Environmental and Water Science - Honors Programme

Postgraduate Programmes - Honors Programmes


For the Honours degree in Environmental and Water Science a student must have a BSc degree in Environmental and Water Science with an average of at least 60% in the Compulsory Modules  in Environmental and Water Science at 3rd year level.  Students with a BSc degree in a related field can on recommendation of the Post-Graduate Committee of the Department and approval of Faculty also be admitted.  These students may however be required by the Department to obtain the necessary background by attending recommended third year modules in those fields where they have poor/no training.



The Honours programme consists of six Compulsory Modules  of 20 credits each of which one module is the research project or internship.  Each module runs for a term and the whole Honours programme for one year.



Code                                                                                                       Credits

EWS701    Environmental Impact Assessment 701                                       20

EWS702    Advanced Geographical Information Systems (GIS) 702                20

EWS703    Geohydrology 703                                                                     20

EWS704    Catchment Processes 704                                                         20

EWS705    Research Project 705                                                                20

ESC707     Environmental Law 707                                                              20



EWS701 Environmental Impact Assessment 701

The module provides first an overview of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedure. The module then deals with the scientific methods and tools applicable to each environmental component (aspect of the environment) in the multi-disciplinary EIA process. The environmental components are: Economic impact, Social impact, Noise, Transport, Landscape, Archaeological and cultural assets, Air quality and climate, Soils, geology and geomorphology, Water, Terrestrial ecology, Freshwater ecology, Coastal ecology and geomorphology. The applicability of shared methods (Environmental risk assessment, Remote sensing, Geographical Information System and Quality of life capital) is finally discussed through examples.

EWS702  Advanced Geographical Information Systems (GIS) 702

This module provides sound understanding of geographic information systems (GIS) including its basic principles, management and analysis of geographic data and application of basic GIS software in the context of the environmental and water resources development and management studies.  The lectures and practicals of this module cover current theory and techniques for acquiring, processing, analyzing and displaying spatial information.  Independent computer laboratory work will demonstrate the course material and provide hands-on experience with the most popular GIS software (ArcGIS 9x).  A basic understanding of computers and familiarity with the Microsoft Windows operating system is essential to follow this course.


EWS703 Geohydrology 703

This course provides comprehensive coverage of groundwater hydrology from theory to practice with applications to issues relating to groundwater supply, quality and resource management.


EWS704 Catchment Processes 704

This module introduces the student to a range of hydrological processes on catchment scale.  It covers topics such as infiltration, runoff, stream flow, flooding, evapotranspiration, interception, groundwater recharge and human impacts on catchment hydrology.  It further addresses both erosion and depositional processes on catchment and plot scale.  It looks at the factors that influence erosion, the quantification and prediction of erosion, the mapping of erosion features as well as the control of erosion and measures taken to conserve soil and water.


EWS705 Research Project 705

The student may choose a research project of his/her own choice within the expertise of the Department.  The Department may however limit the choice in cases where staff members are not available.  A student who wants to continue with a MSc immediately after the Honours degree, can after consultation with the Department, choose his/her research topic at the beginning of the Honours year in such a way that it can be continued as a full MSc thesis the following year.  In these cases, the MSc project proposal (which will include a full literature review, problem statement and methodology) will be regarded as equivalent to the Honours project.  Students who are employed or have internships may use a project they are working on to compile a report that in the opinion of the Department is of equivalent status to an Honours project.


ESC707 Environmental Law 707

This module introduces the student to the nature and scope of environmental law, the policy and law regulating environmental management and impact assessment and the substantive law governing the various component parts of the environment: air, land (including soil), water, living organisms (animals, humans, plants).  On completion students should have a good understanding of the legal definition of the environment and its meaning for environmental management in general, an introductory, yet applicable, knowledge of the law and policy pertaining to the environment and an adequate insight into, and understanding of, how policy is formed, translated into law, and implemented in South Africa.  They should further have a good knowledge of the role players in the context of environmental law in South Africa as well as the ability to identify environmental matters and problems that might be susceptible to regulation by law, and to have an idea of what law could or should be applicable.  Finally they should be able to properly brief a legal expert regarding any environmental aspect in order to enable him/her to find, and advise on, the applicable law in any given case.



Five papers of three hours each, moderated externally.  The research project is also moderated externally and must be submitted by 15 November.



The examination mark and coursework mark shall each contribute 50% of the final mark.

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