BSc (Hon) (Wildlife Management)

The BSc (Hons) Wildlife Management program, although about managing wildlife, is primarily a science Hon degree that teaches students how to be scientists. The primary aim is therefore, not how to handle animals directly (although game capture is covered), it is how to do research and how to make decisions as to how vegetation should be managed to maintain wildlife populations, and then using quantitative population dynamics skills to manage numbers for whatever purpose (e.g. harvest or conservation). The course therefore has much plant related work, some maths, statistics and other scientific skills.


The Honours degree course starts in January and ends in December of the same year. Each individual student is given a research topic within a chosen field of interest. On average four weeks are initially spent on the project in the field, 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 statistics, 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, and vegetation classification and dynamics. 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 relevant wildlife management practical knowledge and experience and be able to apply it independently.

  • 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. None field work projects can also be offered if need. This module also aims to guide the student, under the supervision of a lecturer, in the planning, execution and documentation of the research, as well as the oral presentation of the proposal and final results. Project topics are usually supplied by the Centre.20170313_162349.jpg



Various seminars on a conservation or wildlife management subject are done separately or as part of the group. 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 wildlife areas - to be advised after the start of the course each year. One or more of these may be replaced with the attendance of a symposium, usually 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, with CWM help.


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.


Prospects: After completion of the course, a student will have acquired a 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.    


History of the CWM

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 (presently held by the Director) in 1970, and then the CWM in 1990.




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.




Closing date for applications:

Applications should reach the Registrar of the University of Pretoria before 30 October (check on the web for revisions on this) 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.




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



- Author Yolanda Pretorius, Michael Somers and Mark Keith

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