The Environmental Science Programme (ESP) of the University of Ghana has been running M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees since September 1998. The ESP aims to provide graduate education in the causes, effects and control of environmental problems. This is a multi-disciplinary and inter-faculty programme involving the Faculties of Science, which is the host Faculty, Agriculture, Law and Social Studies. The main objective of the programme is to produce scientists who are conversant with the social issues that pertain to environmental management and who have a range of skills that would equip them to function effectively as researchers or as managers.
The ESP has proved to be a very successful programme in terms of student interest, starting with 8 students in 1998, it currently admits over 30 students each year out of an applicant pool of over 100. The main reason cited by the students for their interest in the programme is its multi-disciplinary nature. The second reason most cited by the students is that they believe that the training that they receive under the programme will make them more attractive on the job market. The course provides them with many skills in several areas and they are thus more flexible than the traditional science post-graduate.
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Courses under Development
This new programme will be co-implemented with the Institute of Social Statistical and Economic Research (ISSER). The basic philosophy of this new programme is to combine elements of four key disciplines, Health, Natural and Social Sciences with Management The core competencies define the essential knowledge, skills and attributes of an effective sustainable development practitioner. Effective, comprehensive development work requires proficiency in several cross-disciplinary skill and knowledge areas.
These core competencies enable a sustainable development practitioner to analyze the cross-disciplinary nature of development issues; choose a course of action based on sound ability to diagnose the key drivers and the relevant obstacles of a situation, and the practical steps that can most directly affect outcomes; and effectively manage policies, programs and projects.
This programme will be co-implemented with the School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences is to address the lack of basic and inadequate sanitation for over 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population. Unsafe water supplies, inadequate disposal of human excreta and grey water (solid, liquid and gaseous), resulting in disease outbreaks such as cholera, diarrhoea diseases, typhoid, malaria, guinea worm, worms, poisons, etc, and subsequent death is an affront to human dignity. The poor sanitation conditions in our nation constitute a major hindrance to economic and social development and major impediment to reducing poverty.
This new and innovative Masters programme in Sanitation Sciences will contribute to human resource development for water, waste and disease management. It is anticipated that industry will demand a new MSc programme in Sanitation Sciences which will have options for water management, waste management and disease ecology and control. The course provides opportunities for research position and PhD programmes. It will provide students with essential skills and knowledge required to plan and implement sanitation projects and programmes in water, waste and disease ecology and control.
The course will ensure the training of professionals for research and development of appropriate technologies, management and financing systems, and development of methodologies for project impact assessment and relevant policy development. Additionally the course will ensure training of the professional manager for the development and application of sanitary measures for the control of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Global Environmental Change
Atmospheric conditions play a vital role in the maintenance of natural resources and sustenance of livelihood. The rich biodiversity of Africa is threatened by multiple pressures including fragmentation of habitat, land degradation, deforestation, and intrusion by invasive species and pollution. Climate change is adding to and interacting with these and other pressures to threaten sustainable livelihoods. Certain gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxides, and chlorofluorocarbons, are accumulating in the upper atmosphere at a faster rate than ever before. The overall goal of this multi-disciplinary and multi-faculty programme is to establish sustainable training to educate and produce mid-career environmentalists and practitioners in Africa to address the enormity of the implications of climate change to the environment and the changing risks to biodiversity conservation. This will be undertaken through a training which will seek to equip professionals with innovative knowledge, skills and values on issues on climate change in an integrated manner with other environmental issues in order to enhance understanding of current natural resource management issues.