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The Otago Postgraduate Wildlife Management Programme has two course options: a one-year full-time 120-point Postgraduate Diploma in Wildlife Management (PGDipWLM), or a 3-semester 180-point coursework Master of Wildlife Management (MWLM). Both options commence in February. It is also possible to study part-time for either course. Candidates for admission will normally possess a degree in zoology, biology or ecology, and will have attained a high academic standard. Candidates with experience in wildlife management or administration, but lacking a degree, are also encouraged to apply. Successful Postgraduate Diploma graduates have the option of continuing their studies by enrolling in a one-year Master of Science (MSc) by-thesis-only.
The Wildlife Management programme is designed to be flexible and offer maximum choice so as to cater for the different career aspirations, wildlife interests and academic backgrounds of participating students.
What is Wildlife Management?
Wildlife Management in its broadest sense is the science and practice of species conservation and restoration, as well as active management for the wise use of renewable natural resources.
Wildlife management boils down to managing densities of target species: sustaining or increasing numbers of rare or threatened species; reducing excess numbers, controlling or eradicating pest species; or maintaining numbers of a harvested species. A fundamental decision relates to the level of intervention necessary to achieve the stated objectives. Ideally you would not need to intervene at all, just monitor to ensure desirable densities, distributions or population structures are maintained. At the other end of the spectrum are highly intensive interventions such as captive-breeding and reintroduction. The decision concerning the appropriate level of intervention and the assessment of the effects of that intervention are the stuff of day-to-day wildlife management. The information on which to base your decisions and the ways in which you investigate these needs and outcomes derive from the techniques of wildlife management.
An Otago University qualification in Wildlife Management is an ideal qualification for those seeking employment as:
- Conservation Officers
- Fish and Game Officers
- Pest Control and Resource Managers
- Scientific Research Technicians
- Scientific advisers for government and non-government research and conservation organizations.
Around 75% of graduates from recent years have found work in the wildlife management field, while a number of the remaining 25% are completing research degrees or travelling overseas.
The major objective of the Wildlife Management programme is to train students with the skills necessary for employment in some aspect of wildlife or ecological management or research. Other important goals of the course are to develop in students:
- an understanding of the ecological basis of conservation management.
- skills in handling, marking, observing and counting wild animals.
- knowledge of the ecology and behaviour of wild animals in New Zealand.
- an appreciation of the practical realities of wildlife management.
- skills in communicating about management and scientific research of ecological communities. Verbal presentations, debating, and scientific report writing are all emphasised and taught.
- statistical and analytical skills to collect, analyse, and interpret ecological data for wildlife management and research.
- critical evaluation of existing wildlife management practice and options for the future.
- an ability to co-operate well in teams, but also to work well on one's own.
- an appreciation of the different roles and needs of managers and researchers, and the way each can help and gain from the other.
How will I study?
Course content is a mix of seminar/lecture material and "hands-on experience" in the field. Students are responsible for designing and carrying out various wildlife surveys, writing reports, giving talks, and participating in discussions and debates. Guest lecturers provide insights into current wildlife management issues, including large-scale ecological experiments, species restorations, wildlife legislation, community-led conservation and public awareness.
Our People in the Wildlife Management Programme
Professor Philip Seddon is Director of the Postgraduate Wildlife Management Programme, and in charge of the administration and general running of the course.
Dr Yolanda van Heezik joins him and together they oversee the general course structure, take on some of the teaching, and are your first point of contact for questions, queries, or concerns and comments.
You will take postgraduate papers co-ordinated by other staff members from Zoology, and other departments in the university. Academic staff with research and teaching interests that are of relevance to Wildlife Management include:
- Professor Ian Jamieson
- Dr Bruce Robertson
- Assoc. Professor Alison Cree
- Professor Lloyd Davis (Centre for Science Communication)
- Professor Colin Townsend
- Assoc. Professor Liz Slooten
- Assoc. Professor Gerry Closs
- Professor Jon Waters
- Professor Kath Dickinson (Botany)
- Professor Phil Bishop
- Dr Deborah Wilson
In addition, the Wildlife Management Programme at the University of Otago maintains close links with staff from research and management agencies, such as Landcare Research and the Department of Conservation.
Most of the students taking Wildlife Management have a BSc, a BSc (Honours), or some other diploma or degree course with a significant biology and/or ecology component. The course has also been taken by people from other backgrounds. Recent years have seen Parks and Recreation graduates, vets, engineers, mathematicians, and journalists taking the Postgraduate Diploma.Applications are also welcome from those already employed in the wildlife or ecological management area and who want to broaden their range of skills and knowledge. Such applicants need not have a university degree but must be confident in, and able to demonstrate, their ability to cope with Postgraduate papers, and they must have at least three years relevant experience.These students gain from the theory and scholarship of the graduates in their midst and, in return, contribute enormously to the class through their skills and understanding gained in the work place. Both the Postgraduate Diploma or the Master of Wildlife Management can be taken part-time over 2-3 years to allow you to work at the same time as studying.Language requirementsIn general, the English language requirement for students whose first language is not English is a score of 550 in TOEFL, 6.5 in IELTS, or Cambridge Proficiency or the equivalent. Pre-session English Language courses are available at the Otago Language Centre which is adjacent to the University.Further information about English Language Requirements for international postgraduate students is available elsewhere on the University website English Language Requirements IELTS band: 6.5 TOEFL paper-based test score : 550
University of Otago Coursework Master's Scholarship
The University of Otago Coursework Master's Scholarship provides funding to support course work-based Master's students studying at the University of Otago.
Applicants must be:
- obtaining their first Otago Coursework Master's qualification
- domestic students or international students
- undertaking a papers based thesis*
* Coursework Masters Scholarships are not available for the papers year of a two-year research Masters degree.
Selection is based predominantly on academic merit and the applicants potential for research.