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Course content

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

Over the past 30 years, interventions, for reasons of health, welfare and the conservation of free-living wild animals, have been undertaken with increasing frequency. Specialist veterinary expertise is required in order to diagnose and control diseases in wildlife.

Emerging infectious diseases are also recognised as a serious hazard, both for wild animal species and for the domestic animal and human populations that interact with them. In addition, a large number of wild animal species are kept in captivity – in zoos and in laboratories – which has led to an increased demand for specialist skills and knowledge.

The MSc in Wild Animal Health is a world-class specialist postgraduate veterinary science programme taught jointly by the RVC, University of London and the Zoological Society of London.

Aimed at qualified veterinarians, the MSc in Wild Animal Health will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of the management of wild animals and the epidemiology, treatment and control of wild animal disease.

Programme delivery

The MSc in Wild Animal Health 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 animal species.   
  • A systematic understanding of the biological principles underpinning wild animal conservation and management, and the epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment 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 Health, you will have gained the analytical skills, the understanding, the confidence and the language to influence thinking and policy making 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?

The world-class specialist MSc in Wild Animal Health has produced over 190 graduates since its inception in 1994.

Our graduates have gone on to work with both captive and free-living wild animals as clinicians, pathologists, epidemiologists, academics and senior management in zoological collections, national parks, universities and government departments worldwide.

Others continue to work towards a PhD or DVetMed with either the ZSL or RVC, or at other leading research institutes.

For example, Tammy Shadbolt, one of our 2013 graduates, went on to do a PhD on Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease. You can read about her experiences below:

Tammy Shadbolt


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

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Recipient: Royal Veterinary College

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