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PhD Environmental Science

PhD Environmental Science

The Structure of the PhD Programme in Environmental Science follows the 2012 Guidelines of the University of Ghana, School of Graduate Studies.

First Semester

Course Title
FASC 701
Science and Society
ESCI 701
Environmental Management
FASC 710
Faculty Wide Seminar


ESCI 703
Disaster, Environment and Risk Reduction
ESCI 705
Sustainable Sanitation and Health


Second Semester

Course Title
FASC 702
Advanced Quantitative Research Methods
ESCI 702
Emerging Environmental Issues for the 21st Century




ESCI 704*
Advanced Environmental Analytical Techniques
ESCI 706
Focus on Community

*This may be replaced by CHEM 671 Instrumental Methods for Chemical Analysis as one of the allowed Level 600 courses as an elective depending on circumstances.


Seminars and Thesis
Course Title
ESCI 700
ESCI 710
Seminar I     (Year 2)
ESCI 720
Seminar II    (Year 2)
ESCI 730
Seminar III   (Year 3)
ESCI 740
Seminar IV   (Year 4)



The duration for completion of the Doctor of Philosophy degree shall normally be four years for full-time students and six years for part-time students. The minimum and maximum shall conform to the University requirements as specified in the graduate students’ handbook.



Course work 18 -24 (credits)
Seminars (4)  12 (credits)
Thesis  45 (credits)
Total     75 -81 (credits)



On successful completion of the course, the degree of Doctor of philosophy (Ph D.) in Environmental Science will be awarded.
FASC 701 Science and Society
This course will enable student gain insights in the practice of science as a discipline. Major scientific concepts like inductivism are treated as well as the history of science and science itself, an overview of current approaches to research and an understanding of research partnerships, networks and appropriate methods of communicating science depending on audience. The aim of the course is to help students to fit their research to relevant trends and directions for national development. Course content will cover:
  •  Basis for the scientific method
  • Conceptual frameworks
  • Philosophy of science
  • Ethics in research
  • Pure versus applied science debates
  • Approaches to research
  • Science for development and the merit of  broader impact criteria
  • North south/south south collaboration and partnerships
  • Research networks
  • Communicating science to the policy maker and
  • Lay audience and to media
FASC 702 Advanced Qualitative Research Methods
The course covers the following areas:
  • Sampling distributions and hypothesis testing
  • Sample size determination
  • Categorical data and chi-square, non parametric tests
  • Principles of Design of experiments
  • Analysis of variance and its assumptions
  • Experiments with single and multiple factors
  • Orthogonal and multiple comparisons
  • Completely Randomized, randomized complete block, repeated measures, cross over and latin square designs
  • Nested designs
  • Fixed, random and mixed effects models
  • Factorial designs
  • Confounding
  • Fractional factorial designs
  • Split plot designs
  • Incomplete block designs
  • Analysis of covariance
  • Regression models: basic concepts
  • Regression model diagnostics
  • Categorical data analysis
  • Logistic regression, uni-variante and multivariate
  • Confounding and co-linearity in logistic regression and
  • Model selection in logistic regression.
All students, in the first semester of their first year, must attend a Faculty-Wide Seminar. The form, approach and content of the seminar will be determined by the Faculty of Science. The seminar will be graded by Faculty and a student will have to get 70% to pass.
ESCI 701        Environmental Management
This course will provide an overview of the key concepts and issues about the management of the environment in Ghana. The topics will be examined largely from a Ghanaian perspective within the global context. These topics will include: environmental statistics, social-ecological systems concepts, ecosystem-based management, global and regional governance through multilateral agreements, sustainable development, poverty and globalization. Specific areas of attention will include biodiversity, fisheries and coastal management, environmental impact assessment, climate change, sustainable tourism, various environmental management and planning tools.
ESCI 702 Emerging Environmental Issues for the 21st Century
This course will examine the ramification for Ghana of global environmental issues as derived from the UNEP foresight:
  • Aligning governance to the challenges of global sustainability
  • Moving towards a green economy
  • Broken bridges, reconnecting science and policy
  • Human behavior towards the environment
  • Coping with migration caused by new aspects of environmental change
  • New challenges for ensuring food safety and food security
  • Integrating biodiversity across the environmental and economic agendas
  • Boosting urban sustainability and resilience
  • Avoiding degradation of inland waters in developing countries
  • Integrated ocean governance
  • Addressing increasing pressures on coastal ecosystems
  • Implementation of renewable energy  systems
  • Minimizing risk of novel technologies and chemicals and
  • Avoiding electronic waste.
 ESCI 703        Disaster, Environment and Risk Reduction
This course how to mainstream and provide advocacy for Disaster and Risk Reduction (DRR) using environmental resilience. Topics include; Global data on risk, disasters and ecosystems; link climate change adaptation to DRR; model/assess risk, vulnerability and sustainable development as well as introduce coping capacities and the concept of resilience as well as prevention post disaster “3Rs” relief, recovery and reconstruction. The course links global environmental problems and disasters; major eco-zones, hazards and impacts on populations; ecosystem services and vulnerability reduction; ecological engineering for DRR. The tools, instruments and approaches for Eco-DRR will be linked to approaches such as IWRM, ICZM, Protected areas as well as how ecosystems can be managed to reduce urban risk, Ecosystem and Community based adaptation for DRM.
 ESCI 704 Advanced Environmental Analytic Techniques
The aim of this course is to provide insight into some advanced analytical methods used for environmental assessment. Students will be shown the utility and actual application of each analytical technique. The course content will cover Field and Laboratory methods of sample analysis and will include: sampling, sample preparation and analyses, routine and special methods of environmental sample analyses, understanding of principles of Photometric and spectroscopic techniques including: Ultraviolet/Visible Absorption Spectroscopy and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and the hybrid forms such as GC-MS, LC-MS. Also, various air quality measuring devices including Differential CO2/H2O Gas Analyzer, Multi-function HVAC air quality measuring devices as well as various tachometry devices.
ESCI 705        Sustainable Sanitation and Health
This course is designed to provide students with in-depth knowledge on sustainable sanitation involving systems that are economically viable, socially acceptable and technically and institutionally appropriate and that protect the environment, natural resources and health. The thrust of this course is to facilitate innovative thinking and an analytical approach to sanitation solutions and health promotion. This course will expose students to, frameworks, tools, approaches, methodologies for achieving total sanitation and addressing small and large scale sanitation challenges at the local level.
ESCI 706        Focus on Community
This course aims at building students’ appreciation and understanding of community values, local knowledge and endogenous practices which guide environmental ethics and resource use. The course focuses on local perception, traditional knowledge, religious philosophies, customary laws and community leadership within the context of the operation of local government administrative structures. Special emphasis is placed on underpinning knowledge of best environmental practices at the community and local levels. The course also deals with principles and approaches to participatory action research, knowledge creation and information sharing among community members and scientists that seek to address specific environmental problems and take advantage of available opportunities. In this regard, case studies and lessons are drawn from various parts of the world.



ESCI 710        SEMINAR I
All students must formally defend their research proposal to ensure that the proposed work is relevant, meaningful, viable, feasible and capable of being completed within the time frame and resource constraints. The student will present the proposal in a seminar (Seminar I) to the Graduate Committee, academic staff in the discipline and supervisory committee. The Seminar is to be accompanied by a detailed research proposal of between 20-30 pages.
ESCI 720        SEMINAR II
In Seminar II the student will report on the experiential research learning. The seminar is to be accompanied by a detailed report of between 20-30 pages and a report from the supervisor.
Seminar III will present provisional findings of the research at the end of the First Semester of Year Three. This seminar is to be open to the staff of the institute, the supervisory committee and to other PhD students. The seminar will be assessed by not less the three examiners. Failure to pass this Seminar will result in the termination of PhD Programme and the possible award of an M.Phil on the advice of the School of Graduate Studies.
ESCI 740        SEMINAR IV
Seminar IV will complement the final part of the PhD where the candidate presents his research findings in a seminar to the general public and to the supervisory committee at the end of his final thesis year. This is different and distinct from the oral examination which is carried out after the thesis has been submitted. The candidate is expected to take relevant comments from all required seminars so as to improve the quality of both thesis and presentation.