The Department of Geology was founded in 1979 and the first B.Sc. Geology class graduated in 1983. In its early years, the department produced a handful of B.Sc. graduates annually. Numbers have steadily increased and fourteen graduates were present in 2005. Staff numbers have increased from an initial three academic positions to the present twelve academic, five technical positions and a departmental secretary and personal secretary.
History of MSc Programme in Hydrogeology Programmme
The Department of Geology started its MSc Programme in Hydrogeology in 1999. The MSc programme in hydrogeology in the Department of Geology was introduced to assist in addressing the lack adequately trained manpower (capacity) in the water sector. Botswana being a semi arid country has limited water resources, both surface and groundwater resources. With a rapidly expanding economy, there is an increasing demand in water both for domestic and industrial uses. This demand cannot be made without having highly trained manpower in the water sector. In order to meet the increasing demand for highly trained personnel in the water sector in Botswana and the SADC region, the Department drew up a proposal to introduce a masters degree programme in hydrogeology in 1992. After a long delay, the proposal was finally approved by the University of Botswana Council on 11th November 1999. A comprehensive needs assessment was conducted before introducing the MSc programme. The responses to the needs assessment survey indicated that prospective graduates of this programme were in high demand in Botswana and other SADC countries. The respondents to the needs assessment survey included the Departments of Water Affairs, Geological Surveys, the Ministry of Agriculture (small dams division), Roads Department, District Councils, mining companies, groundwater consulting companies, and NGOs.
The MSc programme in hydrogeology was due to start in August 2001, with six candidates were admitted into the programme. However, due to lack of fellowships for the students, the programme could not start as planned. The programme finally started in August 2002 by admitting five candidates; all of them were graduates of the UB Geology programme. Subsequently, students from DR Congo, Zimbawe, Namibia, Ethiopia and Nigeria have been in the programme.
The Department has a full-fledged Computer Laboratory loaded with various surface and groundwater model, geophysical and GIS software packages and other application programmes for students use. The hydrogeology and geophysics labs also have adequate facility to undertake research in Hydrogeology. The Department also houses the Faculty’s XRD and ICP-MS Laboratories. The Department also shares the same building with the Department of Environmental Science which has a modern Water Analysis and Soils laboratory.
The Department has a lively seminar series, involving presentations from both students and staff. In addition to these, sometimes special seminars from eminent visiting scholars are held for the benefit of graduate students and the University community.
The Department has successfully organized and hosted the 1st International Conference on Water Resources of Arid and Semi-arid Regions of Africa from 2-6 August 2004 attracting more than 100 participants from Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia.