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MPhil Soil Health and Environmental Resources Management

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MPhil Soil Health and Environmental Resources Management

Programme Rationale

Agricultural productivity in Africa, including Ghana, is low. The result is food insecurity, malnutrition due to food shortages and low incomes. The major cause is low soil fertility due to years of smallholder farmers’ use of unsustainable soil management practices, inadequate mineral fertilizers and manure to sustain crop growth and yield, as well as inherent low soil fertility status of tropical soils. These problems need to be addressed to achieve the goal of sustainable agriculture production and food security. The solution requires large investment in scientific research, which, in turn, needs a mass of well-trained innovative Soil Scientists with the requisite knowledge and skills to deal with the current and emerging soil constraints.

However, current numbers of Soil Scientists to deal with the problems are too few (FAO, 2002; Diagana, 2003). The need to train requisite numbers of Soil Scientists to address the inherent challenges of soil infertility, low soil productivity and the resultant food insecurity informed the development of this postgraduate level curriculum for training in Soil Science.

 

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Soil Research Institute (CSIR-SRI) has the manpower and facilities to contribute to the training of the requisite critical mass of Soil Scientists at the Graduate level. This is in consonance with the mission of the Institution which is to develop knowledge and technologies for the sustainable management of Ghana’s soil resources for agriculture, industry and environmental sustenance.

Goals

The goal of the programme is to train Soil Scientists with the required competence for continuous generation of knowledge and technologies for sustainable management of tropical soils and the environment for climate-smart agriculture and enhanced livelihoods of smallholder households in the West African sub-region.

Objectives

The specific objectives of the MPhil Soil Health and Environmental Resources Management are to:

v Train a new cadre of Soil Scientists to acquire the requisite knowledge in soil physical, chemical, biological, hydrological characteristics and processes

v Enable graduates acquire skills in managing tropical soils and rehabilitation of disturbed environments for improved agricultural productivity and environmental health.

v Strengthen the research, knowledge management and communication skills of trained Soil Scientists.

 

Student Admission and Target Groups

Successful completion of an undergraduate degree in Agriculture, Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources with at least a Second Class degree from a recognized university.

Proof of competence in English Language

For international students whose primary language for education is not English, TOEFL score of 550 or its equivalent or other English Language Proficiency Attestation from a recognized institution is required as a proof of competence.

Course Structure

The MPhil Soil Health and Environmental Resources Management programme includes the following courses:

YEAR ONE, SEMESTER ONE

Course Code Course Title Hours of Contact

Theory

Hours/ week

Practical

Hours/ week

Credits
SHEM 651 Soil Resources for Agriculture   2 3 3
SHEM 653 Soil Chemistry and Fertility 2 3 3
SHEM 655 Physiology of Crop Growth and Yield 2 3 3
SHEM 657 Research Methods 2 3 3
SHEM 659 Information Management** 2 3 3
SHEM 661 French Language** 1 6 3
  Semester Total 11 21  18

YEAR ONE, SEMESTER TWO

Course Code Course Title Hours of Contact

Theory

Hours/ week

Practical

Hours/ week

Credits

 

SHEM 652 Integrated Soil Fertility Management 2 3 3
SHEM 654 Soil and Water Management and Conservation

2

3

3

SHEM 656 Soil Biology and Biochemistry 2 3 3
SHEM 658 GIS and Remote Sensing Application 2 3 3
SHEM 660 Seminar I 2 0 2
SHEM 662 Financial Management** 2 3 3
  Semester Total 12 15 17

**Students to select any Two of these Three Courses in Year 1

 

YEAR TWO, SEMESTER ONE

Course Code Course Title Hours of Contact

Theory

Hours/ week

Practical

Hours/ week

Credit

Hours

SHEM 751

Thesis Project I

Seminar II

0

2

9

0

3

2

  Semester Total   9 5

 

 

YEAR TWO, SEMESTER TWO

Course Code Course Title Hours of Contact

Theory

Hours/ week

Practical

Hours/ week

Credit

Hours

SHEM 752 Seminar III 2 0 2
SHEM 754 Thesis Project II 0 27 9
  Semester Total 2 27 11

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, students will be/have:

  • Equipped with advanced knowledge on the environmental factors and their stress effects on crops and the concept of growth; and the skill to measure crop growth and yield components as a basis for manipulating the bio-physical conditions’ of the crops for improved growth and yield.
  • Able to understand and explain the principles underlying soil nutrients dynamics and chemical processes as well as their impact on soil health and productivity.
  • Able to explain the principles underlying the characteristics of major soils of the tropics; link soil properties and their respective taxa and management; judge the sustainability or otherwise of soil resources for various uses.
  • Equipped with the requisite knowledge on climatic processes and change, and their impacts on agricultural soils and crop production to enable them design appropriate mitigation strategies through appropriate and adaptable sustainable land management technologies to achieve climate-smart agriculture.
  • In-depth understanding of the role of soil biota in soil – plant productivity, and be able to use available strategies for optimum management of soil biota in sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Equipped with knowledge on land degradation and soil and water management and conservation techniques to design site-specific measures for sustainable soil and crop productivity on farm lands; as well as skills to use the principles of soil physics in managing soils, soil and water conservation, irrigation, tillage and drainage.
  • Improved knowledge of Integrated Soil Fertility Management and skill in the management of the components for improved and sustained soil and crop productivity.
  • Improved knowledge of the foundations of the French language, and also demonstrate skill in the use of the French language in scientific and other communication.
  • Improved capacity in the use of modern ICT skills and internet resources to support scientific research and scientific information management.
  • Improved capacity to design scientific experiments, analyse and interpret experimental data and communicate research results effectively.
  • Equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills in using Remote Sensing Techniques and GIS for spatial planning and management of land resources for agricultural production and other land – based activities.
  • Equipped with the relevant knowledge and skills in corporate financial management, financial and management accounting, effective projects financing.
  • Use of modern ICT tools and internet resources in thesis, scientific writing and scientific research; presentation skills.

The ultimate outcome is that students would be equipped with the knowledge and skills of a competent Soil Scientist to sustainably manage tropical soils for improved agricultural production and sustenance of ecosystem integrity without compromising environmental health