Central Department of Botany (CDB), Tribhuvan University (TU) has been running a two years M.Sc. degree program in Biodiversity and Environment Management since 2008 in collaboration with University of Bergen (UiB), Norway and with regional partners in India (Jawaharlal Nehru University and Kumaon University) and China (Kunming Institute of Botany).The two years MSc in Biodiversity and Environmental Management (BEM) consists of a dynamic combination of course work, training and research (thesis writing) with international exposure to the students. The degree is awarded by TU, Nepal after completing 120 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System). The program was financially supported by NORAD’s Program for Master Studies (NOMA) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Norway. Three batches with 14 students in each (including four Chinese and one Indian student) have already completed M.Sc. in BEM.
The BEM program is designed to ensure long-term sustainability of biodiversity conservation and environment management by: (a) linking the course contents with national, regional and global priority and management perspectives, (b) designing of Himalayan resource mobilization strategies including sustainable use from livelihood options, and (c) training of students in leadership and management skills.
The objectives of the M.Sc. in Biodiversity and Environmental Management are to:
- Develop candidates with the ability to understand conservation and development theory, and develop an advanced knowledge of biodiversity, development policy and management.
- Provide philosophical foundation for advance research and training to undertake interdisciplinary research, analyze data and communicate effectively in an international context
- Provide an advanced critical understanding of the legislative statutory policy and
- political context in which biological resource management and development operates.
- Develop candidates with the ability to synthesize and mediate issues relating to biodiversity and environmental changes at local, regional and global scales
- Develop candidates with the ability to achieve a critical understanding of the science underpinning environment and biodiversity issues in the context of development
BEM beyond 2013
With completion of the course by three batches (2008-2013), the support from NOMA and BiU, Norway ended in December 2013. CDB is continuing this program with its internal resources and through strengthening collaboration with regional partners/universities, such as those in India and China, in the form of exchange of students, supervisors, and examiners. The long term goal of the program since its inception was also to reduce the input from UiB and substitute this with the regional collaboration.
CDB has acquired basic infrastructure to run the program through the initial financial support obtained from NOMA. CDB is continuing the program with modifications and improvements by mobilizing internal financial resources and additional funding to be obtained from Higher Education Project (HEP) and TU. A ‘sustainability fund’ developed in the past will cover the administrative cost and payment to class lectures. The support by HEP will be used to enrich the laboratories, library, research activities and other facilities.
CDB had recently revised the framework of the curriculum of M.Sc. BEM. The revised framework of the curriculum (see below) and the amended modalities has been already approved by the Faculty Board of the Institute of Science and Technology, TU. M.Sc. in BEM is truly interdisciplinary with unique combination of advanced theoretical knowledge and their application to address the current issues of biodiversity conservation and environmental management. There will be four semesters each with six months duration. In first semester, the students will be given basic theoretical knowledge on the fundamental fields of biodiversity and environmental management. In the second and third semesters, the students will get advanced knowledge on the applied aspects of biodiversity and environmental management. At the end of each semester, there will be final examination. The fourth semester is dedicated to research work as dissertation and also comprises course on biostatistics and research design. The students have to complete total course load of 63 credits in four semesters.
Until now the BEM students completed their second semester in UiB, Norway. This provision will be changed in the new modality by giving them an opportunity to visit India or China for short-term (one- to two month duration) training in specialized fields related to biodiversity and environment management. For this to happen, CDB will strengthen collaboration with regional partner institutions.
Faculties and experts
CDB has trained faculties with international exposures. Experts from outside the department, including those from government and non-government organizations within Nepal and experts from regional collaborating institutions will also be invited as regular faculty or to deliver guest lectures.
Fifteen students are admitted annually, including marginalized groups and females. The prospective students will include those who have passed three years B.Sc. in natural sciences: botany, zoology, environmental science, forestry and agriculture.
The fourth batch of the students will take admission in spring 2014 at CDB, TU and complete their degree in autumn 2015. Then next batch will take admission in spring 2016 and complete their degree in autumn 2017, and so on.
There will be internal assessments (including evaluation of seminar presentation, term papers, etc) and a final university examination at the end of the first three semesters. In the last semester, students will be examined by evaluating their thesis proposal, interim field reports and final thesis. There will be an oral presentation of student thesis.
The M.Sc. in BEM is taught in four semesters with a total 63 credits. There will be theory lectures, lab work, field work, term-paper and seminar presentation, and dissertation. The distribution of credits is as follows:
Theory lectures: 41 credits
Practical work, pilot field project and term paper presentation: 12 credits
Dissertation: 10 credits
The theory lectures cover both the core and optional courses of 2-3 credits. In the first semester only the fundamental core courses are offered. The second and third semesters comprise core and optional courses of specialized in nature and many of which have practical implications. The fourth semester mainly comprises dissertation work. It also covers fundamental aspects of research design and methods of analyzing biological data. Students will start conceptualizing their dissertation work right at the beginning of third semester and will complete at the end of fourth semester.