Riding the Knowledge Wave

Nelson Mandela University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Riding the Knowledge Wave

  • Host University

    Nelson Mandela University

  • Location

    Port Elizabeth, South Africa

  • Area of Study

    Biology, Conservation, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Environmental Sustainability, Field Component, Marine Biology, Natural Sciences, Oceanography, Sustainable Development

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • US Credits

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


    “Riding the knowledge wave” will incorporate aspects of our environmental programme, focusing on marine ecology and coupling it with surfing lessons in the beautiful Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa.

    Students will gain first-hand knowledge of the unique coastal environment of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. This programme will introduce the students to the rich marine heritage of the area and allow them to explore basic concepts and principles of marine ecology. The key focus in the programme will be on oceanography, estuaries, rocky shores, sandy beaches and reefs. The students will combine theoretical and classroom knowledge with practical trips and classes on the sandy and rocky beaches in the Nelson Mandela Bay.

    In addition, the students will experience of the unique environmental issues that define the Eastern Cape. This area is recognized as a frontier and in many respects provides an ideal location to learn how our development opportunities are shaped by our environment. Finally, there will be opportunities to experience the “wild” nature of South Africa and see the “big five,” including elephants and rhinos, up close.

    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 with knowledgeable hosts. Lectures are taught by NMMU academics and are scheduled daily from Monday - Thursday. Friday’s are reserved for self-study or programme related activities.


    On completion of this programme students will:

    • Understand how the Eastern Cape region is a unique human and environmental habitat in South Africa;
    • Understand the diverse past and present environmental challenges within the coastal regions of the Province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa;
    • Understand the underlying ecology to manage and conserve the coastal areas within the Province of the Eastern Cape;
    • Understanding the key issues in Marine Ecology in South Africa;
    • Become familiar with general principles of open ocean environments;
    • Learn about the life on Rocky Shores, Sandy Beaches and Coral reef;
    • Understand the Ocean Interface and estuaries present within the Province of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.


    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 Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.