Faculty of Natural Sciences

Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences

The Department is one of the most vibrant departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences offering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Biological and Environmental Sciences.  Its main focus areas include developmental biology, physiology, ecology, evolution, systematics, rural development, tourism and eco-tourism, climate change, Geographic Information Systems, Environmental Impact Assessment, conservation and management of natural resources and biodiversity particularly as it relates to the flora and fauna of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. 

The Department has a research hut about 150m from the sea in the Dwesa-Cwebe Nature Reserve (on the Wild Coast). Facilities are basic but it has running water, geyser, generator power, kitchen, shower and toilet, bench space and six beds.  The geyser, fridge and stove are run on gas (at the cost of the researcher).

Goals of the Department

The Department aims to:

  • Recruit, retain and graduate an academically well prepared and diverse student body ready to contribute to nation building.
  • Train students in biological and environmental sciences relevant to local issues and for careers elsewhere.
  • Give young people in the Eastern Cape the hope and opportunity of aspiring and realising their economic and scientific dreams.
  • Equip its graduates with entrepreneurial skills that will make them self-reliant following completion of their studies.
  • Attract and retain well qualified, competent and motivated staff that will maintain the highest possible standards of teaching, research and community engagement programmes.
  • Sustain a supportive academic environment which encourages critical and independent thought.
  • Be the major research centre with well-equipped laboratories with a focus on both basic and applied research relevant both to the Eastern Cape and the nation.
  • Develop collaborations that will enhance teaching, research and service missions locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
  • Increase its fiscal strength while promoting teaching, research and community service.

Values of the Department

The department believes that students and staff have equal responsibilities to acquiring knowledge. Staff should maintain their expertise through ongoing investigations and presentations in pursuit of scholarly activities. Students, on the other hand, should develop communication, analytical and critical thinking skills relevant to biological and environmental sciences as well as other disciplines.


Students:

Programme Information

1 Minimum Admission Requirements

In addition to the minimum admission requirements stipulated below, students aspiring to register for a Bachelor’s degree must show proficiency in the English language. A National Bench-marking Test must be completed and successful students may be considered for the Extended or three year Bachelor of Science degree in Biological or Environmental Sciences. Prospective students can also apply for mature age exemption if they are over the age of 23. A student with a school leaving certificate may be admitted provided that he or she has obtained a certificate of conditional exemption from the matriculation board.

1.1 Bachelor of Science (Biological Sciences)

Senior Certificate with Matric exemption or equivalent qualification with a minimum SG (D) or HG (E) symbol in Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Sciences and English.  A student may qualify for admission if s/he has attained at most one SG-E or HG-F symbol in any of the major subjects.

 Using the National Senior Certificate, the certificate must indicate that “The candidate has met the minimum requirements for admission to a bachelors’ degree study.” Additional requirements include a minimum achievement rating of Level 4 (50%) in Mathematics, Physical Science, English and Life Sciences.  A student who has attained a Level 3 in any of the major subjects may qualify for admission into the Extended or Mainstream programme provided s/he has achieved the minimum APS score of 12 or 13 respectively.

THE APS SCORE IS BASED ON THE THREE SUBJECTS: MATHEMATICS, PHYSICAL SCIENCE & ENGLISH.

 1.2 Bachelor of Science (Environmental Studies)

Senior Certificate with Matric exemption or equivalent qualification with a minimum SG (D) or HG (E) symbol in Mathematics, English, Physical Science and either Geography, Life Sciences, Agricultural Science or Tourism. A student may qualify for admission if s/he has attained at most one SG-E or HG-F symbol in any of the major subjects.

Using the National Senior Certificate, the certificate must indicate that “The candidate has met the minimum requirements for admission to a bachelors’ degree study.” Additional requirements include a minimum achievement rating of Level 4 (50%) in Mathematics, English, Physical Science and either Geography, Life Sciences, Agricultural Science or Tourism. A student who has attained a Level 3 in any of the major subjects may qualify for admission into the Extended or Mainstream programme provided s/he has achieved the minimum APS score of 12 or 13 respectively.

THE APS SCORE IS BASED ON THE THREE SUBJECTS: MATHEMATICS, PHYSICAL SCIENCE & ENGLISH.

1.4 Bachelor of Science Honours

Entry is by selection. A Bachelor of Science in Biological, Environmental Science/Studies/Geography or equivalent qualification and an average of 60% for third year Botany, Zoology or Environmental Sciences courses is required. Students who do not meet this requirement but interested will have to undergo a departmental assessment to establish their potential to undertake the programme.

Note: Each case will be evaluated on its own merit by the HoD in consultation with the relevant Lecturers.

1.5 Master of Science

Entry is by selection. A Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Botany, Geography, Zoology or equivalent qualification and an average pass mark of 60% is required. Students who do not meet this requirement but interested will have to undergo a departmental assessment to establish their potential to undertake the programme.

Note: Each case will be evaluated on its own merit by the HoD in consultation with the relevant Lecturers.

1.6 Doctor of Philosophy

Entry is by selection. A Master of Science in Botany, Geography, Zoology or equivalent qualification and an average pass mark of 60% is required. Students who do not meet this requirement but interested will have to undergo a departmental assessment to establish their potential to undertake the programme.

Note: Each case will be evaluated on its own merit by the HoD in consultation with the relevant Lecturers.