Bachelor of Science Honours in Ecology

Programme Description

The purpose of the Bachelor of Science Honours in Ecology is to provide advanced academic and research training in Ecology, which will equip students to proceed with a Master’s degree in any of the fundamental or applied fields of Ecology, including: conservation ecology, biodiversity conservation, sustainable resource development, ecosystems management, protected area management, human-wildlife conflict, and the academy. Students will develop knowledge and skills that will enable them to work in a variety of contexts and enable them to contribute to society. The need for ecologists who can undertake the required original research to address pressing questions in the management of ecosystems is greater now than ever before. The competing demands for land for use by people, for agriculture, for mining and for conservation, and the stresses placed on the environment by climate change, require that we constantly develop our understanding of how crucial ecosystems function. It is with such knowledge that we will be able to make evidence-based decisions and where graduates from this programme can contribute.


The Bachelor of Science Honours in Ecology is at exit level 8 on the HEQSF, with a requirement of 120 credits as a minimum. The Bachelor of Science Honours in Ecology is offered over 1 year, full time and 2 years, part time.

Description of the Programme

The core modules of Research Methodology (15 credits), Philosophy of Science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (15 credits), and the independent (year-long) Research Project (30 credits) are common to all Honours programmes offered by the School of Biology and Environmental Sciences. Students will then select four specialist theory modules to bring their total credit count to 120 (Table 1). The theory modules will allow students to develop in depth and current knowledge and skills in important areas of Ecology including global change and biodiversity conservation, African vertebrate ecology, human dimensions of wildlife, water resource conservation and management, aquatic ecology and fisheries and fisheries management. 
The research project and theory modules will be in the area of specialisation and will amount to 75% of the 120 credits. The modules on research methodology and on the philosophy of science and IKS represent essential foundational knowledge, albeit it at level 8, and amount to 25% of the 120 credits. 
Table 1: The core and elective modules in the Bachelor of Science Honours in Ecology at the University of Mpumalanga.
Module Name Core or Elective Credit Value NQF level
Research Methodology Core 15 8
Philosophy of Science and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Core 15 8
Research Project Core 30 8
Global Change and Biodiversity Conservation Elective 15 8
African Vertebrate Ecology Elective 15 8
Human Dimensions of Wildlife Elective 15 8
Water Resource Conservation and Management Elective 15 8
Fisheries and Fisheries Management Elective 15 8
Aquatic Ecology Elective 15 8
Total credits   120  
Teaching will be by contact and will include lectures, tutorials, practicals, field trips, group work and online learning. Throughout the year, there will be an emphasis on independent research, and the Programme includes at least 30 credits for research.

Admission Requirements

The minimum requirements for admission are:
  • A Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent qualification at NQF level 7) with a minimum average mark of 60% in Ecology/Biology/Zoology/Botany modules at third year.
Students will be considered on a monthly basis and students who meet or exceed the minimum entrance requirements will be offered places. 

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CAT)

The University accepts Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) as an integral part of education and academic practice. It is acknowledged that all learning has value and the University accepts the challenge to assess prior learning that is aligned to programmes and award credit (through CAT) to promote lifelong learning. The purpose of the University of Mpumalanga’s RPL and CAT policy, is to recognize prior learning in order to provide for admission to programmes, grant advanced placement in programmes and grant credits for modules using the principles and processes that serve as basis for RPL practices. 


Graduates from the Bachelor of Science Honours in Ecology will be able to continue into an MSc programme in Ecology.


Prof. Taro Mwabvu
Programme Leader