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MPhil Environmental Sanitation (Code - ESSS)

The MPhil Environmental Sanitation programme has been planned as a full time residential programme to be conducted within 2 academic years consisting four semesters.  During the first year, students will undertake course work while the second year will be dedicated to their research and thesis writing.  During the 2 year period, students will be expected to participate in departmental seminars and give 2 research seminar presentations on various aspects of their research works. 

Course Code
Course Title
ESSS 601
Water, Environmental Sanitation and Public Health
3 credits
ESSS 602
Waste Management
3 credits
ESSS 603
Social Issues in Environmental Sanitation
3 credits
ESSS 604
Policy, Legislation and Institutional Arrangements for Environmental Sanitation
3 credits
IESS 605*
Research Methods
3 credits
IESS 606*
Special Project
3 credits
ESSS 610
Seminar 1
3 credits







* Cross-cutting course for all IESS programmes

Course Code
Course Title
ESSS 607
Economic aspects of environmental sanitation
3 credits
ESSS 608
Contemporary Approaches to environmental sanitation management
3 credits
ESSS 609
Environmental sanitation risk assessment and reduction
3 credits
ESSS 611
Global trends and perspectives of environmental sanitation
3 credits
ESSS 612
Environmental sanitation in emergency situations
3 credits
ESSS 614
Urban water and environmental sanitation
3 credits
Course Code
Course Title
ESSC 600
30 credits
ESSC 620
Seminar II
3 credits



ESSS 601:   Water, Environmental Sanitation and Public Health
This course aims at deepening students understanding of current water and sanitation issues and how they relate to public health. Specifically, the course delves into concepts and theories that have driven sanitation development taking cognisance of historic and contemporary perspectives. The course focuses on sanitation-related diseases, human - environment interactions, hygiene practices that promote zoonotic and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases will be reviewed. Emphasis will be laid on the risks and distribution of infections from pathogens and risk of exposure to hazardous substances from environmental releases into water, air, soil. 
ESSS 602:   Waste Management
This course is designed to provide students with a good understanding of solid and liquid waste management in an environmentally responsible manner.  It will emphasize waste classification and characteristics, technologies for collection, storage, treatment and disposal methods including Composting, anaerobic treatment, and treatment of municipal and industrial slurries, special treatment processes.  Waste management concepts such as “waste hierarchy” and the “polluter pays principle” and issues on regulations and enforcement for maintenance of healthy environment will also be discussed. At the end of the course, students should be able to:
  • Explain the concept and principles of waste management.
  • Quantify and characterize various types of waste and determine their properties
  • Describe various waste management practices
  • Analyze the processes for waste reduction, recycling and reuse
  • Develop a framework for waste management in a peri-urban area
ESSS 603:   Social Issues in Environmental Sanitation
This course is premised on the fact that access to safe sanitation is a basic human right for all. It is designed to introduce students to the core principles of sustainable sanitation with emphasis on sanitation as a developmental issue. Students will recognize that in order to be sustainable, a sanitation approach must be socio-culturally acceptable and economically viable. The course will also highlight why social factors such as cultural, behavioural and gender issues must be considered in developing waste management systems as well as appropriateness of the system, convenience and system perceptions. Environmental sanitation and hygiene education as an integral element of sustainable sanitation will be also be covered. At the end of this course the student should be able to:
  • Gain better insight on the socio-economic impacts of sanitation
  • Understand how people make choices and decisions about sanitation
  • Explain how men and women view the technical options (e.g. ecological sanitation) in light of their economic and socio-cultural context
  • Be able to adapt knowledge acquired to people’s culture, values and demands
  • Explain the steps in developing an effective sanitation and hygiene education programme.
ESSS 604:   Policy, Legislation and Institutional Arrangements for Environmental Sanitation
This course provides a systematic and integrated review of policies, legislations and institutional arrangements related to sanitation locally and globally. The course covers topics such as local and international policies and legislations, institutional structures, good governance for sustainable sanitation and governance stakeholders. The course further covers the role of public administration, donor interventions, local politics and information flows in facilitating improved access to sanitation services. This develops the students’ ability to undertake data gathering and policy analysis. Several case studies on legislation enforcement and compliance would be evaluated to provide students with real situations. At the end of this course the student should be able to:
  • Outline policy development processes
  • Review three sanitation policy documents
  • Explain legislative and institutional arrangement in place for sustainable sanitation in Ghana
  • Discuss the importance of policy in sanitation management
  • Interpret the theories and concepts underlying multiple levels of sanitation governance and contemporary global sanitation debates
IESS 605:   Research Methods
This module addresses proposal writing and the research process, with references to complex systems and scientific reporting. It is designed to develop skills and ability to formulate researchable problems, articulate knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts; write effective proposals, design and execute research; identify appropriate statistical techniques, including nonparametric statistics; analyze and interpret output; communicate scientific information and knowledge in writing; manage working time, scheduled tasks, and meet deadlines developed.
IESS 606:   Special Project
This course requires students to apply learnt concepts in various fields of study under each programme. At the end of the course, students should have carried out independent research (either practical or desk-based) to produce reports of the research in a number of different formats (e.g. written, verbal); be competent in constructing logically sound arguments and analysing scientific theories and data-generating methodologies (e.g. experiments, surveys), improve their expertise in at least one specialist area (e.g. modelling or policy analysis).
ESSS 610: Seminar I
In Year 1, each student is expected to attend all seminars specified by the Institute and make a presentation on his/her research proposal in the second semester. The presentation will be assessed for three (3) credits
ESSS 607:   Economic Aspects of Environmental Sanitation
This course highlights the cost and economic benefit of sanitation options as well as costing and financing decisions regarding sanitation projects. Areas of discussion will include ; Cost concepts and classification,  Cost allocation, costing systems, Cost-volume-profit relationships, demand creation, Budgeting, Sources of financing, Models of investment values, Projecting cash flows, Financing options and Decision making.  Students will be able to identify the merits of investing in productive sanitation solutions and be exposed to the interaction between sustainable sanitation goals and economic growth.  Funding and pricing of sanitation services for improved socio-economic reforms, clean environment and improved quality of life. Students will be able to
  • Explain the importance of economic impact of sanitation
  • Understand the effect of sustainable on sanitation on economic growth
  • Develop knowledge on efficient funding of sanitation
  • Analyze the linkages between improved sanitation and quality of life
  • Understand and relate basic business concepts to sanitation projects
  • Understand and be able to use different costing systems
  • Be able to make investment decisions based upon management and financial information.
ESSS 608:   Contemporary Approaches to Environmental Sanitation Management
This course aims to examine the underlying philosophy and principles of the concept of Sustainable Sanitation with emphasis on sanitation assessment, planning, community involvement, public/private/informal sector participation and engineering. Students will be exposed to the application of appropriate engineering methods for sanitation and wastewater treatment and reuse in low-income countries, small communities and peri-urban areas.  Real case studies of sustainable management will be reviewed.
  • Assess fundamental challenges and opportunities for sanitation management in the 21st century
  • Apply planning and process tools to explore possible sustainable sanitation management practices;
  • Model adaptive methods for sanitation management in different socio-economic and spatial context
  • Develop business ideas in sanitation management
  • Acquire knowledge on sanitation technologies
ESSS 609:   Environmental Sanitation Risk Assessment and Reduction
Course will examine relevant concepts and terminologies such as hazard, receptors, exposure units/area, vulnerability, consequence and risk.   Risk assessment processes will be outlined and explained. Risk management approaches, including exposure reduction, vulnerability reduction, avoidance, mitigation, etc will be considered. Risk communication for awareness creation and health protection involving all stakeholders will be discussed. The course will consider applications and examples of microbial and epidemiological approaches in production, handling and use in food and water, wastewater; excreta and grey water use.
  • Students equipped with knowledge on  concepts and terminologies related to sanitation risk and reduction,
  • Students equipped with the  knowledge of the processes of risk assessment, management and communication,
  • Students equipped with the capacity to make meaningful contributions to relevant academic discourses and policy formulation in sanitation risk assessment and management
  • Examples of applications reviewed
  • Students equipped with practical knowledge and skills to conduct risk assessment and propose risk management strategies.   
ESSS 611:   Global Trends and Perspectives of Environmental Sanitation
This course aims at providing students with broad understanding of the complex developments at the global and regional levels that shape and affect water provision, sanitation management and public health.  The course focuses on waste  flows, trade relations, technological development, modernisation, and changes in environmental conditions including climate change and examines how they relate to water supply, sanitation service delivery and public health. At the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • Explain the driving forces of environmental change and the factors influencing trade flows and modernization and how this impacts on water supply, sanitation services and public health
  • Assess and manage the global change processes and their influence on water supply, sanitation service delivery and public health.
ESSS 612:   Environmental sanitation in emergency situations
The course is designed such that students gain knowledge and skills necessary for prompt action in recovery situations, especially in developing countries. The course provides students  with the tools, frameworks, and decision-making skills necessary to achieve a sustainable outcome for the affected population.

On completion of the course, participants will be able to access and prioritize water supply and sanitation in emergencies with foresight, and make appropriate decisions to prevent disease outbreak. Students will able to

  • Describe the relief system; refuges and internally displaced persons (IDPs), humanitarian standards
  • Identify various phases of emergencies
  • Gain knowledge on water treatment and supply in emergencies
  • Refugee camp situations
  • Non-camp situations
  • Rehabilitation of damaged supplies
  • Acquire skills in excreta disposal and solid waste management in emergencies
  • Manage the disposal of dead bodies in emergency conditions
  • Understand disaster preparedness and management
ESSS 614:   Urban Water and Environmental Sanitation
This course focuses on sustainable urban and municipal water supply and sanitation management against the backdrop of increasing urbanization and urban poverty.  It highlights the challenges of meeting the water and sanitation needs of urban population particularly of the poor in the core and peri-urban areas.  The course looks at water and sanitation infrastructure planning and the environment.  It also reviews various waste management regimes, policies, institutional arrangements and programmes, resource availability, consumer needs and demand, and stakeholder involvement.  Case studies will be drawn from municipalities in both the developed and developing countries. At the end of the course, students will be able to:
  • explain the challenges of sanitation in urban development
  • explain approaches to water and sanitation infrastructure planning
  • demonstrate how institutional arrangements, processes and management regimes influence water supply and sanitation services; and,
  • Develop management options that promote sustainable water use and sanitation services for the urban poor.

ESSC 620:   Seminar II

In Year 2, each student will make a presentation on the progress of his/her thesis and be assessed for three (3) credits.