What is an Ecologist?

An Ecologist is a biologist who studies the interaction between living things, including people, and their environment. 

There are many areas of ecology.  For example: animal behaviour, population biology, conservation biology and marine ecology.

What does an Ecologist do?

  • collects data and samples out in the related field
  • undertakes environmental studies
  • does laboratory studies and tests of animals and plants
  • reads and analyses research by other ecologists
  • collates information and statistics
  • predicts changes in the environment based on their data
  • keeps up to date with current studies and trends
  • speaks at conferences, seminars and other events
  • consults to local companies and/or governments
  • writes papers and reports

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in the environment?
  • a person who loves science?
  • inquisitive?
  • technical?
  • a person who loves research?
  • self-motivated?
  • analytical and logical?
  • methodical?
  • observant?
  • a great communicator – both written and spoken?

How do I become an Ecologist?

Many Ecologists begin their study career by completing a Bachelors of Science (BSc) degree first before specialising in a specific field of Ecology.  A BSc can be done at most universities in South Africa. 

Here is a list of some universities that specifically offer degrees in Ecology:


Offers a BSc in Biodiversity and Ecology or an extended programme for this degree.  This programme can lead to postgraduate studies in botany, zoology and/or genetics.  

Minimum requirements:
A selection mark (SM) of at least 65% and meet the requirements for Mathematics and Physical Sciences as laid down for the programme of your choice.


Offers a 4 year B.A. Human Ecology degree and a B.A. Human Ecology (Education/FET) degree. The University of the Western Cape is the only university in South Africa that offers this degree currently.

Minimum requirements:
A Matriculation Exemption Certificate with 40% on the Higher Grade or 50% on the Standard Grade in one of the following subjects: Biology, Physical Science, Mathematics or Physiology.


  • CLICK HERE to find a training institution near you.


OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Park Ranger or Zoo Keeper

Is becoming an Ecologist the right career choice for me?


3 March 2015 – Posted on Facebook