Master's in Wildlife Science (2 Years)


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Master's in Wildlife ScienceWII was entrusted with the mandate of training biologists and managers in protected area management and wildlife research 1982. The Master of wildlife science course was initiated by WII in 1988. There have been several important milestones in the brief history of planning and implementation of this M.Sc. course. The need for such a course was recognized by wildlife conservation organizations since 1970. The first one came in the form of an all India symposium on “The Role of University Teaching in Wildlife” hosted by the WII and the Aligarh Muslim University at Aligarh in early 1986. This symposium provided a platform for wildlife biologists and foresters to discuss and plan a post graduate course in wildlife science at WII. The first syllabus for M.Sc. in Wildlife Science was drafted at WII and published as a document of the Food and Agricultural Organization-WII project in 1988. This was wetted by the Saurashtra University and formed the basis for the teaching of the first and second M.Sc. courses. The syllabus was revised in 1995, 1999 and 2001 in order to match with the progress in discipline worldwide and the changing requirements in its application. Students from Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar have undergone the course. The intricately structured course ensures the right amalgamation of theory and practical training. It instills in the young minds the spirit of scientific enquiry and acute sensitivity to environmental issues. 

The two-year course in Wildlife Science at the Wildlife Institute of India, not only seeks to meet the increasing demand for research and monitoring of wildlife and their habitats, and provide trained biologists to further the cause of wildlife conservation, but also served as a model for developing higher education elsewhere in the country.
Master's in Wildlife Science
Objectives The M.Sc. course in Wildlife Science has been developed to impart training in the field of wildlife science and to further the cause of wildlife conservation in India and elsewhere. For several years, there has been a demand for increased research and monitoring of the wildlife populations and their habitats all over the country. The threat of species extinction is constantly increasing and the ways to mitigate them requires a scientific approach. The management plans for Protected Areas in India require a strong scientific basis for their successful implementation. Further, management practices, wildlife habitat and species populations need constant monitoring if conservation efforts are to be effective. All this require trained personnel. This course aims to create trained wildlife biologists who will effectively tackle these issues and challenges.

Landscape ecology, remote sensing and conservation genetics are relatively new subjects in any university in India. Universities traditionally offer only few specialized papers at the M.Sc. level, but very few courses integrate ecology with a variety of related subjects to form a single discipline. This course at the Wildlife Institute of India attempts to integrate scientific disciplines and therefore, serves as a “model course” to train wildlife biologists in the country.

Course Structure
The M.Sc. course in wildlife science is a two year full time curriculum offered in the form of Choice-based Credit System organised in four semesters of 24 credits each. Each semester is structured into theory papers, assignments, field practicals, tour journal and lab practical papers which will be evaluated during the semester. The first three semesters have three theory papers with five credits each and one assignment topic based on any of the theory papers with 3 credits respectively. In addition, the three semesters will also have a tour journal assignment, field and laboratory practical of 2 credits each. Each theory paper is sub-divided into modules which will be administered by Module Coordinators. The assignment and practical exercises will also be administered separately by coordinators. In the third semester two of the three theory papers offered will be in the form of specialised papers in select thematic areas. The students need to choose one of the thematic areas offered. The number of students for a particular thematic area should not be less than three. Third semester will also have one specialised module on research design and for developing pre-proposal for dissertation. The fourth semester is a six month dissertation programme (four months field/lab work and two months for data analysis and writing). 

There is an equal emphasis on providing theoretical understanding and developing practical skills. Classroom lectures, assignments, group discussions and extended field visits are therefore given equal importance. Each month will have about 20 working days, and each day will have three lecture hours in the forenoon.  
 
An important activity during the course is critical review of published research. The students are expected to read and discuss original research papers as background to lectures and seminars. In order to inculcate the attitude and imbibe knowledge required to become a competent field biologist, critical review and seminar based discussions of research papers will form a major part of the course. In the assignments and presentations the student is expected to provide an overview, synthesis of work done in the past and critical evaluation based on the information that has been gathered.

Mode of Teaching Each credit will be having 16 lectures, 3 lectures each day in forenoon hours. Sixty percent of the credit will be taught as regular class-room teaching and 40% will be interactive learning. The interactive learning will include seminars, group discussions, assignments, power-point and poster presentations etc. This is to ensure that the course is more interactive and discussion based and that the involvement of both students and teachers is equal. 

Field Tours
In all there will be six field tours namely the Orientation tour, Techniques tour, National Park tour, Wetland field tour, High Altitude Techniques tour, and Conservation Practice and Management tour. These tours are compulsory and part of the curriculum and will be conducted during the first three semesters. The students will be required to prepare tour journals and these will be evaluated during the respective semester.

Assignments and Seminars
Substantial time is made available for assignments and seminars, especially in afternoon hours, besides additional time during particular semester. These assignments will be based on the theory papers in the respective semesters. Each module within the semester will have at least one assignment. Seminars based on assignment topics will be organised during the respective semester and are compulsory.
 
Dissertation
Wildlife Science is essentially a field-based subject, and therefore due emphasis is given to this. The entire duration of the fourth semester is allotted for an independent field and or lab based dissertation project. As part of the preparations for the dissertation project students are required to submit a Pre-Proposal of 1000 words by the end of August of the third semester (Format of pre-proposal will be circulated at the start of the semester). The pre- proposals will be evaluated by a Dissertation Committee. The Dissertation Committee will screen the proposals and will recommend a Student Dissertation Committee for every student. Student Dissertation Committee will comprise three faculty members – one supervisor and two co-supervisors. Upon acceptance of their pre-proposal, a detailed proposal needs to be submitted in the first week of IVth Semester starting 15th December. The students will present and defend their final proposal in the third week of December and initiate work after that. The dissertation will be submitted in the prescribed format. Each dissertation will have two sections – one will be literature review of the subject and other in the form of research paper of actual field work, both of these must be written following the format of journal (Bioscience). 

Attendance
Admitted students have to attend all the lectures, practical and field tours. A minimum of 80% attendance in each semester is required in order to be allowed to appear in the University examination.

Examinations
Evaluation of the theory papers will be both external and internal in the ratio of 70:30 respectively. The theory paper examination for 70 marks will be conducted by the Saurashtra University at the end of each semester. The internal examination for 30 marks will be conducted by the respective paper coordinator(s). Further, each of the first three semester examinations will be administered by a designated Internal Examiner and external examiners for Lab/Field Practicals. The fourth semester examination will be evaluation of the dissertation by external examiners including dissertation presentation and viva-voce.

Students are required to apply in the prescribed application form for appearing in the theory examination and need to pay the necessary examination fees on the date to be notified by the University. The pass mark is 40% and the mark for a distinction is 75%. The semester wise distribution of the courses and papers are given below:

Semester-Wise Distribution of Marks
* 70 Theory (University Exam) + 30 Theory (Internal Evaluation)

Semester

Details

Marks

1 3 Papers (100 marks each*)
One Assignment

One Tour Journal

Lab/ Field Practical (40 marks each)

300
60

40

80

 

Total Marks

480
2

3 Papers (100 marks each*)
One Assignment

One Tour Journal

Lab/Field Practical (40 marks each)

300
60

40

80

 

Total Marks

480
3 1 Paper (100 marks)
Two Choice Based Papers on different Thematic Areas (100 marks each*)

Research Design and Development of Pre-Proposal

One Tour Journal

Lab/Field Practical (40 marks each)

100
200

60

40

80

 

Total Marks

480
4 Dissertation

Presentation and Viva-Voce

400

80

 

Total Marks

480
  GRAND TOTAL 1920

In order to qualify for the M.Sc. degree, a student should:

(a) Secure minimum 40% in each theory paper and practical examinations.
(b) Secure minimum 40% in his/her dissertation and viva-voce examinations.

The successful completion of the course will lead to the award of M.Sc. Wildlife Science Degree by the Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat.
 

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