School of Environmental Sciences
About the School
Since its inception in the 1991/92 session with twelve (12) students, Njala University’s School of Environmental Sciences (formerly, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Njala University College) has become one of the largest and most fully developed interdisciplinary school of its kind in Sierra Leone and has the most comprehensive programmes in Environmental Sciences. The School provides a stimulating, innovative and active teaching and research environment for the study of natural and human environments. It is a centre of excellence in environmental sciences through active generation and dissemination of knowledge and skills so as to enhance sustainable utilization of natural resources for national and regional development (Vision). It provides professional training in environmental sciences at all levels and to undertake applied research that links the University to the needs of the nation, region and international community (Mission). The School has seen a steady growth-rate in students’ population.
The major goal of the School is manpower training and applied research in environmental sciences. The object of manpower training and applied research is first to understand the nature and characteristics of the “natural” and human environment and second to apply that understanding to analyse and evolve strategies and policies that promote sustainable use and development of resources in order to help alleviate poverty and other socio-economic woes in Sierra Leone and within the (sub)region through the dissemination of knowledge and skills on sustainable resource allocation, development and management.
The School of Environmental Sciences (SES) presents a great blend of rigorous academic study (intensive theme courses) and applied fieldwork (field studies). The School covers teaching and research in four (4) academic units (2 departments and 2 institutes). Viz:
- Department of Chemistry;
- Department of Biological Sciences;
- Institute of Geography and Development Studies (IGDS); and
- Institute of Environmental Management and Quality Control (IEMQC).
Postgraduate (Master’s and doctoral degree) programmes overseen by faculty in the school’s departments/institutes are offered through the School of Postgraduate Studies based in Freetown. The faculty integrate teaching, research, and outreach to address real-world problems and encourage students to adopt the same approach to their educational experience at Njala University.
The School covers teaching and research in four (4) academic units (2 departments and 2 institutes). Viz:
- Department of Chemistry;
- Department of Biological Sciences;
- Institute of Geography and Development Studies (IGDS); and
- Institute of Environmental Management and Quality Control (IEMQC)
The current operational programmes are as follows:
- B.Sc. Environmental Chemistry
- B.Sc. Chemistry
- B.Sc. Environmental Management and Quality Control
- B.Sc. Biological Sciences
- B.Sc. Applied Ecology and Conservation
- B.Sc. Environment and Development
- B.Sc. Development Studies
- B.Sc. Rural Development
- B.Sc. Geography
- Masters of Science in Environmental Chemistry
- Masters of Science in Environmental Management and Quality Control
- Masters of Science in Biodiversity and Conservation
- Masters of Science in Development Studies
- Masters of Science in Rural Development
- M. Phil. and PhD. Programmes are also available in the above disciplines.
- Diploma in Environmental Management and Quality Control
- Certificate in Environmental Management and Quality Control
The following programs have been approved by NU Senate but not operational yet:
- B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences
- Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management and Toxicology (B.Sc. EMT)
- Technician/Higher Diploma in Environmental Sampling and Monitoring
- MPhil in Biomedical Sciences
- MPhil and PhD in Chemistry
- MPhil and PhD in Environmental Chemistry
- MPhil and PhD in Environmental Management and Quality Control
- MPhil and PhD in Rural Development
- MPhil and PhD in Development Studies
- Postgraduate Diploma in Rural Development
- Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies
- Postgraduate Diploma in Geography Education
- Entrance Qualifications/Requirements
In keeping with its mission and functions, the University’s objectives on admission are to:
- Provide access to University education for a wider spectrum of candidates,
- Ensure appropriate standards in admission to the various programmes, and
- Ensure transparency and fair play in the admission of students.
The specific criteria for admission of candidates into (non) degree programmes are as follows.
For Certificate Programme
- Candidates must have at least two (2) credit passes in relevant subjects in the NCTVA Tech voc certificate/GCE ‘O’Level/WASSCE.
For Diploma Programme
- Candidate must have at least three (3) credit passes in relevant HIGHER DIPLOMA PROGRAMS subjects in the NCTVA/GCE O’Level/WASSCE. Holders of related Certificates and Diplomas with at least two (2) years ex-poste working experience are considered for admission.
- Candidates must have at least four (4) credit passes in relevant at WASCE/O’Level/NCTVA or successful completion of a related Diploma in with a minimum pass of Credit and evidence of one-year post qualification professional practice.
For Undergraduate Degree Programme
Candidates must satisfy three sets of requirements:
For Postgraduate Taught Masters Degree
- The General University requirements for matriculation.
Five credits at G.C.E. “O” Level or at W.A.S.S.C.E. including English Language in not more than two(2) sittings. Candidates with five (5) G.C.E. “O” Levels or W.A.S.S.C.E. but without English Language will be required to take the University Matriculation English examination. Candidates with three (3) relevant G.C.E. “O” Levels or W.A.S.S.C.E. credit passes may be admitted into the twelve (12) months access programme. On successful completion of it, they would be qualified to enter the first year of the proposed degree programmes.
- Special School requirements
A candidate must have a minimum of five (5) credits at G.C.E. “O” Level or W.A.S.S.C.E. including English Language, Mathematics and three of the following subjects: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Geography and Economics taken in not more than two sittings.
- Departmental requirements
At least a grade five (5) or better for every department at G.C.E. “O” Level or W.A.S.S.C.E. And/Or at least two/three subjects among the following: Biology, Agricultural Sciences, Economics, Geography, Mathematics and Statistics. Candidates who have studied any of geography, community development, social studies, biology, economics and agricultural sciences up to H.T.C. Level and with two years of teaching or development-related activities experience are also considered. Students entering with G.C.E. “A” Level with at least a “D” grade or equivalent in at least any two of the subjects in listed in this section will be admitted to the second year of the degree programmes.
- Candidates must have a first degree in a related subject/field.
Candidates For The Postgraduate Research Degree Of Master Of Philosophy (M.Phil)
- Candidates must have Final Grade Point Average (FGPA) of 3.6 points in the taught Masters Degree programme or completed a Masters degree with thesis from a recognized University. For some degree programmes, a candidate may be required to take remedial courses before proceeding with the thesis research.
For the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree
- Candidates must have at least an FGPA of 4.2 in the taught Masters Degree programme or successfully completed the M.Phil Degree in a related field. For some degree programmes, a candidate may be required to take remedial courses before proceeding with the thesis research.
Research and Development Initiatives
The Department of Chemistry is in collaboration with IEMQC and Department of Environmental Health (DEH), Ministry of Health and Sanitation leading to the production of undergraduate student projects. Some of the activities include rain-harvesting and assessment of the quality of drinking water in Freetown and Bo municipality.
The Department of Biological Sciences has the Tiwai Island Wildlife Sanctuary as its field station for ecological studies, which welcomes both national and international researchers. Tiwai Island is Sierra Leone’s first and only community conservation programme. At 12 sq km, Tiwai is one of Sierra Leone’s largest inland islands. The Gola Forest Reserves, which host the last significant patches of rainforest in Sierra Leone, spread east of Tiwai to the Liberian border. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more detail
Scientists in the Sierra Leone Agricultural Institute (SLARI) in collaboration with some staff of the School are developing research agenda in organic farming, climate and crop performance, and socio-economics of agricultural systems. The collaborative action-oriented teaching and research activities may help redress some of the current material resources capacity problems, particularly for laboratory practical/work in Biological Sciences including the National Herbarium, Chemistry, Geographical Information driven Cartography, Surveying and Remote Sensing. Interested local and international partners, donors and funders are most welcome to contact the Office of the Dean and or the relevant leaders of Departments/Institutes.
Partnership and Linkages
The Department of Biological Sciences has benefited from a DelPHE funded research project titled “Strengthening Scientific and Technical Capacity for Biodiversity Research at Njala University, Sierra Leone”. This project is principally implemented with the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, United Kingdom (UK) using a grant provided by the British Department for International Development support to higher educational institutions in the World. The DICE staff arrived in June 2010, and helped review some of the School’s programmes. These include B.Sc. Honours in Biological Sciences, B.Sc. Honours in Applied Ecology (re-named Applied Ecology & Conservation), B.Sc. Honours in Environment & Development and M.Sc. in Environmental Biology (re-named Biodiversity Conservation).
Since January 2009, Njala University has been partnering with Coventry University in the United Kingdom, the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin, University of Agriculture-Abeokuta in Nigeria, the University of Cape Coast and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana in a three year EDULINK Project on Institutional Capacity Building for Organic Agriculture in West Africa. The School’s Institute of Geography and Development Studies provides coordination at the Njala University level. Two each of Staff and Student in the School of Agriculture’s Departments of Crop Sciences, Animal Sciences and Crop Protection participated in exchange programmes with those in the University of Abomey-Calavi in Benin and the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria. The School hosted staff and student exchange visitors from the University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin and University of Cape Coast, Ghana for about three and eight weeks respectively.
Total credit hours requirements for graduation in the certificate, diploma and higher diplomas range from 50-60, 80-90 and 120-130 respectively. For undergraduate degrees, the credits range from about 120-210. In addition, the following is considered for undergraduate degrees:
- There shall be Final Comprehensive Examinations, comprising of four papers, at the end of the fourth year which shall be examined by External Examiners appointed by Senate.
- The Final Comprehensive Examinations shall cover courses from the 200 to the 400 series organised in terms of theory, methods, substantive and a general paper.
- For some programmes, students are placed on attachment for on-the-job training
- The Student Project shall not be counted as comprehensive examination papers.
- A candidate who does not make a 2.67 average in the Comprehensive Examinations shall not be awarded a degree.
- The final award and the class of the degree shall be based on the Final Grade Point Average (FGPA) which shall be distributed as follows:
- Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) - 60%
- Comprehensive Final Examination - 30%
- Project for programmes not requiring placement on field attachment - 10% otherwise 5%
- Field Attachment - 5%
- For postgraduate taught Masters degrees, the required total credit hours for graduation ranges from 36-42.
Classification of (non) Degree
The certificate, diploma, higher diplomas and postgraduate taught Masters degree are classified as Pass or Fail. For the undergraduate degree programmes the following the Class of Honours shall be determined by the following ranges of FGPA:
- First Class - FGPA 4.3 and above
- Second Class (Upper) - FGPA 4.00 – 4.29
- Second Class (Lower) - FGPA 3.60 – 3. 99
- Third Class - FGPA 3.00 – 3.59
A candidate with an FGPA less than 3.00 but passes in all the papers will be awarded a Pass degree.
Assessment and Grading
The University’s examination policy applies to all programmes. Ideally, each module in the (non) degree programmes is assessed by continuous assessment (weighted 40%) and a final written examination (weighted 60%). The continuous assessment consists of any or a combination, of the following: written assignments, tests, practicals, projects, research exercise, objectives, short answer questions, quizzes and term papers. At the end of the semester, all percentages are totalled and a single average is a grade submitted for the student.
A five-point letter and weighted percentage grading system shown in the table below is used to score the student. Students are required to have an average of three points or “C” to pass. Students are referred for the module when they obtain a grade of “E or F” at the certificate, Diploma, Higher Diploma and Undergraduate levels. In the case of postgraduate degrees, it is ‘D, E or F’. All grades for the various subjects during the semester are used to compute the grade point average (GPA) for the semester, cumulatively and later at the end of the degree programme