MSc in Conservation Ecology Stellenbosch University
In Conservation Ecology, we specialise in the conservation of plants, animals and fungi, which includes the conservation of the organisms themselves, their interactions with other species and the natural process across landscapes that allows them to persist. Major research thrusts are the functioning and ecology of plant and animal populations, and the complex living communities in the management of natural resources and landscapes. This includes the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of forest trees, natural grazing lands, game species, the prevention and control of invasive species, the management of species, ecosystems and environmental processes in both formal and private protected areas, especially those in human-fragmented landscapes, and the implementation of social learning institutions for the adaptive management of production landscapes. Research in this department also focuses on integrating conservation into agriculture. This involves researching ecosystem services processes such as pollination, nutrient cycling, water filtration and the promotion of natural enemies of pests to create sustainable farming systems that will be able to deliver long-term food and water security.
Graduates of the Conservation Ecology Programme will:
Contribute to the sustainable management of agricultural landscapes at all spatial scales (global, continental, national, local). They will have the skills to be professionally mobile. They will be aware of issues in the "real world" and be able to inform policy & management at multiple scales. They will possess a strong professional tool-kit (academically sound knowledge and skills) that enables them to:
- Be technologically and analytically proficient
- Be socially embedded and interactive
- Be broad-minded, critical & innovative thinkers
- Be able to transfer theory into practice
- Be facilitators of positive change in research and management
- Be able to think globally, but act locally;
- Be transdisciplinary, holistic / systems thinkers
- Be able to network & able to work in teams
- Be socially and culturally sensitive & responsive
- Be decision makers towards positive action for a better, environmentally aware world
- Be flexible and creative
Our graduates will have well-developed generic skills (reading, writing, quantitative skills); they will be inspired, confident, and articulate.
The research component (a minimum time span of six months, 180 credits at NQF level 8a) entails independent research on an approved topic in Conservation Ecology that you conduct under a supervisor.
As part of the process, you must present a seminar to the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology on your proposed thesis.
Upon completion of the research, you must write up your results and submit them in the format of a thesis. The thesis must meet the requirements 82 for a master’s thesis as prescribed by the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology and Stellenbosch University.
- 55638: Conservation Ecology
- 818(180): Master’s thesis
Assessment and Examination
After completion of the research, you must submit a thesis to the satisfaction of the examiners and present a seminar. You will be expected to defend your thesis during this seminar.