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.
Under the microscope
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.
The MSc in Wild Animal Health consists of thee levels:
Certificate in Wild Animal Health - you are introduced to the course objectives, the mission of the partner organizations running the Course and the services you can receive at the Zoological Society of London and the Royal Veterinary College. You will also study four core modules:
- Conservation biology
- The impact of disease on populations
- Health and welfare of captive wild animals
Diploma in Wild Animal Health - building on the knowledge and skills learned in the Certificate in Wild Animal Health, you will study four further modules:
- Detection, surveillance and emerging diseases
- Ecosystem health
- Evaluation of the health and welfare of captive wild animals
- Practical module
MSc in Wild Animal Health - a graduate of the Master of Science in Wild Animal Health must demonstrate (in addition to the achievements of the PG Certificate and Diploma):
- A comprehensive understanding of research and inquiry including (i) critical appraisal of the literature, (ii) scientific writing and (iii) scientific presentation
- The ability to design and analyse hypothesis-driven laboratory and/or field studies
Research planning - in this module we will develop the extensive skills required to design and conduct practical research projects, critically appraise and review the literature, deliver effective scientific presentations, and write scientific papers suitable for submission to peer-reviewed journals.
Project - you will be required to undertake an individual research project, between mid-June and the end of August, and to submit a typewritten report not exceeding 10,000 words in the form of a literature review and a scientific paper suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The project will encompass a practical study on an approved aspect of wild animal health. The project may be undertaken at any place approved by the Institute/College with the guidance of a course supervisor.
Assessment - you will be assessed by four written papers, course work (assignments and casebook), an individual research project report and an oral examination for all candidates, irrespective of their performance in other parts of the course.
Project reports are submitted at the end of August and oral examinations are held in mid-September.
How will I learn?
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.
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.