Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences

The BSc Honours is a 1 year degree comprising a research project, one compulsory course and three elective courses from a variety of options such as Evolutionary Ecology, Medical Entomology, Parasitology and more.


Why study Animal, Plant, and Environmental Sciences?

The combination of these topics facilitates a degree of understanding about the world around us works and the role of different organisms on Earth. Research in the school broadly addresses questions about the diversity we observe, how best to explain processes we observe, and how to conserve biodiversity for the future. Further,the Honours degree is the minimum requirement needed to work as a professional scientist.

Why study Animal, Plant & Environmental Sciences at Wits?

The Wits School of Animal, Plant, and Environmental Sciences is home to a number of world leaders in sustainability, savannah ecology, among other research areas. Our School includes a diverse, research active and passionate staff and post-graduate cohort working on a variety of projects ranging from animal behaviour to plant systematics and evolution to ecology to aquatic ecology.

Our School prides itself on the extent of its honours experience. Students in our programme choose from a number of specialist theory topics, a techniques course that provides a solid analytical foundation, and an option to participate in the Organization of Tropical Studies.

Career Opportunities

Career opportunities available with your honours degree in Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences include:

  • Museum researcher
  • Data analyst at various companies (Deloitte, Ernst & Young)
  • Consultants for environmental impact assessments
  • Research and lecturing in Biology departments


The BSc Honours degree comprises two main components:

  1. a research project,
  2. theoretical component (includes a compulsory skills course and three elective theory courses). Theory courses range in topics including, but not limited to animal behaviour and ecology, ecophysiology, biocontrol, biogeography, entomology, ethnoecology, evolution, global change, taxonomy and systematics, pollination biology, sustainability, and science education.

The number and range of theory topics offered is dependent on the availability of staff each year. The theory topics differ in the way they are presented. For example, a student may be required to attend regular discussions over a set period OR prepare written/practical assignments. Each theory topic has its own assessments, which are used to assess progress and understanding. Courses are limited to no more than ten students.

A research project is conducted, ideally in a discipline of interest to the student. Through this research undertaking, students learn to design a study, implement an experimental protocol, and collect, analyse, and interpret data. The project is written up as a formal thesis at the end of the year and each student is required to present a formal project proposal and a final project seminar.

Entry Requirements

For an application to be considered (this does not deem an application successful, only considered among the applicant pool) you will need the following:

BSc or equivalent that comprises the following:

  • Stats 50% or above
  • Chem 50% or above
  • Relevant biology and ecology courses at second year with an average of 60% across all courses
  • Relevant third year biology and ecology courses with an average of 65% or above across all courses

Applications open around March and close on the 15th October. We recognise that not all Universities have final transcripts finished by then and take this into consideration when reviewing applications. Students with a 60%–64% in third year and meeting other criteria will be waitlisted in the case that a space becomes available.

University Application Process

  • Applications are handled centrally by the Student Enrolment Centre (SEnC). Once your application is complete in terms of requested documentation, your application will be referred to the relevant School for assessment. Click here to see an overview of the Wits applications process.
  • Please apply online. Upload your supporting documents at the time of application, or via the Self Service Portal.
  • Applicants can monitor the progress of their applications via the Self Service Portal.
  • Selections for programmes that have a limited intake but attract a large number of applications may only finalise the application at the end of the application cycle.

Please note that the Entry Requirements are a guide. Meeting these requirements does not guarantee a place. Final selection is made subject to the availability of places, academic results and other entry requirements where applicable.

International students, please check this section.

For more information, contact the Student Call Centre +27 (0)11 717 1888, or log a query at

University Fees and Funding

Click here to see the current average tuition fees. The Fees site also provides information about the payment of fees and closing dates for fees payments. Once you have applied you will be able to access the fees estimator on the student self-service portal.

For information about postgraduate funding opportunities, including the postgraduate merit award, click here. Please also check your School website for bursary opportunities. NRF bursaries: The National Research Foundation (NRF) offers a wide range of opportunities in terms of bursaries and fellowships to students pursuing postgraduate studies. External bursaries portal: The Bursaries South Africa website provides a comprehensive list of bursaries in South Africa.