Environmental Studies

Nelson Mandela University

Course Description


The Eastern Cape in South Africa, hosts a globally unique concentration of three biodiversity hotspots. Gain first-hand experience of the unique environmental issues South Africa. Students will gain first-hand experience of the unique environmental issues that define the Eastern Cape in South Africa. This area is recognized as a frontier, in many respects providing an ideal location to learn how our development opportunities are shaped by our environment. The special features of the Eastern Cape include the globally unique concentration of three global biodiversity hotspots, a treasure trove of ancient fossils, the oldest anatomically-modern humans and some of the earliest cultural artefacts. A history of rapacious over exploitation of natural resources and local extinctions, followed by conservation success stories and now an emerging biodiversity based economy that is built on ecotourism, will be discussed. This is an opportunity to gain knowledge in a landscape that is once again being shaped by the “big five” such as elephant and rhino, and where new solutions to ancient problems are being developed.

The course is largely field-trip based with visits to ancient caves, overnight stays and visits to modern National Parks. It also includes a longer overnight field trip to a rural area where students have the opportunity to experience first-hand the history and local culture of South Africa. Lectures are facilitated by academics and members of civil society. Lectures consist of theoretical and interactive sessions. Thorough lecture preparation and active participation will ensure an optimum learning experience.


On completion of this programme students will:

  • Understand how the Eastern Cape region is a unique human and environmental habitat in South Africa; 
  • Be able to conceptualise the diverse past and present environmental challenges in the Karoo; 
  • Gain an understanding of the principles of reserve management and commercial and communal land use; 
  • Understand the underlying ecology to manage and conserve both national parks and private game reserves.


There are two assessments: portfolio and presentation. The final mark for the module will be determined as follows:

  • 60% of the final mark will come from the portfolio; 
  • 30% of the final mark will come from the presentation;
  • 10% will be awarded for attendance of lectures and participation in discussions.

  • Course Name

    Environmental Studies

  • Sessions Available

  • Host University

    Nelson Mandela University

  • Location

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  • Area of Study

    Archaeology, Biology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Sustainability, Field Component, Tourism

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units

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