plant biotechnology; economical and valuable medicinal products derived from plants; basic principles of plant ecology and their application in conservation and biodiversity management.
    This content aligns with the United Nation's Sustainable Debelopment Goals of No Poverty, Good Health and Well-being, Climate Action, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Life on Land.

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  • Module content:

    General introduction to inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry. Atomic structure and periodicity. Molecular structure and chemical bonding using the VSEOR model. Nomenclature of inorganic ions and compounds. Classification of reactions: precipitation, acid-base, redox reactions and gas-forming reactions. Mole concept and stoichiometric calculations concerning chemical formulas and chemical reactions. Principles of reactivity: energy and chemical reactions. Physical behaviour gases, liquids, solids and solutions and the role of intermolecular forces. Rate of reactions: Introduction to chemical kinetics.

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  • Module content:

    Theory: General physical-analytical chemistry: Chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, buffers, solubility equilibrium, entropy and free energy, electrochemistry. Organic chemistry: Structure (bonding), nomenclature, isomerism, introductory stereochemistry, introduction to chemical reactions and chemical properties of organic compounds and biological compounds, i.e. carbohydrates and aminoacids. Practical: Molecular structure (model building), synthesis and properties of simple organic compounds.

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  • Module content:

    Overview of the origin and nature of tourism development of South African cultural, natural and adventure tourist destinations.

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  • Module content:

    An introductory exploration of the relationship between heritage conservation and tourism.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to information systems, information systems in organisations, hardware: input, processing, output, software: systems and application software, organisation of data and information, telecommunications and networks, the Internet and Intranet. Transaction processing systems, management information systems, decision support systems, information systems in business and society, systems analysis, systems design, implementation, maintenance and revision.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to programming.

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  • Module content:

    Programming.

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  • Module content:

    General systems theory, creative problem solving, soft systems methodology. The systems analyst, systems development building blocks, systems development, systems analysis methods, process modelling.

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  • Module content:

     Introduction to the molecular structure and function of the cell. Basic chemistry of the cell. Structure and composition of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Ultrastructure and function of cellular organelles, membranes and the cytoskeleton. General principles of energy, enzymes and cell metabolism. Selected processes, e.g. glycolysis, respiration and/or photosynthesis. Introduction to molecular genetics: DNA structure and replication, transcription, translation. Cell growth and cell division.

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  • Module content:

    SI-units. Significant figures. Waves: intensity, superposition, interference, standing waves, resonance, beats, Doppler. Geometrical optics: Reflection, refraction, mirrors, thin lenses, instruments. Physical optics: Young-interference, coherence, diffraction, polarisation. Hydrostatics and dynamics: density, pressure, Archimedes’ principle, continuity, Bernoulli. Heat: temperature, specific heat, expansion, heat transfer. Vectors. Kinematics of a point: Relative, projectile, and circular motion. Dynamics: Newton’s laws, friction. Work: point masses, gasses (ideal gas law), gravitation, spring, power. Kinetic energy: Conservative forces, gravitation, spring. Conservation of energy. Conservation of momentum. Impulse and collisions. System of particles: Centre of mass, Newton’s laws. Rotation: torque, conservation of angular momentum, equilibrium, centre of gravity.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to weather and climate. Climate of South Africa. Urban and rural climate. Meteorological instruments. Motion of the earth. Atmospheric mass and pressure. Energy and heat budget. Moisture in the atmosphere. Cloud development. Climate change. ENSO. Electromagnetic spectrum and remote sensing in meteorology. Synoptic weather systems of South Africa.

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  • Module content:

    *This module serves as preparation for students majoring in Mathematics (including all students who intend to enrol for WTW 218 and WTW 220). Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree: WTW 114, WTW 158, WTW 134, WTW 165.
    Functions, limits and continuity. Differential calculus of single variable functions, rate of change, graph sketching, applications. The mean value theorem, the rule of L'Hospital. Definite and indefinite integrals, evaluating definite integrals using anti-derivatives, the substitution rule.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree:
    WTW 124, WTW 146, WTW 148 and WTW 164. This module serves as preparation for students majoring in Mathematics (including all students who intend to enrol for WTW 218, WTW 211 and WTW 220).

    The vector space Rn, vector algebra with applications to lines and planes, matrix algebra, systems of linear equations, determinants. Complex numbers and factorisation of polynomials. Integration techniques and applications of integration. The formal definition of a limit. The fundamental theorem of Calculus and applications. Vector functions and quadratic curves. 

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  • Module content:

    Animal classification, phylogeny organisation and terminology. Evolution of the various animal phyla, morphological characteristics and life cycles of parasitic and non-parasitic animals. Structure and function of reproductive,
    respiratory, excretory, circulatory and digestive systems in various animal phyla. In-class discussion will address the sustainable development goals #3, 12, 13, 14 and 15 (Good Health and Well-being. Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land).

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Minimum credits: 132

Core = 82
Elective = 50

Additional information 
Continue with electives pertaining to the second major chosen in the first year of study. 

  • Geoinformatics as a second major: INF 214 (S1, 14), INF 225 (S1, 14), INF 261 (S2, 7), SUR 220 (S2, 14), FIL 251 (10) [28 + 31 = 59] 
  • Plant Science as a second major: BOT 251 (S1, 12), MBY 251 (S1, 12), MBY 261 (S2, 12), GKD 250 (S1, 12), BOT 261 (S2, 12) [36 + 24 = 60] 
  • Soil Science as a second major: GKD 250 (S1, 12), SUR 220 (S2, 14), BOT 251 (S1, 12), BOT 261 (S2, 12), WKD 261 (Q1, 12) [36 + 26 = 62] 
  • Ecology as a second major: BOT 251 (S1, 12), BOT 261 (S2, 12), GKD 250 (S1, 12), ZEN 251 (S1, 12), ZEN 261 (S2, 12) [36 + 24 = 60]
  • Meteorology as second major: WKD 261, WKD 254, WKD 263 and WKD 265 (50 credits) and one of [WTW 211, WTW 218, WTW 220, WTW 221, WTW 248, WTW 285, WTW 286 PLG 251, PPK 251, SUR 220] (50 credits)

Possibilities for second majors in Social Sciences (two options) 

  • Anthropology as a second major: APL 210 (S1, 20), APL 220 (S2, 20), EFK 210 (S1, 20) or EFK 220 (S2, 20) [20 + 40 = 60] 
  • Heritage and Cultural Tourism as second major: EFK 210 (S1, 20), EFK 220 (S2, 20), APL 210 (S1, 20) or APL 220 (S2, 20) [20 + 40 = 60] 

Core modules

  • Module content:

    Introduces basic concepts and interrelationships required to understand our atmosphere, with a strong focus on an introduction to weather and climate. A key component of the course is an introduction to climate change, including the science of climate change, introducing climate change projections, and climate change impacts. A key focus of the second part of the course will be climate change implications for the attainment of SDGs and Aichi targets on the African continent, under a range of plausible scenarios.

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  • Module content:

    The module introduces students to urban settlement patterns, processes and structures. Using a series of case studies, it aims to develop an understanding of the challenges facing urban areas both in South Africa and globally.

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  • Module content:

    Physical processes that influence the earth’s surface and management. Specific processes and their interaction in themes such as weathering; soil erosion; slope, mass movement and periglacial processes. Practical laboratory exercises and assignments are based on the themes covered in the module theory component.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), theoretical concepts and applications of GIS. The focus will be on the GIS process of data input, data analysis, data output and associated technologies. This module provides the foundations for more advanced GIS and Geoinformatics topics. Practical assessments and a mini-project make use of South African and African examples and foster learning and application of concepts aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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  • Module content:

    The nature of geographical data and measurement.Application of statistics in the geographical domain. Probability, probability distributions and densities, expected values and variances, Central Limit theorem. Sampling techniques. Exploratory data analysis, descriptive statistics, statistical estimation, hypothesis testing, correlation analysis and regression analysis. Examples used throughout the course are drawn from South African and African case studies and taught within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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  • Module content:

    This module aims to provide students with a working knowledge and skills to learn methods and techniques for collecting, processing and analysing remotely sensed data. Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on image processing, image analysis, image classification, remote sensing and applications of remote sensing in geographical analysis and environmental monitoring. The module is composed of lectures, readings, practical exercises research tasks and a project or assignments of at least 64 notional hours. In particular, the practical exercises and research tasks incorporate South African examples using satellite remotely-sensed data, as well as field spectral data measurements, to promote understanding of the state of land cover and land use types (e.g. spanning agricultural resources, water resources, urbanization) and how changes over time could impact on the changing climate in accordance with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    Cultural constructions of sex and sexuality are the primary building blocks of social organisation. Anthropological discussions of sexuality tend to revolve around the various aspects of social organisation, such as the lifecycle, gendered identities, and personhood. These discussions are informed by the cultural meanings we impute to differences in biological sex and reproduction, and the ways in which these meanings influence social organisation, personhood, and power. In this module, we will consider cultural constructions of sex and sexuality as these inform certain aspects of social organisation such as kinship and marriage. We will attempt to develop an anthropological perspective on the interplay between sex, culture and society. To this end, we will examine the physiology of sexuality, and then consider different theoretical perspectives on human sexuality as reflected in cross-cultural ethnographic case studies.

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  • Module content:

    Power and wealth
    This module explores anthropological perspectives on politics, power and wealth in colonial and postcolonial contexts.  Key concepts that are discussed include anthropological approaches to citizenship, cosmopolitanism, hegemony, human rights, neoliberalism, sovereignty, civil society, gender, race and class.

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  • Module content:

    Structural and ionic properties of amino acids. Peptides, the peptide bond, primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structure of proteins. Interactions that stabilise protein structure, denaturation and renaturation of proteins. Introduction to methods for the purification of proteins, amino acid composition, and sequence determinations. Enzyme kinetics and enzyme inhibition. Allosteric enzymes, regulation of enzyme activity, active centres and mechanisms of enzyme catalysis. Examples of industrial applications of enzymes and in clinical pathology as biomarkers of diseases. Online activities include introduction to practical laboratory techniques and Good Laboratory Practice; techniques for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of biological molecules; enzyme activity measurements; processing and presentation of scientific data.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and affinity of South African flora and vegetation types; principles of plant geography; plant diversity in southern Africa; characteristics, environments and vegetation of South African biomes and associated key ecological processes; centra of plant endemism; rare and threatened plant species; biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management; invasion biology; conservation status of South African vegetation types.

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  • Module content:

    Nitrogen metabolism in plants; nitrogen fixation in Agriculture; plant secondary metabolism and natural products; photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism in plants; applications in solar energy; plant growth regulation and the Green Revolution; plant responses to the environment; developing abiotic stress tolerant and disease resistant plants. Practicals: Basic laboratory skills in plant physiology; techniques used to investigate nitrogen metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, pigment analysis, water transport in plant tissue and response of plants to hormone treatments. 

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  • Module content:

    A multidisciplinary look at notions of representation and perception as they pertain to the tourism sector.

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  • Module content:

    An analysis of tourism’s history and development theories, focussing on community-based tourism (CBT) and pro-poor tourism (PPT). 

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  • Module content:

    In this module students are equipped with an understanding of the moral issues influencing human agency in economic and political contexts. In particular philosophy equips students with analytical reasoning skills necessary to understand and solve complex moral problems related to economic and political decision making. We demonstrate to students how the most important questions concerning the socio-economic aspects of our lives can be broken down and illuminated through reasoned debate. Examples of themes which may be covered in the module include justice and the common good, a moral consideration of the nature and role of economic markets on society, issues concerning justice and equality, and dilemmas of loyalty. The works of philosophers covered may for instance include that of Aristotle, Locke, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Rawls, Friedman, Nozick, Bernstein, Dworkin, Sandel, Walzer, MacIntyre, Bujo, Wiredu, and Gyekye.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and development of soil, weathering and soil formation processes. Profile differentiation and morphology. Physical characteristics: texture, structure, soil water, atmosphere and temperature. Chemical characteristics: clay minerals, ion exchange, pH, buffer action, soil acidification and salinisation of soil. Soil fertility and fertilisation. Soil classification. Practical work: Laboratory evaluation of simple soil characteristics. Field practicals on soil formation in the Pretoria area.

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  • Module content:

    Database design: the relational model, structured query language (SQL), entity relationship modelling, normalisation, database development life cycle; practical introduction to database design. Databases: advanced entity relationship modelling and normalisation, object-oriented databases, database development life cycle, advanced practical database design.

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  • Module content:

    An overview of systems infrastructure and integration.

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  • Module content:

    Database management: transaction management, concurrent processes, recovery, database administration: new developments: distributed databases, client-server databases: practical implementation of databases.

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  • Module content:

    Growth, replication and survival of bacteria, Energy sources, harvesting from light versus oxidation, regulation of catabolic pathways, chemotaxis. Nitrogen metabolism, iron-scavenging. Alternative electron acceptors: denitrification, sulphate reduction, methanogenesis.  Bacterial evolution, systematic and genomics. Biodiversity; bacteria occurring in the natural environment (soil, water and air), associated with humans, animals, plants, and those of importance in foods and in the water industry.

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  • Module content:

    Organisation and molecular architecture of fungal thalli, chemistry of the fungal cell. Chemical and physiological requirements for growth and nutrient acquisition. Mating and meiosis; spore development; spore dormancy, dispersal and germination. Fungi as saprobes in soil, air, plant, aquatic and marine ecosystems; role of fungi as decomposers and in the deterioration of materials; fungi as predators and parasites; mycoses, mycetisms and mycotoxicoses; fungi as symbionts of plants, insects and animals. Applications of fungi in biotechnology.

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  • Module content:

    Development and importance of crop protection. Basic principles in crop protection i.e. epidemic development of disease and insect pest populations, ecology of plant diseases and abiotic factors that affect plant health i.e. environmental pollution and pesticides, nutrient deficiencies and extreme environmental conditions. Ecological aspects of plant diseases, pest outbreaks and weed invasion. Important agricultural pests and weeds, globally as well as in African context. Life cycles of typical disease causing organisms. Basic principles of integrated pest and disease management. The importance of crop protection in the context of sustainable development will be highlighted.

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  • Module content:

    Influence of climate on cropping systems in South Africa. The surface energy balance. Hydrological cycles and the soil water balance. Sustainable crop production. Simple radiation and water limited models. Potential yield, target yield and maximum economic yield. Crop nutrition and fertiliser management. Principles of soil cultivation and conservation. Climate change and crop production – mitigation and adaptation.

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  • Module content:

    Adjustment and use of following instruments: Plane table, level, compass and theodolite. Elementary site surveying and leveling, tachometry. Definition of survey. Co-ordinate systems and bearing. Connections and polars. Methods of determining points. Elevation. Tachometry.

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  • Module content:

    Meteorological data acquisition. Manipulation of multidimensional meteorological data sets. Spatial representation and interpretation of weather data. Application and interpretation of dynamic equations.

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  • Module content:

    Basic thermodynamic laws for dry and humid air. The equation of state. Adiabatic processes and temperature lapse rates. The Clausius-Clapeyron equation. Cloud microphysics. The physical basis of climate change.

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  • Module content:

    Mathematical methods for meteorology, second law of motion in spherical coordinates. Acceleration in rotating co-ordinates, fundamental forces, momentum equation. Three dimensional flow balance, conservation of mass, heat equation, thermodynamic energy equation. Introduction to finite difference methods. Numerical estimation of the geostrophic wind, vorticity and divergence. Advection of temperature. Development of a two-dimensional temperature advection model.

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  • Module content:

    Display formats of remote sensed data, projections and color schemes. Active and passive sensing systems, quantitative and qualitative data, atmospheric and surface data observation. Characteristics of geostationary and low-earth orbiting satellites. Common channels available from meteorological satellite sensors, combination of channels and RGB images. Observation of synoptic and mesoscale weather systems, natural hazards and clouds.

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  • Module content:

    This is an introduction to linear algebra on Rn. Matrices and linear equations, linear combinations and spans, linear independence, subspaces, basis and dimension, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, similarity and diagonalisation of matrices, linear transformations.

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  • Module content:

    Calculus of multivariable functions, directional derivatives. Extrema and Lagrange multipliers. Multiple integrals, polar, cylindrical and spherical coordinates.

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  • Module content:

    *This module is recommended as an elective only for students who intend to enrol for WTW 310 and/or WTW 320. Students will not be credited for more than one of the following modules for their degree: WTW 220 and WTW 224.

    Properties of real numbers. Analysis of sequences and series of real numbers. Power series and theorems of convergence. The Bolzano-Weierstrass theorem. The intermediate value theorem and analysis of real-valued functions on an interval. The Riemann integral: Existence and properties of the interval.

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  • Module content:

    Abstract vector spaces, change of basis, matrix representation of linear transformations, orthogonality, diagonalisability of symmetric matrices, some applications.

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  • Module content:

    Vectors and geometry. Calculus of vector functions with applications to differential geometry, kinematics and dynamics. Vector analysis, including vector fields, line integrals of scalar and vector fields, conservative vector fields, surfaces and surface integrals, the Theorems of Green, Gauss and Stokes with applications.

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  • Module content:

    Setting up and solving recurrence relations. Equivalence and partial order relations. Graphs: paths, cycles, trees, isomorphism. Graph algorithms: Kruskal, Prim, Fleury. Finite state automata.

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  • Module content:

    *Students will not be credited for more than one of the modules for their degree: WTW 264, WTW 286
    Theory and solution methods for ordinary differential equations and initial value problems: separable and linear first-order equations, linear equations of higher order, systems of linear equations. Application to mathematical models.  Numerical methods applied to nonlinear systems.Qualitative analysis of linear systems.

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  • Module content:

    Origin and extent of modern invertebrate diversity; parasites of man and domestic animals; biology and medical importance of arachnids and insects; insect life styles; the influence of the environment on insect life histories; insect herbivory; predation and parasitism; insect chemical, visual, and auditory communication. Examples used in the module are relevant to the sustainable development goals of Life on Land and Good Health and Well-being.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to general vertebrate diversity; African vertebrate diversity; vertebrate structure and function; vertebrate evolution; vertebrate relationships; aquatic vertebrates; terrestrial ectotherms; terrestrial endotherms; vertebrate characteristics; classification; structural adaptations; habits; habitats; conservation problems; impact of humans on other vertebrates. The module addresses the sustainable development goals of Life below Water and Life on Land.

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Minimum credits: 136

Core = 76 
Elective = 60 

Additional information 
Students must choose one of the two geoinformatics modules, GIS 310 or GMA 320, as a core module, except students on the geoinformatics second major who have to complete both modules.

Continue with electives pertaining to the second major chosen in the first and second years of study.

  • Geoinformatics as a second major: GIS 320 (S1, 22), GMC 310 (S1, 22), GMA 320 (S2, 22) [44 + 22 = 66] 
  • Plant Science as a second major: BOT 356 (S1, 18), BOT 358 (S1 18), BOT 365 (S2, 18), BOT 366 (S2, 18) [36 + 36 = 72] 
  • Soil Science as a second major: BOT 358 (S1, 18), GKD 350 (S1, 14), GKD 320 (S2, 14), BOT 366 (S2, 18), [32 + 32 = 64] 
  • Ecology as a second major: BOT 358 (S1, 18), ZEN 351 (Q1,18), ZEN 364 (Q2, 18), ZEN 353 (Q4, 18) or ZEN 363 (Q4, 18) [36 + 36 = 72]
  • Meteorology as second major: WKD 352, WKD 361, WKD 315, WKD 316 (72 credits)

Possibilities for second majors in Social Sciences (two options) 

  • Anthropology as a second major: APL 310 (S1, 30), APL 320 (S2, 30) [30 + 30 = 60] 
  • Heritage and Cultural Tourism as a second major: EFK 310 (S1, 30), EFK 320 (S2, 30) [30 + 30 = 60]

Core modules

  • Module content:

    The module serves as an introduction to human-environment relations, on contemporary environmental issues in Africa. 
    The module begins with different theories and schools of thought in human-environment relations, followed by recent and future impacts of human pressures on natural resources, the state of the environment in South Africa, management of critical resources, population trends, biodiversity loss, pollution, water scarcity, desertification, climate change, waste accumulation and management, environmental management tools, environmental education and environmental management legislation. A key focus here is future scenarios for the African continent in terms of SDGs and Aichi targets; given current and projected driving forces.

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  • Module content:

    Classic economic development theories and frameworks. Spatial development history and legacy in South Africa. Rural and agricultural reconstruction. Land reform. Urban development and strategy. Urban spatial reconstruction. National spatial development frameworks. Integration of environmental, economic, and social components of sustainable development, including challenges, actors and actions in sustainable development.

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  • Module content:

    *Note: The module is available for BSc (Geography) and BSc (Environmental Sciences) students only. The theory content of this module is the same as GGY 363 and students are not allowed to earn credits for both GGY 361 and GGY 363.


    Interactions of geomorphic processes within the physical and built environments; themes such as geomorphology and environmental change, slope processes and the environment, geomorphic risks and hazards, soil erosion and conservation, geomorphology in environmental management, applied weathering. Practicals involve fieldwork including sampling and mapping and subsequent laboratory analysis.

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  • Module content:

    Advanced theory and practice of Geographic Information Systems; GIS applications; design and implementation of GIS applications. A project or assignments of at least 64 notional hours. Diverse South African examples will be used to expose the students to various data sources, geospatial analyses, and data representation to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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  • Module content:

    This module aims to provide students with a working knowledge and skills to learn methods and techniques for collecting, processing and analysing remotely sensed data. Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on image processing, image analysis, image classification, remote sensing and applications of remote sensing in geographical analysis and environmental monitoring. The module is composed of lectures, readings, practical exercises research tasks and a project or assignments of at least 64 notional hours. In particular, the practical exercises and research tasks incorporate South African examples using satellite remotely-sensed data, as well as field spectral data measurements, to promote understanding of the state of land cover and land use types (e.g. spanning agricultural resources, water resources, urbanization) and how changes over time could impact on the changing climate in accordance with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    This module considers the colonial histories of anthropology in Africa and their impact on traditions of knowledge production in the discipline to propose a decolonised anthropology. It does so by critically reflecting on old and contemporary ethnographies from and about the African continent and pays particular attention to ethnographic methods, politics of representation, reflexivity, power and identity as pertinent questions to establish a decolonised anthropology. Students in this module are encouraged to imagine a decolonised anthropology in and for Africa. 

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  • Module content:

    Fieldwork, ethnography and theory
    This module reviews themes such as conducting fieldwork, writing ethnography and developing theory in anthropology.  The module allows the opportunity to gain experience with ethnographic field methods in order to develop insight into the implications of methodological choices and their relationship to research questions and settings.

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  • Module content:

    Introduction to plant ecophysiology and plants response to environmental stress. Understanding how various biotic and abiotic factors affect plant metabolic processes, including photosynthesis and respiration. Emphasis is placed on the efficiency of the mechanisms whereby C3-, C4 and CAM-plants bind CO2 and how they are impacted by the environment. To understand the functioning of plants in diverse environments, the relevant structural properties of plants, the impact of soil composition, water flow in the soil-plant air continuum and long distance transport of assimilates will be discussed. Students will research a topic relevant to plant ecophysiology and present this in the form of an oral presentation. Students will conduct a practical project to study the effects of environmental factors on C3 and C4 plant growth and physiology. Students will present the report in a written format according to the guidelines of a relevant scientific journal. Relevant readings will be used to highlight the alignment of the module with the Sustainable Development Goals, with emphasis placed on climate action.

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  • Module content:

     Theory of plant community concepts, floristic and structural composition, plant diversity, ecological succession, landscape ecology. Data processing techniques. Species interactions and an evaluation of their effects on interacting species. Fundamentals of plant population biology: life tables; plant breeding systems and pollination; population dynamics; life history strategies; intraspecific competition; interspecific competition and co-existence.

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  • Module content:

    The module will include a review on the discovery and use of plant medicines and phyto-therapeutically important molecules obtained from plants. Certain aspects of natural product chemistry i.e. the biosynthesis, ecological role and toxicity of the three main classes of secondary compounds; terpenoids, phenolics, and alkaloids are discussed. An introduction to the principles and applications of metabolomics is presented. The role of these natural products in defense against microorganisms and herbivores is reviewed during the module. The importance of ethnobotany and phylogenetics in modern drug discovery from biodiversity will presented along with legal and ethical considerations surrounding bioprospecting. This will follow on with modern theories and practices regarding sustainable utilisation and conservation of medicinal plants. The basics of alternative medicines, with an emphasis on traditional African and Chinese medicines, are also discussed as well as current evidence-based research and product development derived from these. Biotechnological approaches to medicinal natural product production, ‘farmer to pharma’, will be covered, including plant cell culture and bioreactors. Practical sessions on drug discovery approaches using chromatographic techniques for phytochemical analysis of secondary metabolites such as tannins, alkaloids, and saponins are conducted. Bioassays on micro-organisms are also done during the practical sessions in order to develop the skills for the potential discovery of new antibiotics.

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  • Module content:

    Basic principles and methods of plant classification. Sources of plant variation. Modern methods to ascertain evolutionary relationships among plants. The extent and significance of vascular plant diversity. General structural and biological characteristics of evolutionary and ecologically important plant groups. Botanical nomenclature. Plant identification in practice; identification methods, keys, herbaria and botanical gardens. Diagnostic characters for the field identification of trees, wild flowers and grasses. Family recognition of southern African plants. Available literature for plant identification. Methods to conduct floristic surveys. Nature and significance of voucher specimens.

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  • Module content:

    An evaluation of South African cultural activities and heritage sites, with a specific focus on tourism in practice.

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  • Module content:

    A selection of themes in tourism innovation, research and industry.

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  • Module content:

    Advanced theory and practice of Geographic Information Systems; GIS applications; design and implementation of GIS applications. A project or assignments of at least 64 notional hours. Diverse South African examples will be used to expose the students to various data sources, geospatial analyses, and data representation to support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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  • Module content:

    Construction of Raster Geovisualisations, spatial model construction and use, multi-criteria decision analysis. Factor analysis: Principle component analysis. Geostatistics: Spatial dependence modelling, ordinary kriging. Markov chains and cellular Automata, combined models. Examples using data from South Africa are implemented. A project or assignment of at least 64 notional hours.

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  • Module content:

    The more exact chemistry of soils systematically explained by understanding the particular chemical principles. Charge origin. Chemical equilibriums. Manifestations of sorption. Ion exchange. Acidic soils, saline soils and the organic fraction of soil. The chemistry of the important plant nutrient elements P, K and N is explained.

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  • Module content:

    A taxonomic system for South Africa. USDA’s Soil Taxonomy. Land suitability evaluation. Optimal resource utilization. The conservation component. Ecological aspects. Ecotype, land types. Soil maps. Practical work: Field practicals and compulsory excursion. Identification of soil horizons, forms and families. Land suitability evaluation. Elementary mapping exercise.

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  • Module content:

    This module aims to provide students with a working knowledge and skills to learn methods and techniques for collecting, processing and analysing remotely sensed data. Throughout the module, emphasis will be placed on image processing, image analysis, image classification, remote sensing and applications of remote sensing in geographical analysis and environmental monitoring. The module is composed of lectures, readings, practical exercises research tasks and a project or assignments of at least 64 notional hours. In particular, the practical exercises and research tasks incorporate South African examples using satellite remotely-sensed data, as well as field spectral data measurements, to promote understanding of the state of land cover and land use types (e.g. spanning agricultural resources, water resources, urbanization) and how changes over time could impact on the changing climate in accordance with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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  • Module content:

    Spherical trigonometry. Geometrical Geodesy: Datum surfaces and coordinate systems in Geodesy, Calculations on the ellipsoid, Datum transformations. Map projections: Projection principles, distortion determination, construction of conformal, equivalent and equidistant projections, the Transverse Mercator projection and UTM projection of an ellipsoidal earth, projection transformations. Space Geodesy: Time systems, Celestial and observer coordinate systems, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), Satellite orbits and orbital parameters, 3¬ D positioning. A project or assignments of at least 64 notional hours. Examples using data from South Africa are implemented.

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  • Module content:

    Mean state, major patterns of atmospheric variability in the mid-latitudes and polar regions. Air masses. Synoptic scale cold, warm, occluded and quasistationary fronts, frontogenesis. Mid-latitude depressions, Norwegian cyclone model, conveyor belts. Basic cyclone model, Shapiro-Keyser model hybrid models, cyclogenesis. Polar weather systems; katabatic winds, barrier winds, cold-air damming, polar lows. Jet stream and jet streaks. Extreme weather and impacts. Conceptual models.

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  • Module content:

    Mean state, major patterns of atmospheric variability in the tropics. Tropical weather systems and their temporal variability, inter tropical convergence zone, tropical waves, trade inversions, trade winds, tropical and sub-tropical jet streams, cloud clusters, tropical depressions, Africánes, sub-tropical ridges, upper-level anticyclones. Tropical cyclones and warnings. Analysis techniques. Tropical waves, Kelvin waves, equatorial Rossby waves and Madden Julian Oscillation. Physical and dynamical process in monsoon circulation. Hazardous weather. Conceptual models and case studies.

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  • Module content:

    Scale analyses and simplification of the basic equations. The geostrophic, thermal and gradient wind. The vorticity equation and divergence. Potential vorticity. Vertical motion and surface pressure tendency. Vorticity in barotropic fluids. Vorticity and divergence fields in a present and future climate

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  • Module content:

    Tendency and Omega equations. Model of a boroclinic system. Introduction to numerical models. Application in meteorological display and analysis software.Ascending and subsiding motion in a present and future climate.

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  • Module content:

    Scientific approach to ecology; evolution and ecology; the individual and its environment; population characteristics and demography; competition; predation; plant-herbivore interactions; regulation of populations; population manipulation, human population. Examples throughout the module are relevant to the sustainable development goals of Life on Land and Good Health and Well-being.

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  • Module content:

    The scientific approach; characteristics of the community; the community as a superorganism; community changes; competition as a factor determining community structure; disturbance as a determinant of community structure; community stability; macroecological environmental gradients and communities. A field trip will be conducted during the September vacation to the Sani Pass region of the Maloti- Drakensberg Mountains. The module addresses the sustainable development goals Good Health and Well-being, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Climate Action and Life on Land.

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  • Module content:

    The history of behavioural ecology. A causal, developmental, evolutionary and adaptive approach. Sensory systems and communication. Sexual selection, mate choice and sperm competition. Kin selection and group living. Special reference to social insects. The behavioural ecology of humans. Phylogenetic basis of behavioural analysis. The role of behavioural ecology in conservation planning. The module covers sustainable development goals 1-10 and 12-15.

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  • Module content:

    This module is intended to provide students with the skills and knowledge that are essential for the conservation of biodiversity. The module focuses on conservation theory and practice (e.g. endangered species, habitat loss, overexploitation, climate change), and has a practical component. In addition, students will generate a multi-media project designed to inform the general public about a key conservation issue.Over the course of the module, students will be exposed to a number of issues that link directly to sustainable development goals Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water & Life on Land, and gain valuable theoretical and practical experience in the field of conservation biology. 

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The regulations and rules for the degrees published here are subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information.

The General Academic Regulations (G Regulations) and General Student Rules apply to all faculties and registered students of the University, as well as all prospective students who have accepted an offer of a place at the University of Pretoria. On registering for a programme, the student bears the responsibility of ensuring that they familiarise themselves with the General Academic Regulations applicable to their registration, as well as the relevant faculty-specific and programme-specific regulations and information as stipulated in the relevant yearbook. Ignorance concerning these regulations will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression, or basis for an exception to any of the aforementioned regulations.

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