About the Department

Brief overview
Welcome to the department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Jimma University. We are in Jimma City – the beautiful green city, in Southwest Oromia, Ethiopia. Our department is located in the main campus of Jimma University on first floor – Room A104, of College of Social Sciences and Humanities Building.
Understanding and managing our environment is the most crucial task of our world today. Thus, we seek to research and understand our environment. It is based on the principle, understanding the environment that we from the department of Geography and Environmental Studies endeavor to produce competent environmental managers, consultants, teachers and experts. The department is currently running two basic programs. The first is the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) regular program, in which we admit students for ten-month duration for three consecutive years for students who fulfill the university admission criteria set by Ministry of Education and five-year period for summer (Kiremt) in-service teachers drawn from school systems of Ethiopia. The second is graduate program, which is two-year duration for regular fulltime students in Geography and Environmental Studies (M.A.) and Geographic Information System and Remote Sensing (M.Sc.). We also admit summer in-service applicants to both graduate programs for four-year duration. The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree we offer is organized in two sub specializations of Urban and Regional Development Planning, and Land Resources Analysis and Management.
The department of Geography and Environmental Studies has made remarkable transformation over the past couple of decades. It started operation by one instructor, who used to teach ‘Introduction to Geography of Ethiopia’ a common course given for students of Health Sciences at the then Institute of Health Science in 1990s. Hence, it emerged from being part of ‘Basic Science Unit’ in the institute to an amalgamate of department of ‘Social Science’ with History in 2000 to, finally, a separate or independent department of Geography and Environmental Studies in 2004. At the time, the department admitted 280 students into its regular Bachelor of Education program and 50 students to Diploma evening program. Now, in 2019, the department of Geography and Environmental Studies has total student population of 940 in undergraduate and graduate programs. There is huge gap in gender balance in the department. The proportion of female students is at the maximum of 24% at undergraduate program, and it stands at a minimum of 7% at graduate program. The overall program enrolled only 20%% or 188 female students in 2019. We have admitted our first foreign student Christiane Nabintu Migbo from D.R. Congo into our graduate program of GIS and Remote Sensing in 2019.
Curriculum structure of the programs was designed to build on strong foundational years of interdisciplinary studies at both undergraduate and graduate programs. Therefore, the curricula offer opportunities for students to gain skills in creative thinking, independent research and comprehend analytical methods and theoretical approaches. The curriculum being used for teaching undergraduate students was revised by professionals of the discipline under the auspices of Ministry of Education in 2009 and further revision or modification of the curriculum is expected as a result of recent structural change of higher education in universities and higher institutions of Ethiopia. Meanwhile, the curricula for graduate programs were designed by the department of Geography and Environmental Studies and approved by the University Senate in 2015.
Geography graduates work in both the teaching and non-teaching professions and contribute significantly to the socioeconomic development of the country.
 Vision of the department
The department aspires to be internationally recognized as one the departments which elevated geography up to its twenty-first century standard.
 Mission of the department
The department mission is to produce competent geographic literate and environmental conscious graduates.

 External Links
The department carries out its duties of teaching, research, and community services internally and externally in collaboration with several departments of different colleges of the university and with numerous, municipalities, agencies, organizations, and ministries in Ethiopia. We offer interdisciplinary courses to our undergraduate program, to mention some Introduction to Surveying, Mathematics for Geographer, Community Based Training Program, Micro Economics, Macro Economics, etc. These courses and others are being offered in collaboration with departments and institutes outside of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. Externally, we have close collaboration and work relations with municipalities of Jimma City Administration, and Bedele Town, Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ethiopia, and Environment, Forest and climate Change Commission of Ethiopia. The Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (www.csa.gov.et), National Meteorological Agency of Ethiopia (www.ethiomet.gov.et), United States Geological Survey (https://www.usgs.gov), Ethiopian Geo-Spatial Information Agency of Ethiopia are some of our regular data providers. Our staff are highly engaged in research activities and community outreach all over Ethiopia. To this effect Jimma University is continuously providing us with research assistance. GiZ Ethiopia (https://www.giz.de/en) is also our research partner.