Programme: MSc Wildlife Health, Ecology and Management (Coursework)

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Code Faculty
08251019 Faculty of Veterinary Science
Credits Duration
Duration of study: 2 years Total credits: 180

Programme information

This programme is offered by the Department of Production Animal Sciences. 

This degree programme provides training in knowledge and skills to manage wildlife health, production and conservation. This includes technical knowledge of production systems such as housing, handling, husbandry, disease prevention, understanding the economic principles in this economy, understanding ecology and ecosystem management, understanding of policies and legislation relevant to wildlife areas and for veterinarians veterinary specific knowledge such as chemical manipulation, disease recognition and treatment. It will also include softer skills of community considerations in wildlife economies, leadership, communication and strategy skills. 

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 is 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. A student may also be required to pass of proficiency test in English (TOEFL).

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 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 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 1 elective to the value of 15 credits or any appropriate 800-level module, relevant to the field of study

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:

    This module covers wildlife management topics of husbandry (wildlife production systems, nutrition, housing and breeding) and wildlife management techniques (fire, fencing, captive management and animal welfare). The module will teach skills and tools of wildlife management.

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  • Module content:

    A module on plant ecology, veld management, animal ecology and plant and animal interactions. The students will gain a solid grounding and in-depth understanding of ecological theory and ecological management to maintain and improve ecosystem health. This module will provide a broad view, illustrating a wide variety of different ecosystem examples and will include in-field training in areas around HHWRS. 

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  • Module content:

    This in depth module covers wildlife diseases within the fields of identification, pathology, diagnostics and prevention. It also will cover epidemiology including geographical information systems, and an introduction to certain statistical methods commonly used in veterinary science, and will provide the basis for further studies and research involving these techniques. “One Health” philosophy and practices with a focus on community impacts of wildlife management practices will also be covered. It provides the student with good insight into the important infectious, non-infectious and parasitic diseases. 

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  • Module content:

    Community engagement issues will be covered including community based natural resource management, community research and feedback and human wildlife conflict. Conservation (principles, animal protection methods, forensics and illegal wildlife trade), economics (basic economics, trade, wildlife income systems, marketing and funding), human resources, strategy, leadership and entrepreneurship will also be covered. The students will be exposed to a broad overview and detailed case-studies relevant to areas transfrontier conservation areas in sub-Saharan Africa. 

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Elective modules

  • Module content:

    This elective module is an introduction to wildlife diseases for students that have not done a veterinary degree. It provides students with an understanding of different disease groups, their life cycles, their pathogenesis, how they are identified and legislation relevant to disease control. It also covers Primary animal health care and veterinary public health relevant to wildlife management. 

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  • Module content:

    This module will cover veterinary relevant topics to wildlife management and conservation areas such as disease diagnoses, treatment, prevention, immobilisation, tranquilisation and reproductive management as well as veterinary specific legislation. This module is for veterinary practitioners who want to focus their skills and careers in wildlife and conservation practice.

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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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