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Programme: MSc Environment and Society (Coursework)

02250403
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Minimum duration of study: 2 years
Total credits: 180

Programme information

The Centre for Environmental Studies is a graduate school for multidisciplinary training and research focusing on the environment. Training aims to satisfy the need for environmental professionals for implementing current environmental legislation as well as industry-driven environmental management systems.

The programme is coordinated by the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology.

The purpose of this focus area is to train environmental graduates who specialised in careers in the humanities. On completion of the training, candidates should be conversant and be able to partake in, or render advice concerning, all aspects involved in the management of human-environment interactions. This includes social impact assessments, policy formulation, social development and planning, participatory appraisal assessments, demographic pattern and trend interpretations, resource appraisals and management.

The MSc degree is conferred on the grounds of a dissertation and such additional postgraduate coursework as may be prescribed.

Renewal of registration
As long as progress is satisfactory, renewal of the registration of a master’s student will be accepted for the second year of the study. Registration for a third and subsequent years will only take place when the Student Administration of the Faculty receives a written motivation that is supported by the head of department and Postgraduate Studies Committee.

General
Candidates are required to familiarise themselves with the General Regulations regarding the maximum period of registration and the requirements on the submission of a draft article for publication.

Admission requirements

  • Before application for admission to the MSc (Environment and Society) degree programme candidates must be in possession of a four-year degree qualification BScHons or equivalent degree status which includes appropriate subjects in the humanities geography or planning. Final admission is subject to the approval of the Director of the Centre and the Head of the Department of Geography Geoinformatics and Meteorology.
  • Admission is additionally dependent on availability of supervisor/s and/or projects within the department.

Additional requirements

Candidates must demonstrate proficiency in the English language up to the level required by either the TOEFL test (www.ets.org/toefl) or the IELTS language proficiency test (www.ielts.org).

Other programme-specific information

At least one additional elective module must be selected in consultation with the Director of the Centre and the Head of the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology. Options will be based on the academic background and/or anticipated career of the candidate.

Promotion to next study year

The progress of all master's candidates is monitored biannually by the supervisor and the postgraduate coordinator. A candidate's study may be terminated if the progress is unsatisfactory or if the candidate is unable to finish his/her studies during the prescribed period.

Subject to exceptions approved by the dean, on recommendation of the head of department, and where applicable, a student may not enter for the master's examination in the same module more than twice.

Pass with distinction

The MSc degree is conferred with distinction to candidates who obtain a final average mark of at least 75% and a mark of at least 75% for the dissertation/mini-dissertation from each of the members of the examination panel. Where a member of the examination panel awards a mark of less than 75% for the dissertation/mini-dissertation, that member of the examination panel must offer, in writing, support for his/her decision, or indicate in writing that he/she supports the examination committee's decision to confer the degree with distinction.

Minimum credits: 180

Programme information:

Minimum credits:  180

Core credits:        150

Elective credits:     30

Core modules

ENS 811 Environment and development 811 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The foundation of the module is the interrelations between societal and environmental dynamics. It deals with issues of social structure, culture, politics, education, migration, production, urbanisation, demographics and social institutions and how these impact upon the environment. Also dealt with is how the consequences of impacts, such as environmental change, in turn affect societies. Analysis of complex interrelationships between society and the environment, social-environmental linkages and multiplier effects are dealt with.

ENS 822 Strategic environmental management 822 Credits: 15.00

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.

ENS 823 Environment and land reform 823 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The need and purpose of land reform in South Africa and its contribution towards sustainable social-environmental interaction. An overview of the global variety of land tenure systems, and tenure reform programmes in other countries. Overview of previous systems of land tenure in South Africa. Land reform policy in South Africa: restitution, redistribution, and tenure reform. Critical assessment of progress in terms of land reform objectives. Evaluation of the contribution of the South African land reform programme towards creating sustainable environments.

ENS 824 Social modelling and assessment 824 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

In this module students will be introduced to the various methods of modelling and assessing social impacts. Specific emphasis will be placed upon modelling societal-economic-environmental interactions, formulating stochastic and dynamic models of population-development-environment interactions, conducting research to determine possible impacts of environmental changes on communities and performing social impact surveys. Students will be introduced to both quantitative as well as qualitative methods of conducting social impacts assessments.

ENV 810 Environmental paradigms 810 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Environmental philosophy and ethics, environmental ecology, environment, society and development, environmental economics, environmental management, critical resources management: water utilisation, air quality control, land-use planning: soil characteristics, biodiversity planning, critical resource management: determinism vs co-evolutionary environmental frameworks, research methodology and practice.

ENV 816 Environmental law 816 Credits: 15.00

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.

ENV 891 Mini-dissertation 891 Credits: 90.00

Module content:

The student needs to conduct a research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff associated with the Centre for Environmental Studies. This project needs to be of a sufficient quality to be publishable in the open scientific literature. The research report is examined as a manuscript for a suitable journal.

OMS 881 Environmental change 881 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

This module involves the study of the causes and consequences of environmental change from multidisciplinary perspectives.  A focus of this course is human environmental interactions. Past processes leading to environmental change will also be discussed.  In a given period, the following will be investigated: principles of environmental change, causes and consequences of environmental change, Global warming and climate change: causes and impacts of climate change on natural resources; water, forests, biodiversity, land use and land cover change, environmental/Climate change and infectious disease, human dimensions of global change and Climate change political responses including the Kyoto protocol. Mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change and effects of Climate change on sustainable development.

Minimum credits: 180

Core modules

ENS 811 Environment and development 811 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The foundation of the module is the interrelations between societal and environmental dynamics. It deals with issues of social structure, culture, politics, education, migration, production, urbanisation, demographics and social institutions and how these impact upon the environment. Also dealt with is how the consequences of impacts, such as environmental change, in turn affect societies. Analysis of complex interrelationships between society and the environment, social-environmental linkages and multiplier effects are dealt with.

ENS 822 Strategic environmental management 822 Credits: 15.00

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.

ENS 823 Environment and land reform 823 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The need and purpose of land reform in South Africa and its contribution towards sustainable social-environmental interaction. An overview of the global variety of land tenure systems, and tenure reform programmes in other countries. Overview of previous systems of land tenure in South Africa. Land reform policy in South Africa: restitution, redistribution, and tenure reform. Critical assessment of progress in terms of land reform objectives. Evaluation of the contribution of the South African land reform programme towards creating sustainable environments.

ENS 824 Social modelling and assessment 824 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

In this module students will be introduced to the various methods of modelling and assessing social impacts. Specific emphasis will be placed upon modelling societal-economic-environmental interactions, formulating stochastic and dynamic models of population-development-environment interactions, conducting research to determine possible impacts of environmental changes on communities and performing social impact surveys. Students will be introduced to both quantitative as well as qualitative methods of conducting social impacts assessments.

ENV 810 Environmental paradigms 810 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Environmental philosophy and ethics, environmental ecology, environment, society and development, environmental economics, environmental management, critical resources management: water utilisation, air quality control, land-use planning: soil characteristics, biodiversity planning, critical resource management: determinism vs co-evolutionary environmental frameworks, research methodology and practice.

ENV 816 Environmental law 816 Credits: 15.00

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.

ENV 891 Mini-dissertation 891 Credits: 90.00

Module content:

The student needs to conduct a research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff associated with the Centre for Environmental Studies. This project needs to be of a sufficient quality to be publishable in the open scientific literature. The research report is examined as a manuscript for a suitable journal.

OMS 881 Environmental change 881 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

This module involves the study of the causes and consequences of environmental change from multidisciplinary perspectives.  A focus of this course is human environmental interactions. Past processes leading to environmental change will also be discussed.  In a given period, the following will be investigated: principles of environmental change, causes and consequences of environmental change, Global warming and climate change: causes and impacts of climate change on natural resources; water, forests, biodiversity, land use and land cover change, environmental/Climate change and infectious disease, human dimensions of global change and Climate change political responses including the Kyoto protocol. Mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change and effects of Climate change on sustainable development.