Yearbooks

Programme: MPhil Environmental Law (Coursework)

Code Faculty Duration Credits Download
04251008 Faculty of Law Duration of study: 2 years Total credits: 200
Contact:
Ms MJ Murcott
[email protected]

Programme information

Closing date for applications: SA applicants and non-SA applicants – 30 November.

This programme is available for international students.

Unless stated otherwise, the curriculum will generally consist of:

  • Three modules counting 30 credits each (at least one of these modules must be completed during the first year of registration).
  • A module in research methodology (RHP 801) counting 5 credits (this module must be completed during the first year of registration).
  • A research proposal (RHP 803) counting 5 credits. The student must submit the research proposal (RHP 803) to the supervisor not later than the end of the first semester of the second year of registration for the LLM degree, prior to commencing with the writing of the mini-dissertation. This period may be extended with the approval of the head of department.
  • A mini-dissertation is required. The examination copy of the mini-dissertation must be submitted to the Student Administration not later than the end of October for the Autumn Graduation Ceremony and the end of April for the Spring Graduation Ceremony and end of August for the December ceremony. After approval of the examination copy of the mini-dissertation, a final version must be submitted to Student Administration on or before 15 February for the Autumn Graduation Ceremony and 15 July for the Spring Graduation Ceremony and 15 November for the December graduation ceremony. This mini-dissertation must deal with the subject content of one of the modules or a combination of the modules registered for by the student for his/her LLM degree. Any request for an extension of the period for submission of the mini-dissertation may only be granted by the Postgraduate Committee on recommendation of the head of department.
  • Also consult General Regulations G.30-G.56 as well as the LLM Policy Document of the Faculty.
The duration of the programme will in general be four semesters (2 years) but may be completed within two semesters (1 year) where possible, subject to fulfilment of all the requirements for the degree and payment of the full amount prescribed for the MPhil degree. Programmes may also be structured to allow for one year of study only. The one- or two-year period may only be extended by the Postgraduate Committee on recommendation of the Head of Department based on good reason shown and if it is clear that the student will be able to complete the programme in a further year of study.

Admission requirements

At least an honours degree in an academic discipline relevant to legal aspects in South Africa or Africa as well as to the contents of the specific MPhil (coursework) programme,

OR

any other qualification in an academic discipline relevant to legal aspects in South Africa or Africa as well as to the contents of the specific MPhil (coursework) programme that allows admission to a master’s programme at the institution where the undergraduate qualification was obtained. If the duration of that qualification is less than four years, substantial proven practical or professional experience in legal aspects in South Africa or Africa will furthermore be required, subject to the discretion of the Dean.

Please contact the Faculty with regard to specific requirements pertaining to the MPhil degree programmes.

Additional requirements

Please contact the Faculty with regard to specific requirements pertaining to the MPhil degree programmes.

Other programme-specific information

The mini-dissertation must comprise 13 000-15 000 words – including footnotes but excluding the list of contents and the bibliography.

One of a specified list of modules may be substituted with any other LLM coursework module as recommended by the programme coordinator and approved by the head of department.

Examinations and pass requirements

In the event of having failed all modules during a particular year of study, a student will only be allowed to continue with his/her studies with the consent of the Postgraduate Committee. Although no supplementary examination will be granted with regard to LLM and MPhil modules, the General Regulations (Regulation G.12.3 and G.12.6) apply with regard to special and ancillary examinations.

Research information

The relevant head of department must recommend a supervisor and title for a mini-dissertation and these must be approved by the Postgraduate Committee. The mini-dissertation must be assessed and finalised as set out in the Faculty Board-approved LLM Policy Document of the Faculty. Mini-dissertations, where required, must be submitted in the format determined by the supervisor and approved by the Postgraduate Committee. The supervisor may likewise and subject to the approval of the Postgraduate Committee also determine the research topic and the scope of the proposed research.

Pass with distinction

For the degree to be awarded with distinction a student must obtain an average of at least 75% for all the coursework modules, as well as a minimum of 75% for the mini-dissertation. The modules must have been written for the first time.

General information

Language policy
The medium of instruction will be English. However, should circumstances allow it, an MPhil module may be presented in Afrikaans. The Dean, in consultation with the relevant head of department, determines the language policy.

Period of registration
At the commencement of a particular module students must be registered for that module and attend the lectures. Alternatively, the permission of the programme coordinator or head of the department should be obtained before a student may be allowed to follow a specific module in a another year of study.

Limiting of modules on offer in a particular academic year and availability to foreign students
The Dean determines which modules will be presented each year, taking into consideration the availability of lecturing personnel, space and financial implications and/or other circumstances. The Dean may, on recommendation of the relevant head of department, determine the maximum number of registrations for a specific elective module in terms of the guidelines referred to in paragraph (a). The Dean may also, on recommendation of the relevant head of department, determine that a particular LLM or MPhil module will not be offered where on the first day of lectures four or fewer students are registered for such module.

In the case of foreign students additional requirements may be set by the Dean and the modules available to such students may also be limited.

Replacement of modules
The Dean may on recommendation of the relevant Head of Department allow a student to replace one prescribed /MPhil module for a particular LLM/MPhil programme with another LLM/MPhil module where such an exception is not otherwise permitted, on condition that good cause is shown why such an exception is required.

Credit for modules completed at another institution
The Dean may, on the recommendation of the relevant head of department, credit a student for a maximum of two modules completed at another institution on condition that it complies with the requirements of this Faculty. Where such modules do not bear the same titles as modules offered at this Faculty, modules with substantially the same content as determined by the relevant head of department may be granted credit in their place, or where, in the absence of such closely related modules, modules that are still relevant within the broad ambit of a specific MPhil degree may be granted credit under special codes for the purposes of such a degree. Additional requirements may also be set before any such module will be granted credit in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of this Faculty.

Credit for another degree
Note that with regard to the above paragraphs, credit will not be given for modules which form part of another degree where the student has already complied with the requirements of such a degree. This rule is also applicable in instances where the student is currently also registered for another degree.

Re-registration for modules
A student may not register more than twice for the same module. In order to pass a module the student must obtain a final mark of 50%.

Minimum credits: 100

Core modules

  • Module content:

    This module involves advanced study of the following: (a) Key concepts and principles of environmental law in the context of a South African constitutional dispensation Nature and scope of environmental law (b) South African environmental framework legislation and policy concerned with environmental governance, compliance and enforcement, including in relation to integrated environmental management and environmental impact assessments, the protection of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, waste management, pollution control, mining and energy, water management, land use and planning and climate change

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  • Module content:

    Strategic environmental planning: introduction, objectives and principles; levels; South African overview; guidelines: national and international; strategy and management; structure, strategy and agency; South African guidelines; diagnostic tools; RESP analysis; strategic resource planning; applications, implementation and control; development and policy implementation; South African environmental policy; evaluation frameworks; portfolio analysis; competitive forces; alliances; business benefits; intangibles, survival and catalytic contributions; South African legislation and regulations.

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  • Module content:

    (a) Planning and organising a research project
    (b) Drafting a research proposal: Hypotheses and research question
    (c) Theory in research and methodological approaches to legal research
    (d) Language
    (e) Citation and ethics of citation
    (f) Drafting of chapters and presentation

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  • Module content:

    Legislation for sustainable development within the framework of international agreements, the different acts affecting water quality and water use, the SEMAs within the NEMA framework, the NEMA EIA regulations, legislation pertaining to hazardous substances, interaction between mining development and NEMA, energy law, strategic environmental legislation, marine and coastal management.

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Minimum credits: 200

Core modules

  • Module content:

    An advanced study of a selection of topics in the administrative law

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  • Module content:

    This module involves advanced study of the following: (a) Key concepts and principles of environmental law in the context of a South African constitutional dispensation Nature and scope of environmental law (b) South African environmental framework legislation and policy concerned with environmental governance, compliance and enforcement, including in relation to integrated environmental management and environmental impact assessments, the protection of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, waste management, pollution control, mining and energy, water management, land use and planning and climate change

    View more

  • Module content:

    Strategic environmental planning: introduction, objectives and principles; levels; South African overview; guidelines: national and international; strategy and management; structure, strategy and agency; South African guidelines; diagnostic tools; RESP analysis; strategic resource planning; applications, implementation and control; development and policy implementation; South African environmental policy; evaluation frameworks; portfolio analysis; competitive forces; alliances; business benefits; intangibles, survival and catalytic contributions; South African legislation and regulations.

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  • Module content:

    (a) The student must submit a research proposal during his/her first year of registration for the LLM degree to the supervisor prior to commencing with the writing of the mini-dissertation.
    (b) A mini-dissertation (MND 800) of 13 000 to 15 000 words inclusive of footnotes but excluding the list of contents and the bibliography, is required. The mini-dissertation must be submitted to the supervisor not later than August of the second year of registration for the LLM programme. The mini-dissertation must deal with the subject content of one of the modules or a combination of the modules registered for by the student for his/her LLM degree. Any request for an extension of the period for submission of the mini-dissertation may only be granted by the Dean on recommendation of the LLM Committee

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  • Module content:

    An analysis of the theory and practice of constitutional socio-economic rights in South Africa, with a specific focus on litigation and legal activism in this respect.

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  • Module content:

    Development and presentation of a research proposal. (A research proposal must be submitted to the supervisor and accepted in the first semester of the second year of study before the student will be allowed to register for the mini-dissertation.)

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  • Module content:

    Legislation for sustainable development within the framework of international agreements, the different acts affecting water quality and water use, the SEMAs within the NEMA framework, the NEMA EIA regulations, legislation pertaining to hazardous substances, interaction between mining development and NEMA, energy law, strategic environmental legislation, marine and coastal management.

    View more


The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of each student to familiarise himself or herself well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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