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Programme: BScHons Zoology

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Minimum duration of study: 1 year
Total credits: 135

Programme information

Renewal of registration

  1. Subject to exceptions approved by the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, and in the case of distance education where the Dean formulates the stipulations that will apply, a student may not sit for an examination for the honours degree more than twice in the same module.
  2. A student for an honours degree must complete his or her study, in the case of full-time students, within two years and, in the case of after-hours students, within three years of first registering for the degree and, in the case of distance education students, within the period stipulated by the Dean. Under special circumstances, the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, may give approval for a limited extension of this period.

In calculating marks, General Regulation G.12.2 applies.

Apart from the prescribed coursework, a research project is an integral part of the study.

Admission requirements

In addition to the requirements of General Regulations G.1.3 and G.62, an appropriate bachelor's degree is a prerequisite: a candidate with an average of less than 65% in the major subjects in the final year of the bachelor’s degree will only be admitted with the approval of the Dean on the recommendation of the Head of Department. Additional conditions may be prescribed by the Head of Department.

Examinations and pass requirements

A pass mark is required for all the components of the honours study programme.

Pass with distinction

The BScHons degree is awarded with distinction to a candidate who obtains a weighted average of at least 75% in all the prescribed modules and a minimum of 65% in any one module.

Minimum credits: 135

Minimum credits:  135

Core credits:          81

Elective credits:     54

Core modules

BME 780 Statistics for biological sciences 780 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The principles of experimental design as required for the selection of an appropriate research design. Identification of the design limitations and the impact thereof on the research hypotheses and the statistical methods. Identification and application of the appropriate statistical methods needed. Interpreting of statistical results and translating these results to the biological context.

ZEN 701 Research project 701 Credits: 68.00

Module content:

Research project

ZEN 713 Research methods and scientific communication 713 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

Basic skills in philosophy of science; research planning; scientific writing; scientific public speaking; an essay, two oral presentations, prescribed reading and an oral exam.

Elective modules

ZEN 703 Systematics, evolution and biogeography 703 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

The object of this module is to introduce students to several contemporary problem areas in systematics, evolutionary theory and biogeography, and to use this as a basis for exploring current approaches and methods in systematics.

ZEN 704 Environmental physiology 704 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

Photoperiodism and chronobiology – the ability of animals to measure daylength, the concept of circadian rhythm and the nature of the clock which drives such processes. Water availability and temperature – physiological responses of animals to changing water availability and temperature in the context of global climate change. Regulation of reproduction – physiological mechanisms which couple reproduction to external and internal environmental factors.

ZEN 705 Principles in applied ecology 705 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

The module focuses on forces that drive population and community patterns and processes across temporal and spatial scales.  Attention is given to the scientific application of ecological and macro-ecological principles that relate to short- and long-term population and community responses to environmental change.  Group discussions based on current literature provide opportunities to apply theoretical principles to problem solving.

ZEN 707 Integrated pest management in Africa 707 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

Pest outbreaks and the practice of integrated pest management using different control methods; philosophy of IPM; socio-economic implications; politics and legislation; pest models; decision tools and techniques.

ZEN 710 Mammal ecology 710 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

Contemporary issues in mammal ecology; the focus will be on current understanding at individual, population, community and ecosystem levels.

ZEN 712 Behavioural ecology 712 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

The use of ecological and evolutionary processes to explain the occurrence and adaptive significance of behaviour patterns.  Empirical, comparative analyses relating behaviour to environment will be addressed, including the use of behavioural processes to predict ecological patterns.

ZEN 782 Insect-plant interactions 782 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

An overview of the complex world of insect-plant interactions.  Insects and plants have co-occurred and co-evolved on this planet for at least 400 million years, and in many systems insects are the primary consumers of plant tissue.  The diverse strategies and counter-strategies that have evolved at the interface between herbivory and plant defences will be examined, using case studies and applying unifying theory wherever possible.

ZEN 783 Global climate change and biodiversity 783 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

The module aims to provide students with an understanding of global climate change and its impact on the conservation of biodiversity.

ZEN 784 Contemporary research techniques 784 Credits: 13.00

Module content:

Stable isotope ecology – applications of stable isotope-based techniques in zoological research, including (i) tracking animal movements, (ii) dietary reconstruction, (iii) delineation of trophic levels, (iv) tracing nutrient allocation to reproduction, (v) forensic applications, and (vi) doubly-labelled water and water tracer applications. Stress hormones – the spectrum of stress molecules, how they are regulated, what their impacts are, and how they are measured to reflect acute and chronic stress. Photogrammetry – (i) appropriate equipment for photogrammetry, (ii) photographic techniques for photogrammetric use, (iii) photogrammetry software, (iv) building three-dimensional models, (v) measuring models. Applications of molecular biology to conservation genetics, infectious disease epidemiology and ecology, forensics (host and pathogen-based) and diagnostics.