About us

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We are a small but very productive department, with a high research output and an excellent student success rate. Our undergraduate teaching is divided into two major areas, Zoology and Physiology. From honours level onwards, students specialise, and benefit from a wide range of expertise among academic staff that include fields as diverse as physiology, eco-toxicology, ecology, parasitology, taxonomy, conservation biology and genomics. This allows our graduates to enter the workplace with a large set of useful skills. As a result, our student feedback is consistently more positive than the faculty and university averages.

Frequently Asked Questions ​​

Q1. What career opportunities are there in Zoology?

Zoology is an amazing subject with a number of different opportunities in various fields. There is so much not know about our world’s fauna and thus any zoologist could make a difference on the planet with the right break though. Careers in Zoology can range over a number of different specialisations. Because Zoology is a very broad area of scientific study, careers can be defined in several different ways. For example, one person might specialise in fish (an ichthyologist) whereas another may specialise in mammals (a mammalogist). Yet another might concentrate on the development of the early stages of life in both fish and mammals (an embryologist or developmental biologist). Whatever field you wish to specialise in depends on your personal preference to a subject. It is important to note that a person is not limited to only one field of specialisation and can experiment in a large variety of fields.
To name but a few of the possibilities: Zookeeper, Animal and wildlife educator, Wildlife rehabilitator, Zoo curator, Animal behaviourist, Documentary maker, Researcher, Taxonomist, Toxicologist, Ecologist, Parasitologist, Vet or vet assistant, Wildlife photographer, Protozoologist, Ethology, Aquarium director, Aquatic biologist, Biological consultant, Biostatistician, Comparative anatomist, Conservationist, Developmental biologist, Environmental Health specialist, Ichthyologist, Game and forest manager, Geneticist, Fisheries biologist, Helminthologist, Herpetologist, Laboratory technician, Limnologist, Mammalogist, Mariculturist, Marine biologist, Microscopist, Molecular biologist, Museum director, Paleontologist, Administrator, Teacher, Water quality analyst, Wildlife biologist, Ecophysiologist, and a Molecular and cell biologist.

Q2. What are the prerequisites for the Zoology modules?

Botany and ZoologyLEX006
Zoology and BiochemistryLEX007
Zoology and ChemistryLEX008
Zoology and Environmental Management​LEX009
Zoology and GeographyLEX010
Zoology and Human PhysiologyLEX012
Botany and ZoologyBSLE06
Zoology and BiochemistryBSLE07
Zoology and ChemistryBSLE08
Zoology and Environmental ManagementBSLE09
Zoology and GeographyBSLE10
Zoology and Human PhysiologyBSLE12​

Q3. What documents are required for admission?

  • First-year students must submit, together with their registration documents, certified copies of their Identity document or permanent residence permit, and their Grade 12 certificate or equivalent qualification and/or statement of symbols.
  • Students transferring from other universities who wish to continue their studies at University of Johannesburg must submit an original academic record issued by the previous university at registration. In respect of subjects or topics for which credit is sought, the official syllabus of the equivalent subject or topic, must accompany the application. Other documents required include: Identity document or permanent residence permit, Grade 12 certificate, Certificate of conduct, and the additional faculty programme requirements determined by the Faculty Boards concerned.
  • Students who previously studied at other Higher Education Institution who wish to continue their studies at University of Johannesburg in honours, master’s and doctoral degrees must supply the following: Identity document or permanent residence permit, Degree certificate, Academic record, Certificate of conduct, and the additional faculty or programme requirements as determined by the Faculty Boards.

Q4. What courses are recommended with the Zoology degrees?

BSc degree
The Bachelor of Science degree (BSc) is the basic degree offered at UJ and is usually a three year degree. Two majors are required for this degree (one being Zoology) and other courses chosen by the student will make up the remaining credits for the degree. To ensure you pick the courses which would best suit your intended field of study, please consider the following:

  • Although Mathematics and Statistics are not required for a BSc degree, anyone interested in zoological research will find a basic training in these disciplines extremely useful.
  • In order to understand the internal functioning of animals, a course in Chemistry is necessary and thus compulsory for a BSc degree.
  • Students with an interest in Ecology are advised to take Botany and/or Microbiology to compliment the Zoology course. Botany as a major in third year will also allow access to an Honours degree in Biodiversity and Conservation (see Honours page under Postgraduate section for more detail).
  • Students with an interest in Physiology or Molecular Biology will find Biochemistry useful.
  • Students interested in being Evolutionary Biologists will find courses in Genetics essential.
  • A working knowledge of computers will also prove helpful in studying Zoology.

Zoology Honours degree

The Honours degree constitutes a 4th year of study. This can only be taken after completion of a BSc degree with Zoology as a major. There are three options at the University of Johannesburg, namely, BSc Hons in Zoology (general), BSc Hons in Aquatic Health or BSc Hons in Biodiversity and Conservation. The general Zoology Honours degree only requires a Zoology major as access for the degree. The Aquatic Health Honours degree requires a BSc Degree with the following modules and credits: Parasitology, Ecology, Animal Physiology: Integrated and Invertebrate diversity and Vertebrate diversity. The Biodiversity and Conservation Honours degree requires both zoology and botany as majors in a BSc degree. These honours courses offer wide training in many fields for maximum outcomes and introduce the students to research through a mini-project.

MSc and PhD Zoology degrees

After completion of an Honours degree, the Master of Science (MSc) degree can be completed. This degree can be done as a tutored degree with a mini-dissertation or as research and dissertation only. After completion of an MSc (usually 2 years), a doctorate (or Doctor of Philosophy, PhD) can be done which is the highest level of training for a zoologist (approximately three years). The PhD degree is awarded on novel research and a thesis alone. Any studies after this are known as post-doctoral studies and a Professor can only be awarded after years of research and teaching in Zoology.

Q5. What are the regulations for a BSc degree?

  • General regulations state: Each BSc-programme must consist of 18 semester modules (or their equivalent modules), selected from the subject disciplines indicated in the Science Year Book. Any curriculum containing more than 18 semester modules (or their equivalent modules), or which exceeds the specified maximum number per year, must be approved by the Executive Dean in consultation with the programme representative.
  • A primary major for a baccalaureus degree consists of at least 6 semester modules, or their equivalent, of which at least two must be taken in each year of study (or an alternative module from a higher year). An approved two-year primary major consists of four semester modules of which two are taken at second-year level and two at third-year level.
  • In the second and third year a student may take a maximum of three semester modules in a primary major module per year.
  • A BSc curriculum includes two primary majors unless specifically approved otherwise.
  • Modules at first year level which have practical sessions will have one practical class of 3 ½ hours per week, while second and third year modules may have more than one class per week or may be longer than 3 ½ hours.
  • A sub-minimum of 40% in practical work is required for admission to any semester examination in all modules of, Botany, Chemistry, Geography, Physics, Zoology (Environmental Chemistry excluded). A sub-minimum of 50% in practical work is required for admission to any semester examination in Biochemistry.
  • A student who has failed a module twice will not be allowed to continue her/his studies in the same module at the University except with the permission of the Executive Dean on recommendation of the relevant Head of Department after consultation with the lecturer, or on recommendation of the Faculty’s examination or Teaching and Learning Committee.
  • To be admitted to any module in the second or third academic year of study, and progress to the following year of study, a student must have passed at least 60% of the modules in the previous year of study.

Q6. What combination of majors can you have with Zoology?​

ZOO1B10Animal diversityBIO1A10 or BIO1A1E, BIO1A2E
ZOO2A10General parasitologyZOO1B10
ZOO2B20Vertebrate anatomy, function and evolutionZOO1B10
ZOO3B01Comparative Animal PhysiologyBIO1A10 or BIO1A1E, BIO1A2Eand CEM1A10 and CEM1B01 orCEM1C10 or CEM1C2E and CEM1C3E and CEM1D10
PHS2A01Basic Physiological concepts and Movement
PHS2B01Control SystemsPHS2A01
PHS3A01Visceral Organ SystemsPHS2B01
PHS3B01Advanced IntegrationPHS3A01

Q7. What academic awards and achievements can you expect from UJ Zoology?

  • Zoology Merit Award – Best achievement in ZOO 1A
  • Zoology Merit Award – Best achievement in ZOO 1B
  • Zoology Merit Award – Best achievement in ZOO 2A
  • Zoology Merit Award – Best achievement in ZOO 2B
  • Zoology Merit Award – Best achievement in ZOO 3A
  • Zoology Merit Award – Best achievement in ZOO 3B
  • Merit Award Zoological Society of Southern Africa – Best achievement over 75% in ZOO 3A and ZOO 3B
  • Zoology Honours Head’s Award – Best project presentation by Honours student
  • Zoology MSc and PhD Juan Heyns Certificate – Best presentation by MSc and PhD students

Q8. What is the department’s standpoint on plagiarism?

Download the Plagiarism P​olicy​