Postgraduate study is increasingly desirable to employees. While an undergraduate degree majoring in Ecology can lead to a range of exciting career options, postgraduate study provides opportunity to specialise in an area of interest, further develop research skills, and build skills towards a career speciality. Postgraduate courses enable students to carry out research work in the area of ecology that most interests them.
The following postgraduate degrees and diplomas in Ecology are available:
- Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons))
- Postgraduate Diploma of Science (PGDipSci)
- Master of Science (MSc)
Bachelor of Science with Honours (BSc(Hons))
The BSc(Hons) degree can be viewed as a fast-track 1-year programme for academically able students who aspire to achieve a PhD degree or MSc by thesis only. Others who do not wish to study for more than four years may take the BSc(Hons) degree simply to ensure a stronger qualification that enhances their prospects of a career in this field.
The BSc(Hons) course in Ecology consists of a supervised research project (ECOL 490) in an area of the student's own choice, and three other 400-level papers.
To complete a BSc(Hons) in Ecology, your course must include:
Students wishing to enrol in a BSc(Hons) in Ecology must achieve an average grade of at least a B+ in:
Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci)
The PGDipSci is a 1-year programme which builds on an undergraduate science degree. It consists of a supervised research project (ECOL 480 or ECOL 490) in an area of the student's own choice, and at least three other 400-level papers. A PGDipSci in Ecology is appropriate for students with a BSc degree in Biology, Botany, Geography, Ecology or Zoology (or a related field) awarded either at the University of Otago or elsewhere, or for mature students returning for a period of advanced study.
The PGDipSci qualifies you to apply for a 1-year Master's by thesis degree, but the ECOL 480 Research Project is not sufficient entry for a PhD degree and is therefore not equivalent to BSc(Hons) in Ecology. Students with a strong academic record wishing to undertake a PGDipSci equivalent to a BSc(Hons) degree may, with the permission of the Director of Ecology, enrol for ECOL 490 Dissertation.
To complete a PGDipSci in Ecology, your course must include:
Master of Science (MSc)
Masters' degrees in Ecology are research-based and are designed to equip you either to move into employment or to advance seamlessly to a doctoral study programme. It is suitable for students wishing to undertake an original piece of research, become an expert in your given area, acquire expertise in experimental design, statistical analysis and critical interpretation of results.
The 2-year MSc in Ecology, which includes a papers year and a thesis year, is for those who have completed a BSc (or an equivalent qualification) to an appropriate standard. The 1st year consists of the preparation of a research proposal in an area of the student's own choice (ECOL 495), and four other 400-level papers. Through the second year, students carry out supervised independent research, leading to production of a thesis.
The 1-year MSc is for those who already hold the equivalent of an BSc(Hons) or PGDipSci in Ecology (or a related field) to an appropriate standard. In this case the degree of MSc is awarded either on the basis of completion of a research thesis alone.
To complete a 2-year MSc in Ecology, your course must include:
|Papers and Thesis|
Selecting a research topic / finding a supervisor
All postgraduate students in Ecology have at least one academic supervisor, who is an expert in their field of research. It is the role of the supervisor to guide and mentor students, challenging their thinking and giving feedback throughout the writing of the thesis, dissertation or research project.
You will need to find an appropriate supervisor and identify a research topic prior to enrolment in your first year of postgraduate study. Suitable research topics for your thesis should be developed in discussion with staff. Recent postgraduate students in Ecology have been supervised by staff based in Botany, Zoology, Marine Science and Geography; but appropriate topics and supervisors may come from any science discipline. Visit the profiles of the individual members of academic staff on the appropriate departmental webpage to find out more about their research and current postgraduate opportunities.