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AZA3546: Environmental impact assessment

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate – Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal datesfor the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Dr Agnes Babugura


South Africa

  • First semester 2018 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units.


AZA2546, ATS2546, ATS3546


Environmental impact assessment (EIA) has become an important environmental planning tool, aiding decision-makers in mitigating the environmental impact of projects and policies and providing critical information to guide decisions about whether some projects and policies should be rejected.

The unit provides background information about the origins and development of EIA. It introduces to students the process of environmental impact assessment and analysis, the development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the effect of both on the public. It also examines the processes by which the potential environmental consequences of development proposals are analysed and evaluated. Using case studies, students learn how EIAs are implemented in Southern Africa and elsewhere. This is done from a positive and negative perspective. The unit furthermore explores legislative frameworks for environmental decision-making (EDM) from a global perspective and in so doing, considers other decision-making tools such as cost-benefit analysis, environmental audits and environmental management plans (EMPs).


  1. Understand and explain stages in the EIA process;
  2. Understand and describe methods used in undertaking EIA;
  3. Understand the interface between project and EIA life cycles;
  4. Knowledge of legislative frameworks for environmental decision-making (EDM) and values in EIA;
  5. Knowledge of EIA institutional, legal and policy provisions in Southern Africa and elsewhere;
  6. Ability to critically analyse proposed development project plans for possible environmental effects and identify mitigation measures.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Agnes Babugura

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Development studies – South Africa
Geography and environmental science – South Africa

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