Masters in Climate Change & Development

Course Modules

Core Modules

EGS5031F: Introduction to Climate Change and Sustainable Development

First Semester (22.5 HEQF credits)

This course provides broad, integrated, knowledge on key issues in climate change and sustainable development field. It aims to make students conversant across the spectrum of climate change issues and history, and provides the foundation from which students can drill much deeper into adaptation and mitigation issues in the second core course, in options and an essential grounding for planning dissertation topics in the climate change arena. The course will cover the following topics:

  • Sustainable development
  • The climate system, anthropogenic forcing and climate system response
  • African climate variability and change
  • The international climate change legal frameworks, negotiations, and politics
  • The economics of climate change and climate change financing
  • The concept of climate compatible development

The course will be lecture, seminar and group-work based. Each section of the course will involve basic framing lectures, supported by either an essay exercise or a group work exercise (not to exceed 10% of the final mark) and seminar.

EGS5032S: Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

Second Semester (22.5 HEQF credits)

This course provides in depth coverage of (i) adaptation and (ii) mitigation from both a theoretical and practical/applied point of view. These are the two key domains of academic and applied learning required for students to be qualified to undertake research and be employable in the climate change arena in the South African and developing country context. The issues are explored from a developing country, climate compatible perspective.

Part 1: Climate Change Adaptation

  • Introduction to climate vulnerability, impacts and adaptation - key concepts
  • Climate modelling, climate projections, climate scenarios, critical uncertainties
  • Approaches to climate impacts assessments
  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Adaptation at different scales: challenges, approaches, limits to adaptation, monitoring and evaluation of adaptation
  • Adaptation in practice (including field trip)

Part 2: Climate Change Mitigation

  • GHG emissions: inventories, carbon footprints, reporting, IPCC guidelines, protocols, SA GHG profile
  • Reducing emissions: Mitigation actions - in energy use; energy supply; energy sources (renewables, coal, nuclear); REDD and other approaches to non-energy emission reductions
  • Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of mitigation actions
  • National policy framework - implementing mitigation in SA, national responses, national communication, SA's deviation below BAU, climate policy process in 2010, 2011 white paper, LTMS
  • Economic policy and carbon pricing
  • Poverty and mitigation of change
  • Business and climate change mitigation
  • Technology transfer

Assessment: Two short essays in each section (total of four); two long essays; and exam.

Elective Modules

ACDI masters students choose an additional two elective modules (or their equivalent to a minimum combined 45 HEQF credits) chosen from a range of topics such international climate law, sustainable urban systems, climate variability & prediction, and climate change & biodiversity. Elective modules offer the opportunity to explore new areas or to look at climate and development through existing disciplinary backgrounds. While module offerings change from year to year, some examples from recent semesters include:

First Semester

AXL5408F: Tradition, Science and Environment
BIO5003Z: Biodiversity and climate change
EGS4023F: Research Methods for Natural Sciences
EGS4039F: Urban Food Security
EGS4044F: Urban Ecology
EGS4046F: Water Resource Management
EGS5024F: Managing Complex Social-Ecological Systems
EGS5038F: Climate Change and Predictability
END5042Z: Sustainable Urban Systems
FAM4013F: Political Communication
HST4016F: African Environmental History
ZOO5011F: Numerical skills, modelling, econometrics, graphics

Second Semester

ECO4052S: Environmental Economics
EGS4016S: Capital, Politics and Nature
EGS4040S: Environmental Policy and Practice
EGS4042S: Climate Modelling
EGS5011S: Environmental Management
FAM4016S: Wild Life Documentary
FAM5014S: Media and National Development Policy
GEO5004Z: Understanding climate change in the recent past
MEC5088Z: Energy, Poverty & Development
PBL5046S: Climate, Law and Governance

NB: Other options exist in Biological Sciences, Film & Media Studies, Anthropology and Oceonography, which are not listed as separate entities, and would need to be discussed with the respective convenors. Similarly options exist in the Graduate School of Business (GSB) and the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, and in this instance we would need to look closely at the credit load in each instance as many of these are short courses and would need to be doubled up. Consult Faculty Handbooks for additional elective modules: (link to UCT Handbooks Site)