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Geography

Honours

To be admitted to the Geography Honours a candidate must have a B degree with Geography as a major subject (Geography I, II, and III). Also consult Part 1 of the Calendar regarding admission requirements. Candidates who achieved an average of 60% or more in their Geography III modules may register for up to three modules per year. Candidates who obtained less than 60% or who passed Geography III ten or more years ago may register for only one module (ie the compulsory module) in their first year of registration. They must pass this module before they can register for other modules. Exceptions to the above can only be made with the approval of the Head of Department.

The Geography Honours curriculum comprises five papers taken over a two year period. The Geography Philosophy and Geographical Research (HGERESN) module is compulsory, must be taken in the first year of registration and must be passed within the first two years of registration. Students can choose any additional four modules, depending on their needs and preferences

A geography honours student must choose four papers from the following:

The Geographical Philosopht and Geographical Research (HGERESN) module is compulsory

A BA Honours student may replace one of the modules for his/her Honours degree (except for the compulsory module) with an honours module in another subject if the departmental heads concerned are of the opinion that the student has sufficient background knowledge to be able to study such a module and it is in the best interests of the student.

A BSc Honours student may replace two of the modules for his/her Honours degree (except for the compulsory module) with Honours modules in other subjects if the departmental heads concerned are of the opinion that the student has sufficient background knowledge to be able to study such modules and it is in the best interests of the student to do so.

Please contact Ms MD Nicolau for more information regarding the Honours degree in Geography.

Consult the Postgraduate study information brochure (obtainable from study-info@unisa.ac.za )  regarding the closing dates for registration, fees, documents which must accompany a student's application for admission, number of papers for which a student must register, re-registration, duration of study, etc.

The honours course has the following goals:

  1. The rounding off and termination of the undergraduate course, the transition to postgraduate work and a stimulus to embark upon advanced studies.
  2. The provision of the first firm steps towards specialised study in geography with a focus on Southern Africa.

Goal achievement

This degree has the potential to have an elevated academic and applied character, and to culminate not only in a degree of which one can be justifiably proud, but which also provides a specifically directed stepping stone to the Master's degree. However, this can only be achieved on condition that the student works in a disciplined and goal-directed manner with his/her shoulder set firmly to the wheel for at least two years.  

Content of geography honours modules

HGERESN: Geographical Philosophy and Geographical Research

  • Geography as an academic discipline
  • The development of geographic thought
  • Important contemporary subject philosophical approaches:
    • The positivist approach
    • The behavioural approach
    • The humanistic approach
    • The structural-realist approach
    • The Postmodern approach
  • Important research frameworks:
    • The positivist or "scientific" method
    • The humanist-hermeneutic method
    • Critical science methods
  • Preparing a research proposal 

    HGEINL5: Geographical information systems

      (For this paper a student will be expected to purchase a prescribed GIS (Geographical Information Systems) software package. Full detail (such as the name of the software package and the price) will be provided in the first tutorial letter for the module.  Prospective students can also contact the department for full details. Students should also own (or have access to) a personal computer and a printer, both which satisfy the hardware requirements listed below:
       Pentium-based PC (Pentium 4 or higher recommended) running either Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000 or NT
       Minimum display of 1024 x 768 with 64,000 colors
       Minimum of 256 MB RAM (512 or greater is however recommended)
       1 GB hard disk space
       CD-ROM drive for installation and a applicable mouse
       Colour printer (any graphics adapters and printer supported by the Windows system can be used).
      In addition, a student must possess basic computer skills, especially with regard to the current operating system).

    Content of paper

    • Nature of GIS (definitions, geographical concepts, spatial awareness, GIS as visualisation tool, functional elements, components)
    • GIS data structures (raster and vector)
    • GIS data acquisition (sources, quality and standards, the South African Spatial Infrastructure Act (54 of 2003)
    • Pre-processing (format conversion, data reduction and generalisation, error detection and editing, merging, edge matching, rectification and registration, interpolation)
    • GIS data management (basic principles, efficiency, conventional database management systems, spatial database management)
    • GIS data manipulation and analysis (stages of scientific inquiry, reclassification and aggregation, geometric operations, centroid determination, data structure conversion, spatial operations, measurement, statistical analysis, modelling)
    • Data output and data sharing (types of output, including web-based products, essentials of map design)
    • Remote sensing and GIS (historic overview, technology, image processing, interfacing remote sensing and GIS applications)
    • GIS implementation and application (application areas, needs assessment, project implementation and project management)
    • Current trends and the future of GIS
    • Practical exercises

    For further information contact Mr. AC Vlok 

    HGEDEVC: Economic and development geography

    • Nature and development of economic geography
    • Development and underdevelopment
    • Cumulative development in space
    • Spatial dimension of development on a global scale
    • Spatiotemporal dimension of economic development
    • Development strategy
    • Evolution of the South African spatial economy

    HGEURAA: Geographical perspectives of the city 

    • Geographical perspectives of cities in developed and developing countries
    • Housing problems, housing policies, residential mobility and neighbourhood change
    • The geography of urban traffic and transportation
    • The urban economy, retailing and employment in cities
    • Globalisation and urban change
    • Environmental and health problems in cities
    • Poverty and deprivation in cities 
    • Power and politics in cities
    • The future of cities spatial planning and management of cities on the city in the developing world .

    For further information contact Mrs GA Viljoen

    HGETORJ: The geography of tourism

    • Tourism as a geographical phenomenon
    • Factors influencing tourism
    • Spatiotemporal patterns of international tourism
    • Tourism maps and  destination images
    • Tourism resources in various environments
    • Tourism and economic development - a national and regional perspective
    • Sustainable tourism
    • Research methods
    • Theoretical aspects of the use of GIS in tourism

    For further information contact Mrs AE de Jager

    HGEHYDH: Hydrogeography

    • The hydrological cycle with emphasis on catchment areas as study unit of the land phase of this cycle.
    • The interaction between man and the hydrological cycle.
    • Floods and rainfall modification.
    • South African water resources with reference to the availability of and demand for water.
    • Human impact on water resources with emphasis on water pollution, the influence of land use on water yield in catchments and the conservation of South African rivers.
    • The management of water resources with special reference to South African water management strategies and policies.
    • Legislation and its implications for water supply,  sanitation, and water management

    For further information contact Mr DW Hedding

    HGECENW: Climate change, humans and environment

    • Overview of and perspective on the climate system and climatic change
    • Causes of climate change
    • Uncertainty about climate change
    • Scenarios of climate change
    • The role of climate modelling
    • Consequences and risks of climatic change
    • Reaction and decision-making

    For further information contact Mr RW Pretorius

    HGEMANP: Environmental evaluation and management

    • Environmental management: evolution, approaches, ethics, policies
    • Environmental management and sustainable development
    • Threats to and the management of natural resources: environmental issues
    • Environmental assessment: tools, techniques and methods
    • ;Environmental management: challenges (case studies) and systems (case studies).

    For further information contact Mrs R Coetzee