Research embedded into teaching

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Our department prides itself in integrating research into our undergraduate teaching programme

Final year students (3rd years) undertake small scale, individual research projects in the second semester of each year. The students are assigned a supervisor within the department. The student works with the supervisor to develop a ‘mini’ proposal, collect primary data, analyse it and write it up into a research report, with a small literature review.

Students gain a lot from this experience, which can be applied to the world of work once theur graduate or help them prepare for post graduate studies.

Our approach to research undertaken by students is:

  • Students must conduct research within the wider field of interest of the staff working in the department.
  • We actively encourage research that can inform policy and/or offer solutions to real world problems.
  • Within the fields of environmental management, energy studies and GIS/RS an interdisciplinary approach is encouraged.
  • All students are expected to manage their time and their studies well, as self-study is an essential part of any induction into a career in research.
  • While the department has a lot of strength in quantitative research methods, and assistance is offered by UJs Statkon, students can follow a qualitative approach if that will be the best way to establish an answer to a research question.

Some examples of post graduate student research projects:

Wetlands and Water:

  • The formulation of Policy Strategies in response to threats to Gauteng’s Wetlands, within the national legislative framework.
  • Determination of stream flow reduction associated with afforestation on a selected quaternary catchment of the Crocodile River, Mpumalanga.
  • Water supply and sanitation in rural areas: The case of Thokgoaneng-Pietersburg, Northern Province, South Africa.

Fauna, flora and agriculture:

  • Use of an area sampling frame to identify the spatial distribution of livestock in the Gauteng Province.
  • Translocation of roan antelope in South Africa and the effect this has had on the genetic diversity of the species.
  • Determination of sustainability of aloe harvesting empowerment project in the Emnambithi (former Ladysmith) Municipality KwaZulu-Natal.

Energy related issues:

  • Air pollution control measures implemented by the South African iron and steel industries.
  • Environmental and socia-economic impact of bio-mass energy consumption in the Mbhokola village (Northern Province).
  • The impact of power station emissions on surface water quality in Mpumalanga: The case of Majuba power station.
  • The Impact of Overhead Power Lines on an Informal Settlement: Motsoaledi Villlage, Diepkloof (Soweto).

Environmental Management:

  • Impact of Environmental Education on Environmental Awareness of Grade 9 Learners in Soweto.
  • Environmental information systems: a challenge to meet corporate environmental strategy in the South African mining industry.
  • The influence of angle and aspect on established vegetative covered slopes of rehabilitated coal discard dumps in Mpumalanga.
  • The influence on soil erosion by rural settlements in a part of Mpumalanga, by using Remote Sensing and GIS data bases.
  • Terrain suitability analysis for the proposed rapid-rail link between Pretoria, Johannesburg and Johannesburg International airport.
  • A physical-chemical analysis of the soil types in the Ben Lavin Nature Reserve south of Louis Trichardt.


  • Sustainable low-cost housing– a review of three low-cost housing developments in Gauteng Province.
  • The application of regression analysis to forecast transaction volumes on ATM devices.