Wild Animal Health
What is the RVC/ZSL MSc in Wild Animal Health?
Over the past 30 years, interventions, for reasons of health, welfare and the conservation of free-living wild animals, have been undertaken with increasing frequency. Specialist veterinary expertise is required in order to diagnose and control diseases in wildlife.
Emerging infectious diseases are also recognised as a serious hazard, both for wild animal species and for the domestic animal and human populations that interact with them. In addition, a large number of wild animal species are kept in captivity – in zoos and in laboratories – which has led to an increased demand for specialist skills and knowledge.
The MSc in Wild Animal Health is a world-class specialist postgraduate veterinary science programme taught jointly by the RVC, University of London and the Zoological Society of London.
Aimed at qualified veterinarians, the Wild Animal Health masters will equip you with an in-depth knowledge of the management of wild animals and the epidemiology, treatment and control of wild animal disease.
The programme is completed over one year full-time study and consists of three levels:
- Postgraduate Certificate
- Postgraduate Diploma
All three levels start at the same time, towards the end of September each year, and can be broken down broadly into three terms. The Certificate is completed by mid-January, the Diploma by mid-May, and the MSc also includes a research project, which is undertaken during the summer months, finishing in mid-September.
We deliver the Wild Animal Health masters through two terms of lectures, seminars, tutorials and problem-based learning, with modular examinations. None of the levels are available as part-time or distance-learning courses.
To confirm the exact start date please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What will I learn?
During the programme you will acquire:
- A critical awareness of current problems in wildlife disease with implications for wildlife conservation and welfare.
- A new insight into veterinary interventions for the management of captive and free-living wild animal species.
- A systematic understanding of the biological principles underpinning wild animal conservation and management, and the epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment of wildlife disease.
- Basic competence in veterinary techniques and preventative medicine for wild animals.
- A conceptual and practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create knowledge in the field of wild animal health.
- A comprehensive understanding of scientific skills, including critical review of the scientific literature, and design and analysis of laboratory or field studies.
Upon completion of the MSc in Wild Animal Health, you will have gained the analytical skills, the understanding, the confidence and the language to influence thinking and policy making within a wide range of organisations, such as zoos, national parks, universities, conservation organisations and government departments worldwide.
Here are some other useful and interesting veterinary and wildlife-related web sites:
- Institute of Zoology
- Wildlife Disease Association
- The Wildlife Information Network
- Zoological Record - Internet resource guide
- Zoological Society of London
We invite applications from candidates with a degree from a recognised veterinary school and at least one year of postgraduate veterinary experience.
We are keen to see evidence of relevant work experience in a zoo, wildlife rehabilitation centre or wildlife hospital, or with free-living wild animals.
English language requirements
A good working knowledge of scientific English is essential in order to follow the course. All applicants must have an acceptable English Language qualification:
- IELTS (Academic) score of 7.0 or above with minimum 6.5 in each component
For those without IELTS, please see our English Language Requirements page for a full list of qualifications we will accept as alternatives.
What will I be able to do with my qualification?
The world-class specialist MSc in Wild Animal Health has produced over 190 graduates since its inception in 1994.
Our graduates have gone on to work with both captive and free-living wild animals as clinicians, pathologists, epidemiologists, academics and senior management in zoological collections, national parks, universities and government departments worldwide.
Others continue to work towards a PhD or DVetMed with either the ZSL or RVC, or at other leading research institutes.
For example, Tammy Shadbolt, one of our 2013 graduates, went on to do a PhD on Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease. Please read about her experiences below:
See the ZSL website for detailed career profiles of some recent graduates.
Key academic staff
Mike Waters (RVC)
Mike Waters is a lecturer in Exotic, Zoo and Wildlife Pathology and is the RVC-based course director for this MSc course. He graduated from Sydney University and holds an MSc in Wild Animal Health from the Royal Veterinary College.
Dr Tony Sainsbury (IoZ)
Tony Sainsbury is the course director based at the Institute of Zoology. He is a Senior Lecturer in Wild Animal Health. Tony’s interests lie in the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the surveillance of diseases in wild animal populations. He is a European Recognised Specialist in Zoological Medicine (Wildlife Population Health).
Professor Mark Fox (RVC)
Mark Fox qualified as a vet at the Royal Veterinary College in 1977 and, after a period in small animal practice, returned to study for a PhD in veterinary parasitology. He then went on to set up the MSc courses in Wild Animal Health (1994) and Wild Animal Biology (2003) with the Institute of Zoology (ZSL).
Professor Andrew Cunningham (IoZ)
Andrew Cunningham joined the Institute of Zoology in 1988 as Veterinary Pathologist for the ZSL. In 2001 he became head of Wildlife Epidemiology at the IoZ.
The tuition fees for students commencing the course in 2016/17 are as follows:
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Alumni Fee Discount
The Royal Veterinary College is offering a postgraduate tuition fee discount to Alumni who are self-financing their postgraduate study and meet the eligibility criteria.
Bursary for Postgraduate Taught Courses
RVC bursary for outstanding home/EU and international students undertaking a Masters in 2016/17.
Canadian Student Loans
The Royal Veterinary College is not involved in processing your application for a loan, however we can confirm your student status; please direct your queries to the Financialaidoffice@rvc.ac.uk
For an overview of the financial aid process for Canadian students, please visit the Campus Access website
Students should apply through their provincial student assistance office or website. When you apply for a loan, you are considered for funding by both the Provincial and Federal Government, meaning you only have to apply once for funding for the year. Federal loans are processed via the National Student Loans Service Centre and provincial loans through the provincial governments and student aid branches.
Other Sources of Financial Information for Postgraduate Taught Courses
for more information see
Postgraduate Loans for both taught and research Masters Programmes
Autumn Statement November 2015 brought exciting news for future postgraduates.The government has now reconfirmed its commitment to introduce postgraduate Masters Loans in 2016-17.
Professional and Career Development Loans
We are a Professional and Career Development Loans registered Learning Provider, registration number PCDL02902.
A Professional and Career Development Loan is a commercial bank loan that you can use to help pay for work-related learning.
Russell E. Train Fellowship Grant
The 2016 Russell E. Train Fellowship Application is now open. Deadline for submission: To be confirmed for 2016.
USA Student Loans
The RVC participates in the Direct Loan Program in which federal financial assistance is made available from the US Department of Education to US students studying at the RVC. The purpose of this page is to inform you about the process of applying for financial assistance.
The RVC College will originate Direct Stafford loans and Direct Graduate and Parent PLUS loans and full-time students from the USA who are attending at the RVC are normally eligible for funding. The RVC also participates in the VA Educational Benefits programme.