Master of Science in Climate Change and Afro-Forestry

Climate change affects our socio-cultural, economic and political aspects of our lives. The challenge of climate change has brought nations in a round table on several occasions with the sole aim of coming up with a common strategic plan on how to tackle it. Currently, renewed efforts are at the top gear to find the successor of the 1970’s Kyoto Protocol. A common strategic plan is believed to be the panacea to carbon emission reductions. Further, forests, apart from stabilizing stream flow, reducing soil erosion, floods and avalanches and acts as natural sinks of carbon dioxide. Most of the trees are found on farms. As such, agroforestry can play a critical role in mitigating the effects of climate change. In order to tackle climate change challenges appropriately, skilled manpower is required to ensure that proper action plan undertaken based on research inputs and guiding principles.
The climate change component of the course provides a broad introduction into various aspects of the physical and social dimensions of climate change. The component educates students in three areas of the climate change issue: science, society, and solutions. It provides a foundation that enables students to engage in the scientific, societal and political dimensions of global climate change. The Agroforestry component of the course gives studentsthe opportunity to learn about how trees, people and agriculture can interact in sustainably managed farms, forests and landscapes. There is a long tradition of agroforestry practice in many parts of the world but recently it has become a major focus in international development and is now at the forefront of innovation in natural resource management. Further, the agroforestry component equips professionals to deal with the principal forces driving change in farming and forestry, from thinking globally about issues like climate change and carbon trading to dealing with practical issues of how to manage trees on farms and food security at a local level.

2.0    Justification
Climate Change is emerging as a critical global concern that is threatening the future existence of humanity. In the wake of 21st century, countries have realized the magnitude of the threat and efforts have been put in place to develop array of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies. However, many institutions are struggling with the concept.  To meet these challenges, there is need for professionals and policy-makers who understand the complex multisectoral, scientific, socio-economic, technological and institutional aspects of climate change. There are capacity concerns and a general lack of experts hence, challenges in conducting vulnerability assessments, developing and implementing mitigation and adaptation strategies. MSc. in Climate Change and Agroforestry aims at authoritatively equipping graduates to understand the concept of climate change, vulnerability, climate change adaptation and help them identify practical mechanisms for addressing the challenges of Climate Change in development.
Tackling challenges of climate change is a collective responsibility and if not strategically addressed, may be our under-pinning to the realization of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Governments and private sector world-wide have joined hands in an effort to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Tree planting has become the classical corporate social responsibility activity in the government and the private sectors. These sectors require tree experts not only to guide them on afforestation and re-afforestation programs but also ensure they get value for their money.
The graduates of MSc. in Climate change and Agroforestry can take up jobs in various government agencies involved in research, conservation and management of natural resources. Private companies and farmers engaged in carbon trading require experts who can appropriately quantify carbon sequestrated and sell the credits in the international carbon market. Companies involved in timber, tea, and tobacco plantations also need the services of Climate Change and Agroforestry experts. Further, the graduates can also work in private consulting firms or run their own private consultancy in research, environmental impact assessment of large environmental projects and Carbon trading.

3.0    Objectives of the Programme
The objectives of the programme are to:-
a) Train post-graduates with competent academic and professional knowledge in climate change and agroforestry.
b) Develop multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches in dealing with climate change and agroforestry.
c) Develop and apply concepts and skills for in-depth research in climate change and agroforestry.

4.0    Admission Requirements
1.    The common regulations applicable to the Masters degree of the South Eastern Kenya University (SEKU) and the School of Environment and Natural Resources Management shall apply
2.    The following shall be eligible for admission for the degree in Climate Change and Agroforestry.
a)    Holders of at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent qualification in basic and applied sciences, forestry/agroforestry, climate change, land resources, environmental studies/sciences, natural resources management, agricultural sciences, public health, resource economics, environmental engineering, law, environmental education, geography and relevant social sciences from the South Eastern Kenya University or  an equivalent qualification from another institution recognized by the Senate
b)    Holders of Lower Second Class Honours degree in the same discipline as in 4.2 (a) from the South Eastern Kenya University or from any other University recognized by the Senate but must show proof of academic advancement either through work experience,  research and publication or postgraduate training since graduation with a Bachelors degree.
c)    Holders of a Pass degree in the same discipline as in 4.2 (a) and a relevant postgraduate diploma from a recognized University or at least five years of field experience and evidence of research publication since graduation with a Bachelors degree.

5.0    Transfer of Credits
A candidate may be exempted from some units and credit(s) transferred from recognized institutions by the Senate, subject to the following conditions:-
1.    The candidate must have passed the unit at M.Sc. level and must request for the transfer at admission with official supporting documents, to the Director, Board of Post graduate studies through the Dean, School of Environment and Natural Resources Management.
2.    The course must have covered similar content and contact hours as the one from which credit transfer is desired. Evidence of course content and contact hours shall be attached to the application.
3.    Payment of the prescribed exemption fee.
4.    Candidates may be allowed to transfer up to a third (1/3) of the total number of course units and any approved transfer shall be recorded as 50% in the student’s academic record.
5.    The department at its discretion may administer an exemption examination on behalf of the School.

6.0    Course Structure and Duration
1.    The programme lasts for a minimum of four (4) semesters and a maximum of twelve (12) semesters and offered by coursework, examination and thesis. Coursework consists of lecturers, tutorials and seminars.
2.    Students are required to take twelve (12) units of course work and a thesis. A course unit will consist of 45 contact hours while the project will be equivalent to 4 units.
3.    On successful completion of coursework, students devote the rest of the period to research in a given approved subject area and writing of thesis under supervision.
4.    Students will take a minimum of three (3) course units and a maximum of six (6) per semester of 15 weeks.

6.0    Examinations Regulations
The general regulations of the South Eastern Kenya University and the School of Environment and Natural Resources Management shall apply.
6.1 Written examinations
1.    Examination for any given course shall be taken in the semester in which the course has been offered.
2.    Each examination covering a unit of coursework will be two hours while all other coursework examinations will take three hours.
3.    Each examination shall be graded out of 100% of which 60% shall constitute written examinations while the continuous assessment tests shall constitute 40%.
4.    The pass mark in each examination shall be 50%
5.    A candidate who fails to obtain a pass mark in any course may, on recommendation of the school Board of Examiners be allowed to re-sit or retake any such failed unit on the next scheduled examination up to a maximum of two times. The candidate shall pay registration and examination fees for the course units to be retaken.
6.    A candidate who fails in more than two course examinations or fails a supplementary examination shall be recommended to repeat the course.
7.    A candidate who fails after repeating the course shall be discontinued.

6.2 Thesis examination
1.    Candidates will conduct a thesis research undertaken after successfully completing the coursework. The thesis shall be submitted within the time specified in the common Regulations for the Masters Degree in SEKU.
2.    The Board of Examiners for the thesis Examination shall consist of not less than three examiners, at least one of whom shall be an external examiner to the University.
3.    A candidate who fails to satisfy the Board of Examiners recommendations shall be discontinued.

6.3    Grading System
The grading of the courses shall be as follows:
A = 70% and above;
B = 60 – 69%;
C = 50 -59%;
D = 0 – 49% (fail)

7.0    Award of degree
The general rules and regulations governing the award of Masters degree of the South Eastern Kenya University and the School of Environment and Natural Resources Management shall apply. On successful completion, the candidate shall be awarded the degree of Master of Science in Climate Change and Agroforestry.

8.0  Programme Structure

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