Programme: MSc Ruminant Health (Coursework)

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Code Faculty
08251024 Faculty of Veterinary Science
Credits Duration NQF level
Minimum duration of study: 2 years Total credits: 180 NQF level:  09

Programme information

This programme is offered by the Department of Paraclinical Sciences.

This degree programme underlines the major health and production considerations in domesticated ruminants. It caters for the needs of candidates who wish to extend their knowledge and skills that they have gained during their undergraduate training and aims to allow them to practise at a higher level.

The curriculum consists of compulsory core and elective theoretical modules (90 credits) as well as a mini-dissertation (90 credits).

Also consult General Regulations. 
Students are required to confirm whether a module will be presented in any particular year. This enquiry should be directed to the relevant head of department according to the syllabi information provided in the list of modules in this publication.

Admission requirements

  • Subject to the stipulations of the applicable General Regulations, a BScHons, a four-year BScAgric, BVSc or equivalent degree or a relevant postgraduate diploma (on NQF level 8) is required.
  • Two years of professional experience might be required in certain cases.

Additional Requirements

  • In cases where web-based/online modules are offered, basic computer skills are required in order to successfully participate in the degree programme.
  • In certain cases, it remains the prerogative of the head of department to require, in addition to the entrance requirements, the successful completion of an admissions test before registration.
  • All international applicants whose first language is not English, may be required to pass a proficiency test in English (TOEFL). Application and more information:
  • Postgraduate applicants who have completed any foreign qualifications must have all their previous post-school qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) before applying for postgraduate studies at the University of Pretoria:

Examinations and pass requirements

A minimum examination mark of 50% is required in each of the modules where a semester or year mark is not required. However, where a semester or year mark is required, the latter will contribute 50% to the final mark. A subminimum of 40% is required in the examination and a final mark of at least 50 % to pass the module. Instructions regarding requirements for semester, year or examination marks are published in the study guides, for the specific attention of candidates. 

The MSc coursework degree is conferred by virtue of the successful completion of examinations on the coursework modules and a mini-dissertation. 

If a student fails a module, he/she will have to repeat the module the following year. A module cannot be repeated more than twice. 

Research information

Also consult the General Regulations. 

Candidates must submit a mini-dissertation which deals with an applied field of study. The topic is determined in consultation with the supervisor and the relevant head of department, and must be approved according to Faculty guidelines. The mini-dissertation is based on an applied research project or related research projects (which need not be original), planned and reported by the candidate. (Assistance with statistical processing, applied specialised procedures, etc. is allowed, but must be acknowledged.) 

An internal as well as external examiner will evaluate the mini-dissertation. The supervisor may not be an examiner.   

The average mark of the separate marks awarded by all examiners constitutes the final mark for the mini-dissertation. The minimum pass mark is 50%. The Dean, on the recommendation of the relevant head of the department, may permit a candidate who has failed, to submit an amended mini-dissertation for final adjudication. 

Pass with distinction

The degree is conferred with distinction on a student who has obtained at least 75% for the mini-dissertation and a weighted average of at least 75% in the other modules needed to comply with degree requirements, provided that a minimum pass mark of 60% in all the other modules have been obtained.

Minimum credits: 90

Choose one of the two elective modules as well as any appropriate module on 800 level to the value of at least 10 credits, approved by the HoD

Fundamental modules

  • Module content:

    A web-based introductory module in research methodology that includes planning and undertaking a research project or clinical trial, collecting and analysing data, scientific writing, and enabling preparation and presenting of a research protocol.

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Core modules

  • Module content:

    Advanced theoretical training in ruminant health with emphasis on the pathophysiology, diagnosis, treatment and control of non-infectious diseases, specifically applicable to conditions of the gastro-intestinal tract, liver, production diseases, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, musculo-skeletal system, skin and appendages.

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    The primary aim of this module is to provide the candidate with the skills and competence to promote the health and production efficiency of cattle operations (dairy, beef and feedlots). The module will enable students to integrate and apply knowledge so that health and production can be monitored and problems can be identified and solved on a herd basis.

    The module content will be based on advanced theoretical training in bovine herd health with emphasis on principles of herd health and production programmes, animal health economics, monitoring dairy herd health and production (applied nutrition, fertility, udder health, foot health, general cow health, calves and replacement heifers), monitoring the health and performance of beef cow calf enterprises (resource base, forage and beef cow-calf stock flow, applied nutrition, fertility, young stock, integrated resource, health and management program), and beef feedlots

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  • Module content:

    The module content will be based on advanced theoretical training in small stock health with emphasis on principles of population health and production programmes, animal health economics, monitoring health and production. The module will enable students to integrate and apply knowledge so that health and production problems can be identified and solved on a flock basis and health status and production effectiveness of small stock flock can be raised from a holistic and cost effective viewpoint.

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Minimum credits: 90


The information published here is subject to change and may be amended after the publication of this information. The General Regulations (G Regulations) apply to all faculties of the University of Pretoria. It is expected of students to familiarise themselves well with these regulations as well as with the information contained in the General Rules section. Ignorance concerning these regulations and rules will not be accepted as an excuse for any transgression.

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