Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences

Further your career with this PhD aimed at individuals who have a keen research interest in conservation, ecology, biodiversity, global change, botany and zoology.


Why study at Wits?

The Wits School of Animal, Plant, and Environmental Sciences is home to a number of world leaders in sustainability, savannah ecology, conservation, 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 and aquatic ecology. Our School prides itself on the extent of its research experience. Many PhD graduates from the School have gone on to become recognised research leaders in their respective fields.

Career Opportunities

  • Nature conservation: national or conservation agencies, private wildlife enterprises, environmental NGOs, environmental consultancy
  • Research: in government and university institutions
  • Commerce and industry: private consulting firms, environmental divisions of large corporations, marketing, scientific services, mining and forestry companies.


This is a research degree with no coursework component.

Entry Requirements

  • An MSc in a relevant field
  • A supervisor needs to be identified before applying and approval given from the supervisor in order for the application to be considered. 

Applications should include:

  • A letter of motivation stating the reasons why you want to take this course and explaining your field of special interest.
  • Name or supervisor and research field
  • A comprehensive CV, including academic transcripts and the names and contact addresses of three referees.

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.