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Centre for Wildlife Management

BSc(Hons) (Wildlife Management)

The BSc (Hons) (Wildlife Management) degree course starts in January and ends in December of the same year. Each individual student is given a research topic on a wildlife ranch or nature reserve, within a chosen field of interest. On average four weeks are initially spent on the project, merging theory and practice. The remainder of the time is spent on campus with course work, seminars, practical sessions and data analysis.

The course work includes communication skills, computer literacy, research project design, animal population dynamics, wildlife management techniques, nutrition, wildlife capture and diseases, range evaluation of ecological capacity, wildlife ecology, vegetation classification and dynamics, soil classification and social anthropology. Selected excursions to wilderness areas are also part of the course.



1. Introduction:

The Centre for Wildlife Management is part of the Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, which in turn falls under the auspices of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences of the University of Pretoria.

The first wildlife management course started in 1965. This eventually led to the establishment of the Eugène Marais Chair of Wildlife Management in 1970.

The current Honours degree in Wildlife Management being offered by the Centre is a one-year full-time postgraduate degree.

2. Prerequisites for admission:

Prospective students for the BSc (Hons) degree must have completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree with ecology, veterinary biology, zoology and/or botany or a relevant subject; or a BSc (Agric) (Animal Sciences and/or Plant Production); or a BSc (Forestry), or a BVSc degree (Veterinary Science), or a degree of similar nature. The selection process is done on merit.

Students who obtained their degrees in countries outside South Africa must provide acceptable documentation regarding the USA or United Kingdom equivalence of their degrees. All foreign degrees are subject to confirmation of their status by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) (

Confirmation must be obtained before a student attempts to register at the University of Pretoria. All international students are obliged to submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)( to the University before registration.

MSc and PhD studies are research based only but they require a suitable lower degree in wildlife management as prerequisite.

3. Closing date for applications:

Applications should reach the Registrar of the University of Pretoria before 15 October, at the latest, of the year preceding registration. Applications must be accompanied by a certified full academic record that include all the subjects taken and the grades obtained. Application can be done online for registration at the University of Pretoria.

4. Duration of the course:

The full-time BSc(Hons) course comprises one year. The programme usually starts late in January and ends in December of the same year.

5. Finances:

Some local bursaries are available through the Student Services section of the University of Pretoria for more information. Foreign students should be financially self-sufficient.

The BSc(Hons) course:

The course is both varied and stimulating. It includes field excursions, a research project with an associated report and seminars prepared by every student on a subject related to conservation or wildlife management, and informal and formal lectures.

For details on the course codes and credits please consult the faculty yearbook which is available on the web.

Nature of the Course

Besides lectures and practicals, research projects under the guidance of staff of the Centre form an important part of the training programme. The writing of seminars, formulation of a project protocol and participation in field excursions form an integral part of the course. Informal lectures, seminars and practicals by for example: entomologists, microbiologists, plant pathologists, economists and visiting lecturers and researchers are organized and are compulsory. Additional courses or practicals will be arranged depending on the costs and finances available.
Lectures are in English. The accent is on discussion classes more than on formal lectures. Students compile their own notes, based upon the lectures, the course outlines and independent reading.

Course objectives

Upon completion of the Honours course the student should:

  • Have a thorough relevant theoretical knowledge of wildlife management principles and techniques and be
    able to apply these independently.
  • Have a thorough relevant wildlife management practical knowledge and experience and be able to apply it
  • Display scientific insight and be able to express himself/herself in an accountable way on the subject.
  • Be able to identify a specific problem, to formulate an applicable hypothesis and project proposal based on
    thorough literature research, and to do field research in a responsible way so as to solve the problem and
    test the hypothesis.
  • Be able to act in a responsible way and with confidence in practical wildlife management.

Research project

The major aim of the research project is to learn how to do field research, and and to prepare a scientific publication. It also aims to guide the student, under the supervision of a lecturer, in the planning, execution and documenting of the research, as well as the oral presentation of the proposal and final results. Project topics are usually supplied by the Centre.


Various seminars on a conservation or wildlife management subject are done separately or as part of a given course. The aims are to train the student in the methodology of literature research, as well as the interpretation, evaluation, structuring, ordering and documenting of the available literature on a given subject, and to train the student in oral communication through the oral delivery of seminars.

Composition of the Honours programme

Field excursions

  • Selected excursions to wilderness areas - to be advised after the start of the course each year. This was replaced by the attendance of the annual South African Wildlife Management Conference.
  • Shorter excursions: ad hoc as the opportunities arise - at each student’s own cost. Can also be
    arranged by students at their own initiative.

Introductory Courses
Duration of 1 to 2 weeks and done partly during the mornings and afternoons at the onset of the programme.Topics include: library use, computer use (main frame and micro-computers), project planning and the writing of seminars and research reports.

Informal lectures, seminars and practicals
In addition to the subject courses, it is compulsory for all students to attend all seminars and practicals that are organized on an ad hoc basis.

Formal written examinations are completed at the end of the first and second semesters. For the Honours degree an aggregate mark of at least 50% must be obtained for each module.

The course content includes (to be revised for 2015):

Zoological courses:

  • Animal population dynamics
  • Wildlife management and research techniques
  • Wildlife nutrition
  • Wildlife diseases and capture

Botanical courses:

  • Veld evaluation and veld management
  • Vegetation of South Africa
  • Plant taxonomy
  • Plant dynamics and phenology
  • Vegetation classification

Supplementary courses:

  • Soil classification
  • Man and natural resources
  • Other relevant topics
  • GIS
The research project, which is completed under supervision, consists of an initial in-depth literature study of a topic on conservation or wildlife management. The physical execution of the fieldwork for the research follows. This is followed by the data analysis and submission of the results in a paper and/or report form, and an oral presentation by way of a mini-symposium for the entire Honours group.

Practical experience:

Students gain hands on experience through field excursions and their accompanying lectures and practical demonstrations of wildlife management. They also do practical work where specialists in their fields are invited as guest lecturers.









After completion of the course, a student will have acquired a fair grounding in general ecology and in wildlife management principles and techniques. Graduates can also apply for membership of professional organizations such as the South African Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Scientists and the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions. For those wishing to extend their knowledge and/or to specialize further, an MSc in Wildlife Management or a relevant PhD is possible, depending upon the level of achievement in the Honours programme. The latter two degrees are based on research only and require formal training in wildlife management as a prerequisite.