M.Sc. in Biology
Junior Research Fellows on grants funded by agencies such as DST or DBT may be permitted to register for an M.Sc. degree provided they feature on the waiting list of the Integrated PhD selection interview.
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M.Sc. in Wildlife Biology & Conservation
The conservation of India’s biological diversity depends critically on sound professional management of significant areas in the future. Despite substantial investments allotted to the conservation of India’s biodiversity by governmental and international agencies, effective conservation has been hindered by a lack of professionals who can design, implement and monitor conservation grounded in sound science. The goal of the Masters' Programme in Wildlife Biology & Conservation is to address this gap, by producing practicing wildlife biologists who can actively promote and advance science-based conservation of wildlife and natural landscapes.
Effective conservation is a multidimentional task and ultimately depends on trained, knowledgeable individuals. To craft efficient conservation scientists, the post-graduate education imparts technical skills, communication and problem-solving skills as well as exposure to relevant social, political and economic issues that impact wildlife conservation which lie at the heart of the conservation process.
Using an innovative modular course structure, taught almost entirely by guest faculty, the programme does away with the need to support a full-time faculty. At the same time, the course ensures that the best instructors from within India and abroad are invited to conduct modules, giving students an exposure to the latest available in their respective fields.
This course is a collaboration between the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS), with the degree being awarded by TIFR. Other institutions which make significant academic contributions to the course include Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Nature Conservation Foundation and National Institute of Advanced Studies .
The programme is funded largely by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). For more than a century, WCS has inspired care for nature, pioneered environmental education programs, and helped sustain biological diversity. WCS supports programs in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America to gather information on wildlife needs, train local conservation professionals, and work with in-country staff to protect and manage wildlife and wild areas for the future.
CWS, Bangalore, is a non-profit academic and research organization recognized by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India. It carries out the long term core research projects of WCS-India Program. It also runs a Ph.D. program in Conservation Science. CWS works in the development of rigorous methods to monitor wildlife populations and also conducts training for field biologists, Forest Department staff and NGO volunteers in monitoring wildlife populations.
Applying to the course
The course is offered once in two years and admission is advertised 7 to 8 months before the course commences. The next intake for the MSc wildlife programme would be in July 2012. Further information and how to apply for 2012-2014 batch has been advertised on http://www.ncbs.res.in/admissions2012.html. The last date for sending in applications is 16th October 2011. The selection of students is based on a national written test, a detailed application, and an interview of short-listed candidates. The written entrance test would be Sunday 11th December 2011. Reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of conservation, students from a wide range of academic backgrounds are eligible for admission. Indian nationals, who have completed their Bachelors degree in any subject or are in the final year of graduation with an aggregate of at least 50% marks (or equivalent) in core subjects, are eligible to apply. Candidates must be 35 years or younger on July 1st of the year of application.
The course is organized into three semesters of course work composed of various modules and a final semester of field research project and thesis preparation.
· The first semester gives an introduction to the evolution, diversity, distribution and biology of plant and animal life, with particular emphasis on India. It also develops basic skills in mathematics and statistics, within the framework of the practice of science.
· The second semester provides a foundation in population ecology, conservation biology, behavioral ecology, and landscape ecology. It also provides hands on training in the application of modern tools in conservation such as remote sensing, GIS, and conservation genetics.
· The third semester addresses the historical, social and economic framework within which conservation operates. It also develops communication and problem solving skills that are necessary to effectively practice conservation.
· During the final semester the students design and implement a field project, using the theoretical and practical skills that they learned.
The first three semesters contain a number of courses, each consisting of classroom as well as practical/ field components. Each month has about 20 working days, each day with three forenoon lecture hours. Each module consists of class room lectures, practicals, assignments, and guest lectures.
Classroom lectures: Each module will have 10 to 30 hours of class room lectures. One or a few books provide the basic framework for each module. However, instructors are free to use additional reference books and papers that cover these topics, or expand on them. Audio-visuals aids would also be used.
Practicals: Most modules have a number of practicals with three situations elaborated as follows:
· Class room practicals (e.g. statistics, GIS and remote sensing)
· Short visits to local institutions and field sites
· Extended field visits to wild/natural areas.
Assignments: Assignments would be tasks that the students should do on their own or in groups, as part of each module. Considerable time is allotted for these, especially in the afternoon hours. A number of assignments planned for each module help the students in understanding and applying relevant techniques (e.g. seminars and review papers, field assignments).
Guest lectures: Additional guest lectures of 1 to 5 hours (roughly 1 hour per 10 lecture hours) are arranged on specialized topics in the module subject that the students can benefit from. These would be in addition to the lecture hours allotted to the module now. Guest lectures need not coincide with the module.
Evaluation: Each paper during the first three semesters will be evaluated through continuous assessment (assignments, term papers, student presentations, quizzes, short projects, class participation; approximately 60%) and semester-end exams (approximately 40%), or both. It is mandatory that students maintain high academic standards in order to resume the fellowship and remain in the course.
Course teaching is carried out by researchers and practitioners in different fields of wildlife biology, conservation and allied disciplines.
The course is guided by an Advisory Board (for overall direction), a Steering Committee (for administrative decisions) and an Academic Committee (for curriculum and teaching).
Dr. K. Ullas Karanth, Director, Centre for Wildlife Studies
Dr. Ajith Kumar, Professor and Course Director, Wildlife Conservation Society
Dr. Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment
Dr. Anindya Sinha, National Institute of Advanced Studies
Dr. Mahesh Rangarajan, Delhi University
Dr. Mahesh Sankaran, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Dr. Uma Ramakrishanan, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Dr. Suhel Quader, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Dr. K. S. Krishnan, National Centre for Biological Sciences
Dr. Ravi Chellam, Wildlife Biologist and Conservation Scientist
Dr. Rajah Jayapal, Wildlife Conservation Society
And many other distinguished Wildlife-biologists and Conservationists as Guest Faculty.
Board of Advisors:
Dr. John Robinson, (Chairman), Senior Vice President & Director, WCS, USA
Dr. Joshua Ginsberg, Director, Vice President, Conservation Operations, WCS, USA
Dr. George Schaller, Vice President, Panthera, USA
Dr. K.VijayRaghavan, Director, National Centre for Biological Sciences, India
Mr. S.Shyam Sundar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Retd), India
Dr. Kamaljit S Bawa, University of Massachusetts, USA
Dr. Thomas Struhsaker, Duke University, USA
Dr. James D. Nichols, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, US Geological Survey, USA
Dr. Barry Noon, Department of Fish and Wildlife Biology, Colorado State University, USA
Dr. Asad R. Rahmani, Director, Bombay Natural History Society, India
Mr. Ravi Singh, Chief Executive Officer, WWF-India
Prof. J.S.Singh, Department of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, India
Dr. Eleanor Stirling, American Museum of Natural History, USA
Dr. K.Ullas Karanth, Senior Conservation Scientist-Wildlife Conservation Society & Director, Centre for Wildlife Studies.
For further details please visit msc.wcsindia.org
Researchers for Wildlife Conservation (RWC) - an alumni association of the M.Sc. program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation (WCS India program - CWS - NCBS)
For more information please contact us at
1st and 2nd MSc.Wildlife batches