Development of the University of Belize’s First Graduate Program Spearheaded by the ERI
Classes are now in full swing for what is the University of Belize’s first ever graduate program offering. The Regional Master of Science (M.Sc.) Program in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development is in fact the result of a joint collaborative initiative amongst four Caribbean universities: the University of Belize (UB), the University of the West Indies-St. Augustine (UWI), University of Guyana (UG) and Anton de Kom University in Suriname. The development of M.Sc. by these four Universities was funded through the European Union’s EDULINK Program and the ERI serves as the program’s academic focal point at UB and in Belize. The mission of the M.Sc. program is to prepare a cadre of professionals for the region who understand the principles of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development and are able to apply the most recent techniques and findings towards the sustainable development of their countries. The program hopes to graduate the future Biodiversity Conservation leaders in the region.
The new M.Sc. is very unique in that it provides extensive coverage of an array of subjects in the biodiversity conservation and sustainable development field delivered to students through a mix of online distance learning (ODL) and face-to-face interaction. This program promises to integrate the expertise of highly regarded professors from Belize and all participating universities providing different approaches and teaching methods from across the Caribbean. This will allow students a more extensive and all inclusive learning experience. At the University of Belize, professors from several departments and offices, including the ERI, the Department of Science and the Office of Research, are teaching within the program. More than 40 students are currently enrolled in the program; 10 of them are from Belize. Apart from the online courses, this summer students will have the opportunity to meet and exchange experiences through a practical course scheduled to be offered in both Suriname and in Belize, at the Calabash Caye Field Station (CCFS) that the ERI manages. In addition to the field practicum all students will complete a research project of interest under the advice and supervision of faculty members at the four universities. As UB’s acting president, Dr. Morter- Lewis stated the program will provide students “with experiences and mutual learning that will foster creativity, progress and cultural diversity”.
For more information on the M.Sc. Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development visit the following links: