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College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

About the college   

Where you can find us
The college is situated at the Unisa Science Campus in Johannesburg. The Unisa Science Campus is destined to grow research capacity and support research activities in the fields of science, engineering and technology as well as agriculture and environmental sciences. With its leading edge laboratories facilities not generally associated with open and distance e-learning institutions our students will have a place to grow their minds and do what every scientist lives to do - put theory into practice.

How we work
The College has a simple structure, designed to make it easy for students to work with us. It consists of two Schools, as follows.

The School of Agriculture and Life Sciences, which has two departments:

  • The Department of Life and Consumer Sciences: Life Sciences focus on disciplines such as animal physiology, biochemistry, botany, biology, microbiology and zoology. The main focus of Consumer Sciences is on food, clothing and textiles, nutrition and hospitality.
  • The Department of Agriculture, Animal Health and Human Ecology: Here, the focus is on agricultural management, animal health, community agriculture and social development. This department also hosts the Unit for Indigenous Technological Knowledge Services.

The School of Environmental Sciences also has two departments.

  • The Department of Geography, which offers undergraduate degrees in environmental management and geography modules up to doctoral level.
  • The Department of Environmental Sciences, which focuses on nature conservation, horticulture and landscaping, and environmental monitoring and management.

Why you should join us
One of the College’s greatest strengths is the close working relationships we have in industry and government. This is a major benefit for our students because it means, first of all, that our qualifications have been specifically designed to meet the skills needs of employers. Another advantage is that these relationships create many opportunities for our students to gain practical or research experience by working on projects that we run with government or industry partners.

One example is the contract that our Horticultural department has with the United Cricket Board (UCB). Early in 2006, this College was appointed as the UCB’s official turf grass partner, meaning that we assist in maintaining and improving the turf grasses used at cricket grounds throughout the country. Incidentally, our horticultural students and staff have one many garden show awards, including the 2005 Chelsea Flower Show in London.

Another valuable partner is the Mpumalanga Parks Board, which works closely with the College’s Applied Behavioural Ecology and Ecosystem Research Unit. Through this partnership, the Unit has erected a permanent research site at the Loskop Dam Nature Reserve, where our students and staff conduct research in collaboration with the Mpumlanga Parks Board. The Unit also uses this site to do joint research with the Universities of Lancashire and the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

In addition, we have partnerships with Rand Water, the Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs, the Agricultural Research Council and North-West University.

A second major strength of this College is our rich range of programmes, which cover the full spectrum of the agricultural and environmental sciences.

Our programmes
This College is one of the few higher education providers in the agricultural and environmental sciences that offer technikon-type and university-type programmes under one roof. In Agriculture, for example, we offer a National Diploma and B.Tech in Agricultural Management as well as a generic B.Sc. (Agric). The same applies to virtually all the other disciplines offered.

There is also no ceiling on how far our students can go to improve their qualifications. In the Environmental Sciences, we offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees up to doctoral level. In Horticulture and Landscaping, our qualifications start with the national diploma and BTech degree and extend up to the M.Tech degree. In the Consumer Sciences, which focus on food, nutrition and hospitality, we have introduced a research masters, in addition to the existing Honours programme.

Another popular qualification is the courseware Masters in human ecology, which trains students in food security and indigenous technological knowledge systems. This is supported by unique undergraduate programmes in human ecology focusing on community agriculture, community nutrition and social development.

In a number of cases, the qualifications offered by this College are unique. As from 2007, we will be the only distance learning provider in the country to offer a B.Tech degree in Animal Health. This programme was approved in 2005 and, like all our existing Animal Health qualifications, will have the approval of the Veterinary Council.

How to contact us
For more information about the programmes offered by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, please contact CAESenquiries@unisa.ac.za.