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What is the RVC/ZSL MSc in Wild Animal Biology?

Wild animal health has become increasingly popular among non-veterinarians with a first degree in zoology and biology. Recognising this, the RVC, University of London, together with the Zoological Society of London, has developed a unique course aimed at non-veterinary biological science graduates and leading to the MSc in Wild Animal Biology.

The course will provide you with practical exposure to wild animal species and an understanding of wild animal health, welfare and conservation, as well as providing training in research methods relevant to the study of wildlife.

You will benefit from working and studying alongside veterinary graduates taking the MSc in Wild Animal Health as well as learning from internationally renowned experts in their field.

Programme delivery

The MSc in Wild Animal Biology is completed over one year of full-time study.

The course starts in mid-September each year, and can be broken down broadly into three sections, comprising two groups of taught modules and a research project. The first section is completed by mid-January, the second by mid-May, and the MSc research project is undertaken during the summer months, finishing in mid-September. More detailed information can be found in the course outline (see link in the top left of the page). 

We deliver the programme through two terms of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem-based learning, with modular examinations. There are no part-time or distance-learning options available.

To enquire about the exact start date please email .

What will I learn?

During the programme you will acquire:   

  • A critical awareness of current problems in wildlife disease with implications for wildlife conservation and welfare·      
  • A new insight into veterinary interventions for the management of captive and free-living wild animals·      
  • A systematic understanding of the biological principles underpinning wild animal conservation and management, and the epidemiology, diagnosis and control of wildlife disease·      
  • Basic competence in veterinary techniques and preventative medicine for wild animals·      
  • A conceptual and practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create knowledge in the field of wild animal health·      
  • A comprehensive understanding of scientific skills, including critical review of the scientific literature, and design and analysis of laboratory or field studies.

Upon completion of the MSc in Wild Animal Biology, you will have gained the analytical skills, understanding, confidence and the language to progress your career within a wide range of organisations, such as zoos, national parks, universities, conservation organisations and government departments worldwide.

Here are some other useful and interesting veterinary and wildlife-related web sites:

What will I be able to do with my qualification?

Graduates of the MSc in Wild Animal Biology have gone on to pursue successful careers in wildlife management (with government agencies in both developing and developed countries), wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife-related research (at universities and zoological collections) and zoo management.

Some Wild Animal Biology MSc graduates continue to study towards a PhD with either the ZSL or RVC, or with other leading scientific research institutes.

For example, Eloise Stephenson, 2014 MSc Wild Animal Biology graduate, is currently employed as a Research Technician for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency. See her full testimonial below:

Eloise Stephenson

Graham Duggan, another one of our graduates from 2014, is now working as a researcher for a 5-part natural history documentary series about Canadian wildlife. You can read about his experience below: 

Graham Duggan 

See the ZSL website for detailed career profiles of some other recent graduates.


Visit the Wild Animal Biology - MSc page on the Royal Veterinary College website for more details!

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