For Regular Program



1. Background

The Geography and Environmental Studies Program at Bahir Dar University has undergone developmental stages that range from the status of embedded department to a full-fledged one. Before 1973 E.C., Geography had been embedded in the Social Science department when the various disciplines taught in the Academy of Pedagogy were grouped under Pedagogy, Social Science and Natural Science departments. In 1973 E.C, a syllabus was designed and Geography became an independent department from then onwards in this university and it is one of the oldest departments in the then Bahir Dar Teachers College.

Throughout its long history the Geography and Environmental Studies Program at Bahir Dar University has trained a number of students in various programs at undergraduate level: Regular, Extension, summer and, currently, Distance programs. The training has been at different levels at different times. From 1973 to 1988 E.C, for instance, the program used to train at a diploma level. As a teacher training department it has trained several teachers for the second cycle primary and secondary schools of Ethiopia. From 1989 E.C, onwards, however, the program has been training both in diploma, which is limited to extension program, and B. Ed degree in all programs. Since the 2003 academic year, it has embarked a post graduate program in GIS and has developed Master of Arts in Geography and Environmental Studies program at the beginning of the second semester of 2007 academic year. Besides its regular program the MA program has been running evening and summer. Among the potential specialty areas of postgraduate studies in geography and environmental studies at Bahir Dar University, currently the Faculty is prepared to begin in two specialty areas; one in “Environmental Management” and the second in the field of “Population Studies”. Both of the programs would be carried out as fulltime regular programme.

Currently, by realizing the growing need of qualified professionals in Environmental Management, the program has prepared itself to address the increasing demand for professionals who can conduct research in various issues by employing various spatial technologies. To attain this objective the program has already established this regular curriculum by using its long year experience. Thus, the program will produce high-level professionals at MA level who will use their knowledge and skills to solve environmental problems that are faced by the Ethiopian society at present. Therefore, this document is prepared as Environmental Management curriculum.



Environmental problems are becoming among the most critical development problems of mankind in the world, which threatens the entire human civilization and all livelihoods. The global environmental problems like global warming, diminishing of biodiversity, and growing shortages in freshwater supplies, air pollution, and accumulation of green house gases are sample examples. The expansion of urban environment has also become more complex and challenging recently. Various developing countries, to which Ethiopia belongs, are particularly facing innumerable environmental problems due to environmental degradation, fast population growth and lack of knowledge as well as appropriately skilled personnel.

The government of Ethiopia has launched the transformation and growth plan in order to enhance the economic development of the nations in the coming five years. The plan is dealing with intensification of agricultural activities and promoting the nations to industrial one. The Nationwide effort to develop the economy and the transformation of the society obviously demands a lot of qualified manpower at higher levels. Most posts in the different sectors of the economy at different levels are staffed by less qualified personnel. None of Universities of Ethiopia has been offering Master of Arts degree in Environmental Management currently but only very few courses by joining with other disciplines like Geography and Environmental Studies, Agriculture, Environmental Science and Development studies only in few Universities. There is still a lot of gap in the training capacity of the universities and hence the demand for such a highly qualified human power by the different sectors in the country.

For successful implementation of sustainable Environmental management, however, a holistic understanding of the natural processes and their link with social-economic-technological-institutional/political arena is needed and hence a relevant training program at graduate level is absolutely necessary. Environmental Management program is, therefore, needed to address the holistic nature of environmental management issues at global, continental and national levels particularly in Ethiopia applying Geographic Information System (GIS) including Remote Sensing (RS) technologies emerged as the main tools of spatial analysis and graphical presentation in geographical and Environmental problem.

The program of Geography and environmental Studies is trying to use this dynamic situation in preparing young, conscious and environmentally friendly man power that can halt the damage of the environment for the existing and coming generations. Hence, this new curriculum as part of major reforms taking place at Bahir Dar University in the light of the changing and challenging environmental, economic and social problems as noted hereinbefore. Therefore, it has now embarked this MA program, at least, to partially contribute in meeting the demands of such qualified professionals to our region and the country at large.

3. Professional and Graduate Profile

3.1 Professional profile


The Master of Environmental Management degree prepares students for careers in environmental policy and analysis, green business, design and planning, conservation and stewardship, education, and consulting. The program requires coursework from the diverse perspectives of the natural and social sciences, with a focus on the complex relationships among science, management, and policy.

A professional being trained in environmental management is particularly relevant to understand the diversity of environmental phenomena, the relations between societies and the natural environment, the relationships between global processes and local outcomes, and the process of developments. Moreover, environmental management students are taught research methods and tools including fieldwork, map making, geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing. With such diverse training capacities, graduates have many professional opportunities as educators (in secondary high schools, colleges and universities), office managers (in transport, factories & industries, societal, economic & environmental development areas), community development experts, urban and regional planners, and researchers. Moreover, they have many vocational opportunities in cartography, map making, GIS and remote sensing and also, can have fascinating jobs in local and international NGOs. These courses aim to provide students with the following knowledge, attitudes and skills:

  • Develop tools to Conduct Environmental Impact assessment,
  • Develop environmental policies, measures and standards,
  • Participate in Development of corporate environmental plans, policies, and procedures,
  • Appraise techniques of environmental risk assessments and environmental management Systems,
  • Conduct research on environmental communications and awareness programs,
  • Develop the skill of identifying a respond to a range of critical environmental management and rehabilitation issues and the complex nature of most environmental issues, involving an interdisciplinary approach to environmental management and restoration issues
  • appropriate use of data sources, data collection and storage and critical data analysis and efficient use of computer technology and modeling


3.2 Graduate profile

Environmental Management is the planning and implementation of actions geared to improve the quality of the human environment. The postgraduate program in environmental management at Bahir Dar University is multidisciplinary program designed to enhance the skills and technical expertise of graduates working in all facets of the environmental arena. The programs aim to produce managers able to address the many issues in the highly complex and changing area of environmental management.

The curriculum of the program is designed with the view that graduates who complete their education from the program shall be able to:-

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of spatio-temporal distributions in both physical and human phenomena, and use geographic and environment perspectives to evaluate, make decisions about, and report on issues, processes, and events;
  • Apply broad and substantive knowledge of environmental resource analysis, management and their sustainable use;
  • Have capacity to apply the acquired knowledge and skill in identifying key actors in nature conservation and to play a role in creating a conducive environment for resource-use systems that conserve nature;
  • Use of participatory management systems that better help achieve the national conservation strategy and rural development policy of the country;
  • Design project planning, monitoring, and evaluation components in terms of natural resource management and for providing feedback to the community and to policy makers
    • Identify, collect and compile information through archives, field survey; aerial photographs and remotely sensed data to alleviate spatio-temporal problems of physical & human environment and develop potentialities,
    • Use different theories and models to understand and explain spatio-temporal processes, trends and patterns related to human and physical environment,
    • Generate, organize , and analyze Geo-data for Spatial Decision Support system
    • Apply modern tools and techniques like GIS and remote sensing in managing resources and protecting environment for sustainable development
    • Conduct researches, which are beneficial to society and present the result of their findings in clear and coherent manner;
    • Appreciate the natural environment, work on resources and environmental degradation, pollution and population explosion, which are global issues of today’s,
    • Involve as an expert in environmental protection and monitoring issues;
    • Actively participate in environmental impact assessment research undertakings.
    • Make Environmental consulting and cooperatively working as part of a small team



The general objective of Environmental Management Graduate Program is to produce scholars and practitioners who are capable in effectively analyze and manage environmental resources and engage in sustainable development planning.

Specific Objectives

The graduate program in Environmental Management aims at producing graduates who will be able to:

  • Teach in high schools, colleges and universities ;
  • Contribute to the formulation and implementation of environmental, economic and social policies and plans;
  • Shoulder management responsibilities in different development efforts.
  • undertaking research independently in issues of resources analysis and management and capable of initiating innovative solutions to mitigate un sustainability of environment and development
  • analyzing the spatial and temporal dimensions of the complex human-environment relationships
  • planning, designing, and implementing sustainable natural resource management technologies and approaches
  • applying the acquired skills and knowledge in identifying and giving solutions to various problems related to environmental issues
  • Providing fundamental knowledge of various components of environment and resource management.
  • Fostering inter-disciplinary approach by building scientific, technological, legal, economic, social and policy perspective.
  • Creating an understanding of the economic, social, political and legal frameworks for environmental management



The stream of Geography and Environmental Studies has carried out need assessment in 14 different organizations in Federal, Amhara, Tigray, Addis Ababa, South Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, Oromiya Regional States, Dire Dewa City Administration, and Hareri Region, which found that the demand of such kind of professionals is very high. The Report shows that in the coming five years different bureaus need almost thousands of trained man power in the field of Environmental Management. This encouraging feedback has motivated the department to open the program.


6. PROGRAM RequirementS

The program has specific requirements both for admission and graduation as outlined herein after.

6.1. Admission Requirements                                                                

Incoming master’s students are expected to Comply with the general regulations for admission to the Graduate Program of Bahir Dar University, to have BA/B.ed/ B.Sc. in Geography or Geography and Environmental Studies or Geography and Environmental Management, Environmental Science, Agriculture or any related discipline from accredited university/college. Applicants who have BA/B.ed/B.Sc Degree related fields that go with Environmental Management such as natural resource management; development studies and economics can also be considered. The applicants must be those who have taken/capable/interested in GIS and Statistical Methods. And also pass an entrance examination. Selection for admission into the MA Program in Environmental Management is made on the basis of the candidate’s performance in the entrance examination, letters of recommendation and the undergraduate performance measured in terms of Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) equal to 2.00 and above.


6.2. Duration of Study

The curriculum extends for two years and for one year of full-time coursework and another one year for thesis writing as specified in section. Extending the duration beyond two years requires the permission of the Program graduate council (PGC) and Graduate School. The program requires extensive laboratory sessions and many other field exposures, travel to various part of the country. Furthermore, to write the MA thesis students need to conduct field survey. Therefore, students are expected to complete the program at the level of expectation.


6.3. Assigning of Module and Course names and Codes

Regarding the naming of modules, it is based onthe Guideline for Modularization to Ethiopian Higher Education Institutions Organized by Higher Education Strategy Center (HESC), Ministry of Education, June 2012, which suggested the naming directly or indirectly relate to the content of the modules and the identified competencies to be achieved by the respective modules.


  1. a.Module code

The module code should show

  • Home base (to which program/department does the module belong?)
  • Level of students (years)
  • Module Number
  • Category (Core, Elective, General ---)


Example: Module GeES_M5011 (GeES indicate home base of the program Ge-geography and ES-Environmental Studies, 5- level that is postgraduate as fifth year (12+5), 01 module number, 1- category of the module i.e, core).


  1. course code

The course code should show

  • Home base
  • Level of students (years)
  • Module Number No space is needed between GeES and 5011.
  • Order of the course in the module

GeES5011 (5- level, 01 module number, 1- order of the course in the module).

6.4. Assessment/ grading and Evaluation

Students will be assessed through series of presentations, project/seminar paper writing, oral examination, lab and field reports and final written exam as the specific demand of the given course. The thesis will be evaluated by the board of examiners composed of external and internal examiners and the session of examination will be chaired by the main supervisor.

The grading system for course work will be norm referenced and will be written in the transcripts using letter grading approach as per the university legislation. Abovealltherequirementswillbeboundbytheuniversity legislation. The thesis will be graded as Excellent, very good, good, and satisfactory and fail. The grade will be accepted if and only if the comments forwarded by examiners are included in the final version of the thesis. This has to be verified in writings by the supervisor. The final paper has to be submitted to the school of graduate studies following the standard format of the graduate school in four copies.

6.5. Graduation Requirements

The following are the essential requirements for graduation:

  • Students will be eligible for graduation upon successful completion of all the courses (28 credit hours). The minimum grade point average (GPA) required for graduation is 3.0 and above, and no grade below C.
  • Successfully defend his/her thesis and score a minimum grade of “satisfactory”.
    • or
  • To obtain an MA degree in Environmental Management, a student must have a pass in each of the required modules, a Cumulative Average Point of at least 34 out of 56 EtCTS and Pass in his/her MA thesis.


7. Teaching Strategies

Module execution methods of the program include lectures, report writing, presentation & seminars, independent readings, and field-based studies. Students will be required to write term-papers, fieldwork reports and essays, as necessary. Student evaluations will be based on their performance in these activities.

8. ASSESSMENT/ evaluation of the program and Quality Assurance

Performance of the program will be monitored regularly by the PGC, through its regular meetings, and an overall evaluation of achievements and problems will be undertaken after the first two batches of students graduated. It is hoped that the students will provide important feedback as to their original expectations and experiences in passing through the program. Employers of graduates and other relevant stakeholders will also be contacted and provide feedback on the performance of graduates.  

The quality of the program will be maintained at the highest standard possible by periodically reviewing the curriculum and the teaching methodology, in reference to similar programs in leading universities in other countries of the world. Results from the program assessment/ evaluation activities will also be important sources of information in gauging quality of the program. In order to embark on their MA thesis research, students need to complete the package programs described below.


9. Degree Nomenclature

Students completing the graduate program of the Environmental Management will be awarded Master of Arts Degree in Environmental Management                                      የማስተርአርትዲግሪበአካባቢእንክብካቤናአያያዝ


Staff Profile







Abate Shiferaw(Ph D)

Assit. Prof

M.A.(A.A.U.), Ph.D. (A.A.U.)

Land Resource Management:

Land Evaluation and Planning


Amare Sewnet (Ph D)

Assit. Prof

B.A. (BDU), M. Sc. (AAU)

Ph.D. (Andhra, India.)

Population and Environment and GIS and RS

  1. 3

ChalachewGetahun(Ph D)

Assit. Prof.

BEd. (KCTE), M.A. (AAU), Ph.D. (A.A.U)

Socio-Economic Development Planning and Environment


Arega Bazezew

Assit. Prof.

B.A. (AAU), M.A. (AAU)

Food Security and Economic Geography


Ferede Zewdu

Assit. Prof.

B.A. (AAU), M.A. (AAU)

Physical Geography


Mulugeta Neka

Assit. Prof.

B.A. (AAU), M.A. (AAU), M.ED. (Umea University) Sweden)

Physical Geography and GIS



Daniel Ayalew*


B.A. (BDU), M.A. (AAU), PGD in RS/GIS (ARCSSTE-E, Nigeria)

Land Resource Management and Climatology and GIS


Fissaha Hailu

Assit. Prof

B.A. (AAU), M.A. (AAU)

Human Geography


Kerebih Asres*


B.A. (BDU), M.Sc. (AAU)

Population Studies and Social Works


Sileshi Teshge


B.A. (AAU), M.SC. (AAU)

Population Studies


Dereje Guteta*


B.A. (AAU) M.A. (AAU)

Land Resource Management


Dugasa Negash*


B.A. (BDU) M.A. (AAU)

Land Resource Management and Climatology


Fikrte Demissie*


B.A. (BDU), M.A. (AAU)

Land Use and Regional Planning


Fitsum Dechasa


B.A. (BDU), M.A. (AAU)

Environmental Studies


Mesfin Anteneh


B.A. (BDU), M.A. (AAU)

Physical Geography


Mintesnot Azene*


B.A. (BDU), M.A. (AAU)

Environmental Studies

*On study leave


10. Course Breakdown

List of Modules offered in Environmental Management

Module Name

Module code

Course title




Environmental Management


Integrated Environmental Resources management




Environmental Management system and development




Environmental Impact Assessment




Climate and Natural Resources Management


Climate Change and Society




Land Evaluation and Land Use Planning




Integrated Watershed Management

GeES 5023



Biodiversity Conservation and Management




Research Tools of Environmental Management


Advanced Research Methodology




Application of GIS and RS for Environmental Management




Seminars on Contemporary Ethiopian Environmental Issues  




MA Thesis








                          Conversion Factor: 109 Cr.Hr. = 180 EtCTS 0r               1 Cr.Hr = 1.65 ECTS