BSc(Hons) (Wildlife Management)
The BSc (Hons) (Wildlife Management) degree course starts in January and ends in November/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 two weeks per month 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 and 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.
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, which still serves as the driving force behind the Centre.
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) (http://www.saqa.org.za).
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)(http://www.toefl.org/) 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.
The MPhil Wildlife Management course requires a minimum qualification equivalent to a South African four-year curriculum university degree or a three-year curriculum university degree plus a honours degree.
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 November/December of the same year.
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 and are supported by study manuals in Afrikaans or 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.
Before the degree is awarded, all students must provide proof of having successfully completed an acceptable statistics course (see later). This course does not form an integral component of the final mark for the Honours course.
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 it 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.
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 the seminar.
Composition of the Honours programme
- Selected excursions to wilderness areas - to be advised after the start of the course each year. In 2012 this was replaced by all students attending the annual South African Wildlife Management Conference which was highly successful and this may be done again.
- Shorter excursions: ad hoc as the opportunities arise - at each student’s own cost. Can also be
arranged by students at their own initiative.
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 in all of the modules specified below. A pass will be given, if in one module only a sub-minimum of 40% was obtained. Exceptions will, however, be evaluated on merit.
No re-examinations are given. Supplementary exams are granted only on individual merit to obtain a pass grade (50%), bursary grade (65%), or distinction grade (75%). The student's record through the year, his or her attitude, motivation and quality of project work will determine whether or not a supplementary exam will be granted. Theoretically a candidate with a fail mark in only one module, and passes (50% plus) in all the others, can fail. With a supplementary exam it is understood that the candidate is not granted permission to prepare again for the exam as is the case in a re-examination.
The curriculum is compiled in consultation with the Director of the Centre for Wildlife Management from the courses stated below or any other relevant courses. The courses listed below, which have specific credits, are required for all students. Note: equal credits are supplemented by other course work and/or additional seminars, where a candidate has exemption for similar courses already completed successfully.
The course content includes:
- Animal population dynamics
- Wildlife management and research techniques
- Wildlife nutrition
- Wildlife diseases and capture
- Veld evaluation and veld management
- Vegetation of South Africa
- Plant taxonomy
- Plant dynamics and phenology
- Vegetation classification
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.
- Soil classification
- Man and natural resources
- Other relevant topics
Before completion of the Honours programme, all students must also have completed a statistics course (Biometry 120) or its equivalent. Students who have this qualification upon admission are not required to repeat such a course. This is a Faculty requirement.
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.
The research project undertaken by the students entails fieldwork, approximately three to four months a year, depending on the individual projects. This time is spent gaining first-hand knowledge about a conservation or wildlife research subject.
THE VAN SCHAIK PRIZE IN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
This prize may be awarded annually to the student with the best result in the final exams of the BSc(Hons)(Wildlife Management) course. The aggregate course mark must be at least 65%. An appropriate certificate supplied by the donor will be awarded on the same day as the prize, usually just before the graduation ceremony.
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.